Sunday, August 17, 2014

The United Nations Commission of Inquiry

UNHRC war crimes panel head William Schabas - Not a good Schabas
War crimes are a serious business. Governments that commit them ought to be held responsible. The Allied forces did a good job doing that after the Holocaust, where Nazi Officials were tried for crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg trials. Many leaders of the 3rd Reich were found guilty of genocide against the Jewish people and were hanged..  That event in 1945-46 was clearly an exercise in justice.

Fast Forward to today. The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has created a panel to investigate whether there were any war crimes committed by Israel during its recent war with Hamas in Gaza. To compare in any way what the Nuremberg trials were about in 1945 with what is going on today, is a blasphemy. It is an insult to any version of ethics and morality that anyone can imagine.

During the course of the war, Israel was singled out for criticism by Navi Pillay, a U.N. human rights official. She accused Israel of deliberately defying international law and should be held accountable for possible war crimes.

From the Forward
Israel has attacked homes, schools, hospitals, Gaza’s only power plant and U.N. premises in apparent violation of the Geneva Conventions, said Pillay, a former U.N. war crimes judge. 
And then in an obvious pretense to seem even handed she said the following: 
Hamas militants in Gaza have violated international humanitarian law by firing rockets indiscriminately into Israel.
Is there any doubt that this panel is anti-Israel from the get-go? The people on this must be some of the most ethically challenged individuals in the history of the UN. But the real culprit William Schabas, who by comparison makes Richard Goldstone look like a saint. Goldstone’s panel concluded that Israel deliberately targeted the citizens of Gaza in the 2009 war. A conclusion Goldstone himself retracted in 2011 (…no doubt to the chagrin of Schabas who suggested he be put on the short list of Nobel Peace Prize nominees when the Goldstone report was first issued). 

I’m sure the UN purposely chose Jews like Goldstone and Schabas as a cynical ploy to show that this is not about Antisemitism.  

But the fact that they are Jewish does not make them any more evenhanded about the State of Israel than the members of Neturei Karta who carry Palestinian flags as they attend anti Israel rallies with Muslim extremists and their sympathizers who join them in calling for the dismantling of the State of Israel.

How in heaven’s name can someone who has said that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and former president Shimon Peres should be indicted before the International Criminal Court be considered even handed – and chosen to investigate whether war crimes were committed?

Even after he was appointed to head that committee, a video published by UN Watch revealed him saying the following to mocking laughter by other members of the committee: 
"Honestly, if I had to think of a person who is considered the greatest threat to the survival of Israel, I would probably choose to Netanyahu," 
I  agree with Israel's Permanent Representative to the UN, Ron Proser, who said the following:
"Forming an investigatory committee headed by Schabas is like inviting ISIS to organize religious tolerance week at the UN..."
(I’m sure their final report will include Israel’s disproportionate response to Hamas rockets. After all - not enough Jews were killed.)

Is there any sane individual that would say that a committee composed of these individuals has any credibility at all? That the UNHRC can set this up and call it even-handed with a straight face is proof positive that they are heavily biased against the Jewish State. Espicially since UNHRC has never called for similar inquiries into some of the most evil despotic genocidal regimes that are all members in good standing of the UN.

And yet - except for those of us who have examined the facts about this commission as I just outlined - there is going to be a lot of credibility given by people who are mostly uninformed about this. The high minded name of being a committee that is supposed to be concerned about human rights will no doubt convince many people that read their report or hear about its Israeli bashing conclusions  from the media -  and think it was a fair and thorough investigation… and  end up believing it.

I don’t know what to do about that. Other than to keep underscoring just how biased this panel is in the public square every chance we get. My hope is that the United States will join Israel in delegitimizing this panel and reject any of its biased conclusions - just as it did with the Goldstone report. Wouldn’t  it be nice if – for a change - the media cared more about ethical journalism than it cared about its revenue  stream and completely ignored this UN panel or any of its conclusions?

Unfortunately there are only 2 chances of that happening: 1) slim and 2) none.