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Biden admininstration pulls pick for rights post who called Israel ‘apartheid state’

James Cavallaro also said House Minority leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) was “Bought. Purchased. Controlled” by pro-Israel groups.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Commissioner James Cavallaro, March 2014. Credit: Daniel Cima via Wikimedia Commons.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Commissioner James Cavallaro, March 2014. Credit: Daniel Cima via Wikimedia Commons.

Just days after announcing his candidacy, the Biden administration on Tuesday withdrew support for James Cavallaro as an independent member of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights over his anti-Israel statements, according to the Associated Press.

In its Friday announcement of his candidacy for a post with the watchdog group, the White House described Cavallaro as a “leading scholar and practitioner of international law.” Cavallaro has previously served as both vice chairman and president of the IACHR. He is a professor of Law at Stanford Law School, and before that, a clinical professor of law at Harvard Law School. He also served as director of the Brazil offices of Human Rights Watch.

On Tuesday, the U.S. State Department said his candidacy was nixed in the wake of an article by the Algemeiner, which revealed Cavallaro’s history of anti-Israel posts on social media.

In a December tweet, Cavallaro accused House Minority leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) of being “Bought. Purchased. Controlled” alongside a link to an article about his donations from the pro-Israel AIPAC lobbying group. He has also referred to Israel as an “apartheid state.”

State Department spokesman Ned Price said that the Biden administration had been unaware of Cavallaro’s past comments on Israel.

“They are not a reflection of what we believe, and they are inappropriate, to say the least,” said Price.

Last month, Sarah Margon withdrew her nomination for assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor following Republican pushback against her anti-Israel record at Human Rights Watch (HRW) and George Soros’ Open Society Foundations.

Among her anti-Israel activities, Margon used her position as head of the HRW in Washington, D.C., to promote the anti-Israel BDS movement by pressuring Airbnb to remove its listings in Judea and Samaria. When Peter Beinart put out his infamous “I No Longer Believe in a Jewish State” op-ed in The New York Times, Margon highlighted an excerpt calling for the destruction of Israel.

Margon was nominated by U.S. President Joe Biden in April of 2021 with the support of all committee Democrats, but her appointment was held up in the Foreign Relations Committee by Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho).

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