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The UN’s top Israel-hater

Special Rapporteur Francesca Albanese supports Palestinian terrorism and the elimination of Israel.

Press briefing by Francesca Albanese, special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian Territories at the United Nations in New York City, Oct. 27, 2022. Credit: Lev Radin/Shutterstock.
Press briefing by Francesca Albanese, special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian Territories at the United Nations in New York City, Oct. 27, 2022. Credit: Lev Radin/Shutterstock.
Fiamma Nirenstein

It is sad that Ca’ Foscari University of Venice chose Holocaust Remembrance Day to celebrate—complete with coquettish photos and media rejoicing—an event featuring Francesca Albanese, the U.N.’s Special Rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territories. For me, it is also a pity that this notoriously anti-Israel official happens to be Italian.

The ideology that led to the extermination of European Jewry clearly resonated at Ca’ Foscari, given that the delegitimization and criminalization of Jewish existence today is generally disguised as the “damnatio” of the State of Israel.

This new guise of the old hatred portrays Israel as a colonialist, apartheid state unworthy of life, and Albanese is unquestionably one of the haters. She harbors no misgivings on this score, which shames not only the U.N. but also her home country.

Some have pushed back. Italian Senator Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata has called for Albanese’s removal. So has the International Legal forum, a global network of more than 4,000 lawyers and activists who are committed to combatting antisemitism, advancing human rights and promoting peace in the Middle East. Across the pond, a bipartisan group of U.S. congresspeople has urged her replacement. The address for these demands is Volker Turk, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, who has thus far done nothing.

This isn’t surprising. The U.N.’s automatic antisemitic majority makes it a hotbed for Israel-hatred and funds for the Palestinians, who use the money to promote terrorism and hate speech. But Albanese takes this hate to another level. She stated unequivocally that Israel has no right to self-defense even as Palestinian terrorists killed Italian lawyer Alessandro Parini and young sisters Rina and Maya Dee, along with their mother Lucy, as well as numerous other innocents over the past several months.

Albanese has a long and ugly history of such behavior. She was involved in various BDS initiatives and called terror suspects “human rights defenders.” She has compared the Palestinians’ “Nakba” to the Holocaust—a stunningly inaccurate and offensive comparison. She equated Hamas in Gaza with the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto and wrote that Europe and the U.S. have been subjugated “by the sense of guilt about the Holocaust and by the Jewish Lobby.”

Worse still, Albanese has defended the launching of missiles from Gaza at Israeli civilians and participated in conferences with Hamas, along with praising Palestinian terrorists like Leila Khaled. Regarding the libel that Israel is an “apartheid” state, she has said that the word isn’t strong enough.

This kind of debased rhetoric makes it clear that Albanese does not accept the ancient Jewish connection to the Land of Israel. She wants the disappearance of Israel and nothing less. Indeed, she goes so far as to claim that Israel was created “in Palestine,” and it is telling that this name was invented by the Romans after they had ethnically cleansed ancient Judea. So, it seems, she wishes to do again.

All of this has terrible consequences, because Albanese’s rhetoric promotes genocidal hopes, closes the door to coexistence and ignores the autocracy and corruption with which Palestinians must live under the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.

Especially after the Abraham Accords, it is time for the U.N. to abandon its anti-Jewish stance—the last remnant, in many ways, of the discourse of the Cold War. It not only damages the Palestinians themselves, but supports the vile ambitions of Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah and the rest. As for Albanese, this appears to be precisely what she wants.

Fiamma Nirenstein was a member of the Italian Parliament (2008-13), where she served as vice president of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the Chamber of Deputies. She served in the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, and established and chaired the Committee for the Inquiry into Anti-Semitism. A founding member of the international Friends of Israel Initiative, she has written 13 books, including Israel Is Us (2009). Currently, she is a fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and is the author of Jewish Lives Matter.

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