UN Appoints Israel-Bashing Prof to Head Commission

In Israel you don’t just get thousands of rockets fired at you by a terrorist organization whose charter says, “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it.” If you defend yourself, you get investigated for war crimes by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council, an antisemitic body 40 percent of whose resolutions condemn Israel.

It happened after Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in the winter of 2008-2009, when the UNHRC appointed Richard Goldstone—a South African hanging judge who sentenced dozens of blacks to death during Apartheid—to head a commission that produced the infamous Goldstone Report. This piece of Hamas propaganda, which Alan Dershowitz called “a shoddy piece of work, unworthy of serious consideration,” was so skewed against Israel that in 2011 Goldstone himself retracted its libel that Israel had targeted civilians during Cast Lead.

The UNHRC is, of course, undeterred by the Goldstone debacle. With 3,500 rockets fired at Israel by Hamas and Islamic Jihad since July, this week the council appointed William Schabas, a Canadian professor of international law, to head a commission that will not, of course, be investigating the terror groups for any possible misdeeds, only Israel.

Back when Goldstone was appointed, it was said that his being Jewish was meant as a fig leaf for the council’s hostile intentions toward Israel. This time the council is not even bothering with that sort of pretense. The problem, of course, is not that Schabas is not Jewish. It’s that appointing him to “investigate” Israel is like appointing the fox to “impartially investigate” the hens.

Schabas’s impartiality toward Israel can be gauged from some of the facts about him listed here by UN Watch. Among others:

  • In 2012 he said he would like to see Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu “within the dock of the International Criminal Court.”
  • In 2010 he said the same about Israel’s then-peacenik president Shimon Peres, asking, “Why are we going after the president of Sudan for Darfur and not the president of Israel for Gaza?”
  • In 2009 he urged the world to “ignore” notorious antisemitic statements by then-Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, saying that 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….”

Got it, Professor Schabas. Sudan’s Bashir and Iran’s Ahmadinejad—off the hook; you know who the real criminals are.

Interviewed on Tuesday evening by Danny Kushmaro of Israel’s Channel 2 news, Schabas was asked if he considers Hamas a terrorist organization. He replied: “It would be inappropriate for me to answer a question like that…”

Asked why thousands of civilian casualties in places like Iraq, Chechnya, and Libya have never prompted a UN investigation while Israel is now in the UN dock for the second time in six years, Schabas gave this morally uplifting reply:

You know, there are lots of double standards in the United Nations and lots of double standards at the international level…and the fact that there haven’t been investigations into some atrocities and into some areas of violent conflict in the world is explained by the political balances and the relative strengths of the powers, and that is a very unfortunate situation but it’s a fact of life….

Yes, it’s a fact of life especially when a body like the UNHRC can always find a morally corrupt, grossly biased professor somewhere to collaborate with its assault on Israel.

Schabas is a collaborator with evil in an even worse sense. When the UNHRC voted on July 23 to establish the commission that he’ll be heading, only one country—the U.S.—voted against; all European countries on the council, and others (total of 17), abstained; while the “in favors” (total of 29) included such human rights beacons as Algeria, China, Cuba, Pakistan, Russia, and Saudi Arabia.

Schabas, of course, has no qualms about that mandate. What’s a professor of international law to do in the face of “political balances” and “relative strengths of powers”?

It should also be noted that, while the United States’ lone “nay” vote on July 23 was of course the right one, it was the Obama administration that in 2009 decided to join the UNHRC after the Bush administration had shunned it. At the time Susan Rice claimed that by “working from within, we can make the council a more effective forum to promote and protect human rights.”

The problem is that five years later, the council remains what it was then: an effective forum for mobilizing hatred and defamation of Israel, substantially legitimized by the U.S. presence.