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.”
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
In the wake of the naming of partisan “experts” to the United Nations Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) “independent, international commission of inquiry” on Gaza, B’nai B’rith International reaffirms its clear expectation of bias on the part of the probe. The UNHRC selected William Schabas of Canada, Doudou Diène of Senegal, and Amal Alamuddin of Britain.
B’nai B’rith considers the commission itself illegitimate as it was born of a UNHRC resolution that stridently excoriated Israel in advance of the “inquiry” it launched and didn’t so much as mention Hamas by name. It was specifically designed to scrutinize not years of cross-border terrorist attacks against Israelis, but rather Israel’s defensive response to them. Any suggestion that there is equivalence between terrorism and a state defending its civilians from that threat is both outrageous and unacceptable.
Naming individuals with prior, public positions harshly critical of Israeli policy reinforces strong anticipation that the Gaza probe’s conclusions are foregone. Schabas, for example, was quoted in 2013 as saying, “my favorite would be [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu within the dock of the International Criminal Court.”
Alamuddin—who is engaged to actor George Clooney—has now said she is unavailable to sit on the UNHRC commission. Nonetheless, she specified in a statement that she was “horrified” by what she called the “crimes” committed in the “occupied Gaza Strip.” Gaza, however, saw all Israeli military personnel and civilians depart in 2005, and it has been the origin of relentless, criminal violence against the civilians of Israel by Palestinian terrorist groups led by Hamas. Her intended appointment reveals not only the inherent bias of the UNHRC commission and its dispatchers, but also a deplorable attempt to garner publicity for yet another exercise in anti-Israel bias.