As we look about the Middle East in horror at the barbarity committed by Islamists of all stripes, we can but gape in astonishment at the focus of the UN on Israel’s alleged war crimes – which, even if they were committed (which is a highly tendentious claim) bear no resemblance to the bestiality carried out by the likes of ISIS.
In fact with its microscopic and obsessive focus on Israel, the UN has become a prime source of the huge wave of antisemitism currently sweeping the world in the wake of Operation Protective Edge. Ironically but in typically shameful fashion, the UN housed a conference on anti-Semitism last week without agreeing to actually sponsor it.
… it wasn’t the UN that decided to address the threat global anti-Semitism posed to international peace and security. Rather, it was the UN Permanent Mission of Palau and the Aja Eze Foundation that sponsored the lunchtime conference.
“But why couldn’t the UN, founded on the ashes of the Jewish people, and presently witnessing a widespread resurgence in anti-Semitism, sponsor a conference on combating global anti-Semitism?” said Anne Bayefsky, director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust. “The answer is clear: Because the United Nations itself is the leading global purveyor of anti-Semitism.”
Bayefsky was one of eight panelists who urged the international community to recognize that as anti-Semitism rises, global security falls. They said failure to act against such bigotry enables ISIS and other fundamental Islamic groups.…
“Where is the outrage? Where are the universal condemnations?” said Ambassador Ron Prosor, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations, Prosor said. “The silence is very similar to the silence of the 1930s and we all have a responsibility to stand up and fight.
“Will you stand with those who fire rockets, kidnap girls out of classrooms, and cut off the heads of journalists? Or will you stand up for freedom?” said Prosor.
“Every nation has a right to protect themselves, yet most condemn Israel’s right to protect itself. Many condemn genocide yet do not do anything against those who seek to annihilate Israel,” said Dr. Caleb Otto, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Palau to the United Nations.
However, the UN disproportionally singles Israel out among its 193 members, Bayefsky said.
For example, 35% of all resolutions and decisions adopted by the UN Human Rights Council that criticize nations on human rights records condemn only Israel. Of all the 2013 General Assembly resolutions criticizing specific countries for human rights abuses, 70% were about Israel. And 50% of the emergency special sessions of the General Assembly over six decades were convened to denounce Israel; no emergency special session has been called on any other state in over thirty years, Bayefsky said.
This kind of institutionalized anti-Semitism not only threatens Israel, it threatens regional stability, said Mark Langfan, Arutz Sheva UN Correspondent/Security Analyst.
Wearing a Star of David, Brigitte Gabriel, founder, CEO and president of ACT! For America, decried those who questioned Israel’s right to defend itself during Operation Protective Edge. She said she found that appalling given that Hamas’ charter calls for Israel’s destruction.
Pastor Mario Bramnick, Chief Liaison for Israel and the National Hispanic Christian Leadership, said visitors to the UN “will see Israel falsely portrayed as a murderer, an illegitimate occupier and a baby killer.” They see a nation charged with apartheid and genocide.
Regardless of faith, race or creed, people must not be silent in the face of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel vitriol, Bramnick said to a standing ovation.
Watch this clip of the human rights expert Anne Bayefsky at the UN conference where she calls out the UN for being the source of the legal pogrom against Israel:
In a devastating critique, filled with facts, statistics and fury, Bayefsky called out the UN itself for not just ignoring the rise of anti-Semitism and the threat it poses to global peace and security, but for legitimizing and promoting it.
According to Bayefsky, the answer to the question why the UN was not sponsoring and participating in the conference addressing Anti-Semitism was: “the United Nations itself is the leading purveyor of Anti-Semitism.”
Not only did she give the back of her hand to the well-publicized “photo ops” of the UN Secretary General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights at the gates of Auschwitz, Bayefsky fairly spat out that such hollow gestures are “not an alibi” for “inciting murderous intolerance towards the remnants of the Jewish people in the here and now.”
And the latest appointment by the United Nations of a commission to review whether human rights violations were committed by Israel during Operation Protective Edge, is a “legal pogrom” against the Jewish state.
“Hired guns, posing as independent arbiters, like William Schabes, are appointed to discover what they’ve already decided – Guilty!” And Bayefsky wields the heavily-freighted term with precision, “Sermons about Never Again? Then never forget that perversion of the legal system is how genocide begins.”
Since the UN’s favourite weapon of choice against Israel is international law, the Tower has produced a timely article on Everything you need to know about international law. The article is very long but if you really want to understand the issues, this is a must read.
The article addresses the by now well-known bias of William Schabas who has been appointed to chair the investigative committee of Israel’s “war crimes” – in other words, in Alice in Wonderland fashion, the verdict has been decided before any evidence has been entered:
… past experience virtually negates the likelihood of widespread violation of international humanitarian law by Israel’s soldiers. So why is it that the UN commission investigating Protective Edge is only looking into Israel’s actions, and not also those of Hamas, which violates international law by using human shields, staging attacks from within civilian areas, and indiscriminately attacking Israeli civilians? The commission itself may have already given the answer.
