Congress must withdraw funding for poisoned UN Pillay report
(June 19, 2022 / JNS) Last Tuesday, a bipartisan group of senators introduced the Elimination of the Commission of Inquiry (COI) Act, seeking to abolish the last United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) commission “investigating” into Israel and to counter systemic anti-Israel bias at the United Nations.
The bill, which accompanies bipartisan COI elimination legislation introduced in the House in March, comes just months after 68 senators and 48 House members sent separate letters to President Biden noting anti-Semitic bias. of the Commission and urging it to take action against him. Passage of the bill would represent an important step in the fight against anti-Semitism at the United Nations, a necessary measure that both parties should immediately and enthusiastically endorse.
It is legitimate for the United Nations to criticize Israel, which should be held accountable like any other country. But it’s also clear that Israel faces systemic bias at the United Nations: not one but two UN secretaries-general have admitted this, and frankly, the numbers don’t lie. At the CDH alone, about half of the everything resolutions for the whole globe condemn the State of Israel.
Israel has been the subject of more commissions of inquiry (9) than any other country (2); more special sessions (9) than any other country (5); and this is the only country in the world that has a standing agenda item dedicated to its alleged wrongdoing. This bias is so blatant that in 2018, the last administration voluntarily terminated its membership in protest. Even when the Biden administration joined last year, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield pledged that the United States “will oppose the council’s disproportionate focus on Israel.”
It is time to pass the law on the elimination of conflicts of interest and do just that, because the impunity with which the HRC has operated so far has only encouraged it to continue to push the limits – and the Overton Curve – when it comes to spreading lies and hate about the Jewish state. They don’t even bother to pretend to be righteous anymore.
In this latest commission, the UNHRC ignored basic rules of international investigations by appointing openly biased commissioners who announced their “findings” before their appointment. International fact-finding is a quasi-judicial process and international law requires investigators to be impartial. Each of the three commissioners has shown extraordinary bias against Israel on dozens of occasions, including on issues specifically related to this investigation.
The commission was formed to examine Israel’s actions after “Operation Guardian of the Walls”, the May 2021 campaign to defend innocent Israelis and Palestinians from the thousands of deadly rockets launched indiscriminately at the civilian population of Israel. Israel by the US-designated terrorist organization Hamas. Just weeks after the end of the conflict, Chief Commissioner Navi Pillay publicly declared Israel guilty of war crimes and “determined” that the conflict was Israel’s fault.
The Council literally appointed a commissioner to lead an investigation after she had already shared her findings, but before she had done any research. The NGO UN Watch filed a formal recusal request in February, but to date no response has been received.
In the past, anti-Israel commissions at the United Nations have always lied about big things, and in that regard, the new report did not disappoint (see here, and here, and here, for some answers to the usual false allegations and unimaginatively recycled one-sided accusations contained in the “conclusions”). But this time, the commissioners were apparently so indifferent to the truth that they even lied about the (relatively) “little” things, including making patently false statements about procedural matters that did not fit their preferred narrative.
Pillay wrote that “the Commission received several thousand written submissions”, which is categorically untrue. The Commission actually received at least 4,890,902 individual applications pro-Israel submissions, all carefully recorded and timestamped. These submissions came from a network of numerous NGOs, including the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust, Human Rights Voices and Palestinian Media Watch, in an effort facilitated by the prominent international lawyer Anne Bayeffsky. Not only was none of the information in any of those submissions included in the report, but Pillay denied receiving it in time to even review it. She told the Council that all of these submissions came “after we finalized our report.” This statement is unequivocally false based on verifiable records of the senders.
Pillay also asserted that “since the finalization of this report, we have unfortunately received reports of continued violations of individual and collective rights – including excessive use of force – sometimes fatal, by Israeli security forces against civilians. Palestinians, including women, children and journalists”.
Maybe. But what Pillay chose not to mention was that since the report was finalized, she had also received, from those same pro-Israel sources, at least 28,313 separate reports of lethal force by Palestinians. and other Arabs directed against Israelis.
In the report, Pillay actually accused Israel of pushing Palestinians to violate human rights (including those of their own citizens). Perhaps, in some kind of twisted logic, she counted reports of Palestinian violence as more examples of Israeli violations. Be that as it may, Pillay’s presentation of the report to the Council last week did exactly what it was supposed to do: it gave HRC members another platform to accuse Israel of everything from apartheid to Zionist genocide, with no evidence offered or requested.
Discriminatory commissions that blame Israel for all the world’s problems, or scapegoat the Jewish state in the same way that anti-Semites have always scapegoated the Jewish people, are simply not acceptable. All the COI Elimination Act does is restrict the funding of anti-Semitic activities by US taxpayers, following a model used in existing US legislation to oppose other UN bodies that engage in anti-Semitic activities. discriminatory and disparate treatment. For lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, this should be an easy decision.
Dr. Mark Goldfeder, Esq. is an international lawyer and director of the National Jewish Advocacy Center.
This article was originally published by Jewish newspaper.