The United Nations has declared an existential war on the state of Israel. Last year, the U.N. Human Rights Council contrived a unique “Commission of Inquiry” after Israel responded to another round of Hamas rocket attacks. The Inquiry has just issued its first report. Now emanating from the U.N.’s top human-rights body is a brazen attempt to resurrect the old 1975 lie that a Jewish state is a racist state. The report’s allegation that discrimination by Jews against non-Jews lies at the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict is actually at the core of modern anti-Semitism.
The “Commission of Inquiry” is chaired by Navi Pillay, former U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights. Zealously anti-Israel during her tenure, Pillay publicly slandered Israel with the apartheid label long before the so-called “inquiry” even began.
There are other telltale signs that the fix was in. Early on, the “inquiry” issued a call for submissions and the identification of victims. For the first time in U.N. history, such a call was answered by the delivery of more than 5 million unique submissions and individual names of Jewish victims of Arab incitement to Jew-hatred and violence. They emanated from a network of non-governmental organizations (which I facilitated), and their transmission was carefully logged. But the report says “the Commission has received several thousand written submissions” and featured a tiny subset of select Israel-bashing “stakeholders.”
Pillay’s report claims (1) the root cause of conflict is the “perpetual occupation”—that is, it’s Israel’s fault; (2) discrimination by Jews—as she defines Jewish self-determination from the start—drives the violence; and (3) the solution lies in prosecuting the criminals and eliciting third-party responses (economic boycotts) from states and private actors.
The misinformation operation is outrageous: The report finds no Palestinian terrorist, no Palestinian terrorist organizations and no Palestinian terrorism. The U.N. inquisitors merely speculated that the actions of Gaza’s “de facto authorities” and anonymous “Palestinian-armed groups” could “spread terror among the civilian population in Israel.” As for “Hamas,” they’re only named definitively as engaging in the “exercise of government-like functions.”
The submissions that the “inquiry” ignored, however, testify to a different story.
We itemized the Jew-hatred advocated and spread by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Amin al-Husseini. A Nazi collaborator and propagandist, he was also venerated as “Palestine’s national leader,” “our hero” and “the voice of the Palestinian people,” and remains a role model to the Palestinian terrorists and political leaders of today.
A real root cause? Under al-Husseini’s leadership, the strategy of equating the Jewish presence in the land of Israel with an existential threat to the Muslim faith became an Arab template for attempting to achieve the ethnic cleansing of Jews from the Middle East throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.
Our submissions also documented the unrelenting violent attacks on Jews from before Israel’s independence in May 1948 until today. The goal: eliminating Jews from the river to the sea. Genocide—the ultimate violation of human rights.
The “inquiry” touted that it would “adopt a victim-centered approach in all of its work.” So we submitted the identities of 4,220 Israeli and other civilians remorselessly struck down in the various campaigns to eradicate the modern Jewish state. And we submitted the identities of 24,093 Israeli military and security forces who made the supreme sacrifice to protect their country from even greater harm, along with the more than 100,000 wounded.
The U.N. “inquiry” claimed it was looking for “systematic discrimination.” So we submitted the details of 598,000 Jewish refugees and victims of Arab persecution in Middle Eastern and North African nations over the past 75 years—a partial list of the more than 800,000 who constitute, together with their descendants, the majority of Israel’s current Jewish population.
But the U.N. report styles the return of Jewish refugees from the land of Israel—the longest-standing refugees in human history—as an infringement of Palestinian rights, instead of the reality of an arrival 2,000 years overdue.
The inquisitors claimed they were seeking “overall patterns, policies, historical legacies and structural inequalities that affect the enjoyment of human rights.” So we gave them another 46,862 submissions containing weekly situation reports, video and photographic evidence, legal documents and analysis.
They had rock-solid evidence that: the Palestinian Penal Code forbids Palestinians from selling land to Jews on pain of “life imprisonment with hard labor;” Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas refers to Jews as “filth” to be shunned; the Hamas Covenant openly commits those running Gaza to genocide; the P.A. pays bounties for the killing of Jews; the P.A. and Hamas maintain a system of anti-Semitic indoctrination in schools, training camps, official media and public affairs of all kinds; P.A. leaders publicly avow Jews will not be permitted to live in a Palestinian state.
But the report repeatedly claims Jews discriminate against non-Jews and could not muster a single example of the reverse. Nor does the report admit that Arabs have more rights and freedoms in the Jewish state than in any Arab state.
Throughout the report, the standard of “proof” is United Nations say-so, regurgitations of the same U.N. system of entrenched anti-Israel prejudice and unfairness. In fact, Pillay relies heavily on prior U.N. hatchet jobs that she herself had a key role in advancing as High Commissioner.
Although this charade is obviously tainted and flawed, indifference to it would be a grave mistake. The “inquiry” has no end date and is being financed in perpetuity. Now on the U.N. schedule are two reports every year, a perpetual drumbeat of modern anti-Semitism—the delegitimization of the Jewish state.
Report No. 1 is all the evidence that decent people and democratic states need to tear down this wall of hate and intolerance.
Anne Bayefsky is the director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust, and president of Human Rights Voices.