William Schabas—appointed to the UN commission investigating Israel’s actions in Protective Edge—has said it is his “profound belief that international law can be used to demonstrate and underscore the violations committed by the State of Israel,” further adding that he would like to talk about “crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression, all of which I think can be shown to have been perpetrated at various times during the history of the state of Israel,” concluding that “with a bit of luck and by twisting things and maneuvering we can get [Israelis] before the courts.” More recently, Schabas admitted to the existence of legal double standards against Israel, explaining,
The fact that there haven’t been inquiries into some atrocities, into some areas of violent conflict in the world, is explained by the political balances and the relative strength of the powers. That’s a very unfortunate situation, but that’s a fact of life. And different crises and different countries fare differently, depending on where they are…we unfortunately live with that as a reality in the world situation.
The behavior of many other jurists demonstrates that they hold these same troubling and, frankly, dangerous views, though they may not be so bold as to openly admit to it. But justice doesn’t need “twisting” and “maneuvering.” A jurist’s personal biases should play no part in a legal determination. The very idea of double standards in law is repugnant, oxymoronic and self-defeating. Law must be objective and blind. It cannot serve political ends, no matter how noble, and definitely not political power interests. In determining guilt and innocence, it cannot allow for the subjectivity exhibited by Schabas. Otherwise, countries that abide by international humanitarian law will be increasingly limited from defending their civilians against unscrupulous actors that ignore and exploit the laws of war. These actors will, in turn, be encouraged to commit further atrocities shielded in the knowledge that “power interests” will protect them from accountability. Legal military actions will be labeled “war crimes” because “political balances” demand it. Real genocides and crimes against humanity—like the extermination of the Yazidis and other minorities currently underway in Iraq—will go unanswered if “power interests” wish to give the perpetrators immunity. Nations otherwise inclined to intervene will refrain out of fear that their leaders, military commanders, and soldiers might be arbitrarily subjected to prosecution if “power interests” dictate it. This leads to an environment where criminals are free to act with impunity, but those who would uphold the peaceful international order have their hands tied behind their back and can only sit and watch in horror as massacres unfold around the world.
The law must not be used against Israel as a political weapon simply because Schabas absurdly wants to drag Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before the International Criminal Court. No state should be held to a higher legal standard than others, even if the motivations are noble political ends, or highly positive views of that state. The very notion is absurd. Law must be objective and blind to the identity of the parties, judging individuals and states by their actions, not vice versa. Otherwise, the result is not justice, and law becomes a popularity contest.
Read the whole thing.
Schabas’s extreme anti-Israel bias was brought to the fore by his utterly absurd statement that Israel would even object to Spiderman if he headed the probe:
Schabas’ appointment to head the panel has been assailed by Israeli government officials due to the Canadian law expert’s past statements regarding Israel’s alleged complicity in war crimes against the Palestinians.
In his interview with Asharq al-Awsat, Schabas vowed that he would “put my opinions aside” and proceed with the investigation in an impartial manner.
“This is an investigation that is necessary,” Schabas said. “I will not resign. I do not hate Israel. I will put my prior positions aside.”
“Even if Spiderman was heading the probe, they would’ve attacked him,” he said. “Our people will be on the ground very soon.”
Schabas should not hold his breath. The Palestinians themselves are having second thoughts about taking Israel to the ICC because the whole thing might backfire in their faces:
Soon after the beginning of the military campaign, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, which controls Gaza, announced they would pursue ICC action against Israel.
Israel also announced Thursday it would launch several independent inquiries into incidents that took place during the fighting in Gaza, including the shelling of a United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) school.
International law expert Rodney Dixon was quoted in an ICC report as saying that Israel’s announcement may delay the ICC probe, as The Hague’s “prosecutor’s attention is shifted from possibly launching an investigation to whether an investigation by Israel is genuine, and covers the same persons and conduct of any potential ICC investigation.”
According to the report, senior ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has yet to receive “a positive confirmation” from PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki regarding the Palestinians’ request to launch an official investigation against Israel.
International law experts said that pursuing ICC action may backfire on the Palestinians, as Israel could, as a countermeasure, demand that a war crimes probe be launched against Hamas, both over its use of civilians as human shields during Operation Protective Edge, and over its indiscriminate rocket fire at Israeli cities since 2000.
However, I hold out no hopes whatsoever that Israel would get a fair hearing at the ICC either. An international institution which can cast doubt on the renowned independence and fairness of Israel’s judiciary when it says it’s waiting to see “whether an investigation by Israel is genuine” gives us no reason to believe that it would be any more balanced towards Israel than the UN.
And meanwhile, ISIS is beheading away, while the UN concentrates on Israel…