B’nai B’rith International is outraged at the Swiss government’s nominee for membership on the Advisory Committee of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.
The nomination of Jean Ziegler is an affront to the idea of an impartial, credible council. In the run-up to Israel’s total, unrequited withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005, Ziegler called the territory “an immense concentration camp,” and he has openly described Hezbollah as “a national movement of resistance.” He also has urged the use of economic leverage for political purposes against Israel—which he has reportedly called a “colonial regime.”
“This choice is another potential setback for the Human Rights Council, and its having been made by a democracy supposedly devoted to human rights is repugnant,” B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs said. “The appointment of Ziegler, who in effect disregards the most basic human rights of Israelis, would only reinforce the council as a forum for anti-Israel bigotry.”
Hezbollah is recognized by most of the world as a notorious terrorist group. In July, the European Union designated the “military wing” of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. Though noting as a positive step the recognition of atrocities committed by Hezbollah, B’nai B’rith has urged the European Union to eliminate the distinction between a “military wing” and a “political wing” of Hezbollah. The entirety of the organization patently deserves designation as terrorist in orientation, methods and objectives alike.
Switzerland is not a member of the European Union.
Ziegler, a former Social Democratic member of the Swiss parliament, helped institute an International Prize for Human Rights named in honor of longtime Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi and awarded to a series of tyrants, anti-Semites and ultimately Ziegler himself.
“Terrorism against citizens of the Jewish state—whether by Hamas in Gaza or Hezbollah in Lebanon—is a foremost example of the contemporary, serial denial of human rights. The Human Rights Council is certainly not the place for someone who doesn’t recognize that, or who chooses to direct his scorn at those engaged in responsible counterterrorism,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said. “Ziegler’s open record of hostility toward Israel and his embrace of human rights abusers compromise his ability to advise the Human Rights Council.”
Ziegler has been a U.N. fixture for well over a decade. During that time, he has repeatedly used the world body as a podium for his radical political opinions, especially his anti-Israel views.
B’nai B’rith urges the Swiss government to review Ziegler’s record and rescind his nomination.