(October 31, 2022 / Jewish Journal) Very little media attention has been given to the fact that President Joe Biden has brought the U.S. back into the U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC), arguably the most anti-Semitic institution on the planet. Its latest outrage is a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) that is so blatantly racist it can best be described as something akin to the Spanish Inquisition.
For most of the U.N.’s existence, one could be excused for forgetting that it emerged in 1945 out of the ashes of the Holocaust. Indeed, over the decades, collusion between the Soviet Union and various Arab states systematically and sadistically targeted the world’s only Jewish state, from the “Zionism is racism” resolution to a wildly disproportionate number of condemnations.
But now we’ve reached a new low.
Last Thursday, the CoI announced that it will investigate the allegation that Israel is an “apartheid state.” The open-ended investigation was set up by the HRC following last year’s 11-day battle between Israel and Gaza terrorists. To no one’s surprise, the CoI has focused nearly exclusively on Israel. Its announcement follows the release of its second report, which called on the U.N. Security Council to end Israel’s “permanent occupation” and urged member states to prosecute Israeli officials.
Navi Pillay, who chairs the CoI, called apartheid “a manifestation of the occupation.”
“We’re focusing on the root cause, which is the occupation, and part of it lies in apartheid,” she said. “That’s the beauty of this open-ended mandate, it gives us the scope.”
Beauty is not a word that typically comes to mind when thinking about the U.N. Nor is truth or justice.
Let’s start with the so-called Human Rights Council, whose members include China, Libya, Somalia and Sudan. Where, one wonders, are Iran and North Korea?
And then we have the three members of the CoI. The commissioners “were chosen precisely because they abhor the Jewish state,” said Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Gilad Erdan at a press conference held by the group StandWithUs last week.
“Each of them had declared Israel guilty of the very crimes they were charged with investigating—before they began,” said Anne Bayefsky, director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust.
The watchdog group UN Watch has documented multiple instances of Pillay accusing Israel of apartheid, some as recent as 2020. She’s also used the phrase “the extremist Israel lobby” and supports the BDS movement.
In July, CoI member Miloon Kothari made comments about the supposed undue influence of a so-called “Jewish lobby” on the media. He has also questioned why Israel is a member of the U.N. in the first place.
In June, member Chris Sidoti of Australia dismissed all Jewish victims with the retort: “Accusations of anti-Semitism are thrown around like rice at a wedding.”
Then there’s the “investigation” itself. The CoI called for submissions on “systematic discrimination and repression” and “underlying root causes,” but then sent “the submissions that challenged the prearranged endgame directly to the trash,” said Bayefksy.
In an “unprecedented response in the history of the U.N. human rights system,” Bayefsky said, the Touro Institute and a group of eminent research centers submitted more than five million unique submissions of dissent.
“And yet Pillay openly told the press in June she hadn’t seen them and dismissively labeled them as ‘all pro-Israel.’ In today’s report, there are dozens of references to non-UN organizations—every one of them trash-talks Israel. Not one participating so-called ‘pro-Israel’ NGO sees the light of day,” she noted.
The CoI’s 28-page report is “sprinkled with a series of highlighted quotations from Palestinians in Hebron,” writes Bayefsky. “One contains a blood libel about Jews arriving in Palestinian homes in the middle of the night and threatening to burn the human beings inside. Another claims that Jews are child molesters intent on feeling the breasts of Palestinian girls.”
As Carly Gammill, director of the SWU Center for Combating Antisemitism, put it: “Israel is even somehow responsible for the violence that Palestinian men choose to perpetrate against Palestinian women. Do Navi Pillay and her fellow commissioners also blame the honor killings and second-class citizenship of Palestinian women on Israelis? And why stop there? By the Commission’s logic, it would also need to blame Israel for these same tragic conditions in other Middle East countries, like Saudi Arabia and Iran.”
The CoI has called for Israel to immediately withdraw from the West Bank, while making no demands of the Palestinians. Indeed, notably absent from the report is any mention of Hamas, rockets or terrorism.
“The inquisitors advocate that Israelis be hunted down, prosecuted and jailed for crimes against humanity,” writes Bayefsky. “They couldn’t name a single Palestinian crime worth prosecuting.”
“The shameless prejudice exhibited in the report is shocking,” she adds, “even by U.N. standards. The Summary brazenly announces that it is only about ‘the human rights implications for Palestinians.’”
Apparently, the HRC believes that Jews aren’t worthy of human rights.
Former President Donald Trump withdrew from the HRC in 2018, largely due to its systemic discrimination against Israel. Biden rejoined last year and continues to provide significant funding for the U.N. and the HRC. In June, Senators Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) introduced the Commission of Inquiry Elimination Act to withhold the HRC’s U.S. funding because of the council’s “blatant bias against Israel.” Funding would be withheld until the Secretary of State certifies that the HRC has abolished its CoI.
Biden’s words of support for Israel are appreciated, but they are not enough. It’s time for the president to support a bipartisan initiative that ensures there will be consequences for the HRC’s and the CoI’s anti-Semitism. Anyone who believes in justice must urge him to do so.
“Today, it’s no longer politically correct to blame Jews for all the world’s problems, so anti-Semites adapt,” said Ambassador Erdan. “Rather than burning Jews at the stake, anti-Semites burn the Jewish state at the stake. This is exactly what [the U.N.] constantly does.”
Mr. President, it’s time for you to act and show the world that this inquisition will not stand.
Karen Lehrman Bloch is editor in chief of White Rose Magazine.
This article was originally published by Jewish Journal.
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