The United Nations has created a Star Chamber targeting the State of Israel. The inquisition was devised by the U.N. Human Rights Council last May and funded by the U.N. General Assembly at the end of December. The three members appointed to the new “Commission of Inquiry” make a mockery of the most elementary preconditions of fairness and legitimacy.
The identities of the inquisitors are Navi Pillay of South Africa, Miloon Kothari of India and Chris Sidoti of Australia. Pillay was named chair, hence the fitting epithet of the U.N. offensive: “Pillay’s Pogrom.” The three were appointed in July by then-council president Nazhat Shameem, a Muslim lawyer from Fiji. With funding now assured, the “Inquiry” is underway.
The “Inquiry’s” founding resolution was crafted at the behest of Islamic states and what the United Nations calls the “State of Palestine.” It spells out a number of fantastically broad tasks connected by one overarching goal: to turn the Jewish state into a global pariah.
Internationally recognized credentials for any such inquiry demand “independence,” “impartiality” and “objectivity.” Even the United Nations calls these prerequisites “of paramount importance.” Hence, a close look at the records of the “Inquiry” members, as compared to the “Inquiry’s” assigned tasks, is compulsory.
The first task assigned was to investigate “all underlying root causes of recurrent tensions, instability and protraction of conflict, including systematic discrimination and repression based on national, ethnic, racial or religious identity.”
Pillay, who was U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2008 to 2014, has an answer to task No. 1—already. The flagship enterprise of Pillay’s tenure was resurrecting the U.N.’s anti-Semitic hate-fest held in Durban in 2001 and reaffirming the slander of the racist Jewish state. Since then, she’s been preaching, “help end decades of Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people … recognized as apartheid.”
As for the task of identifying root causes, Pillay’s got that covered. In her own words: “The occupation continued to be the main cause of widespread violations of Palestinians’ civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.” “At the heart of so many of the problems plaguing the Israel-Palestine situation,” she once contrived, was “that the Israeli Government treats international law with perpetual disdain”—not the perpetual disdain of law and life by Palestinian rejectionists, racists, terrorists and enablers.
Fellow “Inquiry” member Kothari has also finished “Inquiry” task No. 1—prior to the inquiry. A former U.N. “expert” himself, he’s already reported on “the practice of ethnic cleansing and expulsion of land-based people and communities, as has historically been the case in Palestine.” And the root cause: the affront of Jews living in the Jewish homeland. Or in his words, “Israel’s long record of … implantation of settlers prior to and since its establishment as a State.”
“Inquiry” member Sidoti brings a whole new meaning to “independence.” Sidoti is “a close friend and ally” of the Palestinian Human Rights Commission created by a “Presidential Decree” of Yasser Arafat, and still delivering advice to the Palestinian Authority on Palestinian laws and policies.
Sidoti also “provides strategic guidance and advice” to the “Australian Centre for International Justice (ACIJ)” and his NGO has an answer lined up to task No. 1: “Israel is also subjugating … Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line … under an institutionalized regime of racial domination and oppression, which amount to the crime against humanity of apartheid.”
The second task of these inquisitors is to “investigate … all alleged violations of international humanitarian law and all alleged violations and abuses of international human-rights law,” without a firm start or end date.
Done and done. Pillay spent six years as High Commissioner reporting on what she called Israeli violations and abuses. On her way into office in 2008, she said: “1.5 million Palestinian men, women and children have been forcibly deprived of their most basic human rights … in direct contravention of international human rights and humanitarian law.” On her way out of office in 2014, she fulminated about what she called “the ongoing, routine abuses and human-rights violations committed against the occupied population.”
Pillay cited for her conclusions the work of “my staff” at her U.N. office (the same U.N. office staffing today’s “Inquiry”). So, the head of this “Inquiry” has already headed inquiries on the issues before this “Inquiry.”
A third “Inquiry” task is to “make recommendations, in particular on accountability measures.” In another time-saver, Pillay’s already told the Human Rights Council that her top choice is “referral of the situation to the International Criminal Court.” And she wants the free flow of Iranian weapons, dual-use materiel and terrorists, in and out of Gaza—or as she puts it: “Israel must allow the free movement of goods and people into and out of Gaza and between Gaza and the West Bank.”
One more “Inquiry” task is to “make recommendations on measures to be taken by third States to ensure … that they do not aid or assist in the commission of internationally wrongful acts.”
Done, done and done. Pillay’s already urged third states to engage in BDS: “I hope that the Palestinian struggle to end colonization gains … momentum, especially in the civilian campaign of BDS, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.” Kothari has already said—in a U.N. press release, no less: “I also urge the international community … to reconsider the continuation of military cooperation with Israel” Sidoti’s NGO has already recommended “asset freezes against Israeli government officials and entities” and issued a call for “immediately imposing a comprehensive two-way arms embargo on Israel.”
With a job description to discover systemic discrimination and human-rights violations in the Arab-Israeli conflict, the United Nations chose “independent,” “impartial” and “objective” inquirers who have made careers of discovering systemic Israeli racism and criminality. Tasked with making recommendations on accountability following their findings, the U.N.-appointed a Queen of Hearts and two knaves—“sentence first, verdict afterwards.”
These are not “inquirers,” and this is not a “commission of inquiry.” They are hired guns on a global hit job. A con with life-threatening implications. An assignment no decent lawyer—or human being—would take. But then, that quality is not a U.N. qualification.
Anne Bayefsky is the director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust, and president of Human Rights Voices.