By David Gerstman
The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has decided that Israel's self-defense needs to be investigated. (Note in the UN"s announcement the words "Hamas" and "rockets" are nowhere to be found.) After Operation Cast Lead the UNHRC picked a panel of four individuals, all of whom had prejudged Israel's guilt. The leader of that investigation, Judge Richard Goldstone of South Africa later recanted his group's conclusions, but the damage was done.
The UNHRC has decided that having a committee that is biased against Israel is necessary and selected an Irish professor of human rights law named William Schabas to head the new committee. Schabas has been involved in the travesty called the Russell Tribunal on Palestine along with crackpots such as Cynthia McKinney. At a hearing this "tribunal" in 2012, Schabas said "[m]y favorite would be Netanyahu within the dock of the International Criminal Court."
UN Watch has compiled a list of statements and from Schabas showing his bias against Israel, including:
- A few years earlier, Schabas called for “going after” Israeli president Shimon Peres in the ICC, saying, “Why are we going after the president of Sudan for Darfur and not the president of Israel for Gaza?”
- In a 2009 blog post about the UN’s infamous Durban II conference on racism, Schabas urged the world not only to “ignore” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s statements, but to stop “exaggerating” them. According to Schabas, those who “deserve the blame” are “Israel and its friends, who have manipulated the truth about the nature of the work of the United Nations by gross exaggeration of the role and intervention of certain fanatics.” Schabas described Ahmadinejad as nothing more than a “provocative politician,” and not a torturer of dissidents, inciter of genocidal anti-Semitism, and arch-sponsor of terrorism.
- In 2011, Schabas went to Iran to co-sponsor conferences with the Tehran-based “Center for Human Rights and Cultural Diversity,” despite its intimate ties with the fundamentalist regime, and avowed propaganda agenda. The center’s director, Kamran Hashemi, a former political officer with Iran’s foreign ministry, wrote his Ph.D under Schabas at the Irish Center for Human Rights.
After citing Schabas' record, Hillel Neuer, the executive director of UN Watch, wrote "“Under international law, William Schabas is obliged to recuse himself because his repeated calls to indict Israeli leaders obviously gives rise to actual bias or the appearance thereof.”
After Goldstone retracted the report that bears his name, Schabas mocked Goldstone for being “certainly more indulgent towards Israel.”
None of this surprising as the UNHRC as Israel is the subject of a permanent agenda item of the council.
George Clooney's fiance, Amal Alamuddin was also selected to serve on the panel but declined.
"I am horrified by the situation in the occupied Gaza Strip, particularly the civilian casualties," Alamuddin said in a statement, "and strongly believe that there should be an independent investigation and accountability for crimes that have been committed." ...
Clooney's wife-to-be wished the other panelists "courage and strength," as they go forward with the inquiry into Israel's actions during the month-long Operation Protective Edge.
Alamuddin didn't decline on account of principles. She even falsely called Gaza "occupied," when Israel withdrew from the territory in 2005.
Early reporting on Schabas had him acknowledging that Israel's actions during Cast Lead "were not on the same scale as more serious violations elsewhere in the world." But the reasonableness of such a claim has been outweighed by Schabas' overall record. Last year Schabas argued that Syria's use of chemical weapons was not technically a war crime and instead used the killing of over 1000 civilians to argue that it was the United States that wants to "monopolise" its possession of weapons of mass destruction.
Crossposted at Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion