B’nai B’rith International welcomes the assertion today by U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, at the opening of the body’s new Human Rights Council session, that “we must speak up for human rights in an impartial way without double standards.” However, the Council—whose singling out of Israel for vilification is notorious even by the standards of highly politicized U.N. bodies—continued on the same day to display its moral bankruptcy by including Jean Ziegler on a high-level panel on “the contribution of human rights to peace building through the enhancement of dialogue and international cooperation.” Ziegler, a Human Rights Council advisory committee member, is a known apologist for Hezbollah who once called the brutal terrorist organization “a national resistance movement.”
In his speech, Guterres said that human rights cannot be allowed “to be instrumentalized as a political tool. And indeed the integrity and credibility of this Council will only be enhanced by proceeding in a manner that avoids unbalanced treatment of member states.”
Ziegler is known for his contemptible rhetoric. In 2005, he called the Gaza Strip, which was violently seized by the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, “an immense concentration camp,” and in the past he has also stated that the United States committed “genocide” in Cuba. As to Hezbollah, currently responsible for untold atrocities in Syria, the Iranian-sponsored group has continued its lethal arms buildup and to reject Israel’s existence even after Israel unilaterally withdrew from a security buffer on the southern Lebanese border 17 years ago.
The Human Rights Council is supposed to uphold human rights, and human rights include that of Israelis and others to be free of terrorists’ fanatic threats and relentless violence. Lending ongoing legitimacy to Ziegler is not only abhorrent, but it also reinforces the Human Rights Council’s overt prejudice against Israel. The Human Rights Council is not the place to honor someone who chooses to justify terrorism.