B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International delivered a statement on March 23 at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), speaking under the biased anti-Israel item 7 to address the body’s just-deferred “Commission of Inquiry” report on Israel’s conflict with Hamas during the summer of 2014.
B’nai B’rith representative to the U.N. in Geneva Klaus Netter normally speaks under UNHRC agenda item 4, under which all countries except Israel are considered, but instead spoke under item 7 as the commission’s conclusions had previously been expected to be released in that context. Netter admonished the council for the selection of an outspoken critic of Israel, William Schabas, as the chairman of the inquiry. Schabas resigned following the revelation that he had served as a paid consultant to the Palestine Liberation Organization.
Netter explained: “We are speaking under this item, because we had expected that the report of the ‘Commission of Inquiry’ on last year’s conflict in and around Gaza would be submitted by today. Its submission was delayed on account of the most unusual resignation of the commission’s chairman, who had neglected to report his previous consultancy relationship with one of the parties to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Never in the council’s nine-year history—or indeed in the 60-year history of its predecessor [Human Rights] Commission—had such an embarrassment occurred. It should serve as a warning in future selections of commission members and special rapporteurs.”
Netter concluded by putting the Palestinian-Israeli conflict into perspective in the broader context of unrest in the Middle East, highlighting the council’s obsession with Israel and its willful ignorance of the incomparable atrocities being committed in Syria: “The number of victims in all past Israel-Arab hostilities constitute a small portion of the 200,000 victims caused by the Syrian conflict next door, but this relationship is hardly reflected in the number of resolutions coming before the council this week.”
A batch of rote anti-Israel motions and reports—more than those targeting any other country—are expected to be approved by the body, whose own members include serial rights violators.
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B’nai B’rith International is pleased that William Schabas has quit his position as head of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) inquiry into Israel’s defensive operations in Gaza during the summer of 2014. The probe itself—tarnished from the start by the Council’s record of singular discrimination against Israel and its advance excoriation of the Jewish state—must be discontinued.
Schabas has been under fire since his appointment to head the “independent, international commission of inquiry” due to his prior, outspoken anti-Israel views. It also came to light recently that Schabas, a Canadian academic, was paid to provide legal advice to the Palestine Liberation Organization. Although Schabas says he is excusing himself to avoid overshadowing the results of the commission’s report expected in March, the probe’s “research” has reportedly already been completed.
“This latest U.N. kangaroo court targeting the world’s only Jewish democracy was illegitimate from the beginning. It was cobbled together following a Human Rights Council resolution that blasted Israel before the commission even launched and didn’t so much as mention Hamas,” B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs said. “This inquiry has always been stacked against Israel and Schabas’ resignation only reaffirms how corrupt it is.”
Schabas’ bias against Israel has never been a secret. In 2013 he was quoted as saying, “my favorite would be [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu within the dock of the International Criminal Court.”
“While we welcome the departure of William Schabas from the ‘commission of inquiry,’ his biased, anti-Israel attitude will undoubtedly be present throughout its findings,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said. “The inquiry was specifically designed not to focus on years of cross-border terrorist attacks against Israelis, but rather Israel’s defensive response to them. Whatever the Human Rights Council releases in March is likely to attempt to draw equivalence between terrorism and a state defending its civilians from that threat—an outrageous and unacceptable conclusion.”