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Friday, April 15, 2011
This article by Anne Bayefsky appears on National Review Online.
Following Richard Goldstone's recent retraction of the central finding of his infamous report, the other three members of his U.N. committee have clearly been depressed. The committee chair had gotten all of the glory from the U.N.'s anti-Israel bloc for producing the blood libel that Israel had deliberately set out to murder Palestinian civilians, not responded to years of Palestinian terrorist attacks on its own civilian population. Their names were rarely, if ever, mentioned. The retraction threatened to wipe them completely from the history books. So in another newspaper yesterday, they demanded the recognition they feel they so richly deserve.
Christine Chinkin, Desmond Travers, and Hina Jilani published an article in the Guardian in which they reiterate their enthusiasm for their libelous conclusions and complain: "We regret the personal attacks and the extraordinary pressure placed on members of the fact-finding mission since we began our work in May 2009. This campaign has been clearly aimed at undermining the integrity of the report and its authors." Indeed, the "integrity" of both the report and its authors is exactly what is in issue.
The lack of integrity of the report itself was apparent from the start. The mandate of the so-called investigators was set by the Human Rights Council after it had decided Israel was guilty. In its words: "The Human Rights Council ... decides to dispatch an urgent, independent international fact-finding mission ... to investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law by the occupying Power, Israel, against the Palestinian people." No self-respecting lawyer or professional of any kind would have taken a job defined in such a one-sided way. But these people were different, because each of them was as biased as their U.N. masters.
The "integrity" of Christine Chinkin, a law professor at the London School of Economics, was not difficult to discern. On January 11, 2009, in the midst of the Gaza war, Chinkin signed a letter to The Times newspaper which stated: "Israel's bombardment of Gaza is not self-defence - it's a war crime."
Allegedly, the purpose of the Goldstone mission was to investigate whether war crimes had been committed. No democratic state governed by the rule of law would ever have appointed Christine Chinkin to a Gaza war-crimes inquiry after she had signed that letter. No lawyer being considered for a position on such an inquiry, with the slightest concern about integrity, would ever have taken the job. But then Chinkin's lack of integrity is precisely why she was selected.
The Times letter she signed also stated: "The rocket attacks on Israel by Hamas deplorable as they are, do not, in terms of scale and effect amount to an armed attack entitling Israel to rely on self-defence. ... Israel's actions amount to aggression, not self-defence." At the time of this statement, Israeli civilians had endured 12,000 mortar and rocket attacks over the eight years prior to the Gaza operation. This hired-gun, prepared to manufacture rules for fighting back invented only for the Jewish state, lacks far more than integrity. Her words are a catalyst for more of the same. On April 7, 2011, Hamas terrorists fired a mortar from Gaza into a school bus, grievously injuring a schoolboy who happened to be the only child on the bus. If 12,000 mortars and rockets were not enough to justify acts of self-defense, then, on Chinkin's twisted logic, the targeting of Jewish schoolchildren by an organization publicly dedicated to genocide against the Jewish people would not entitle Israel to self-defense today either. One shudders to think how many dead and mutilated Jewish children would be enough for Christine Chinkin.
Travers and Jilani were similarly selected only because they had declared Israel guilty before they began their "fact-finding mission." On March 16, 2009, both Travers and Jilani (and Goldstone) signed an open letter addressed to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council ambassadors calling for the very inquiry to which they were then appointed. The letter demanded the mission on the grounds that they were "shocked" by actions in Gaza, that "gross violations of the laws of war," "gross violations of international humanitarian law," "targeting of civilians," and "crimes perpetuated against civilians" had been committed, and that the criminals "responsible ... should be held to account."
Travers's "integrity" has been on display ever since. In February 2, 2010, a verbatim transcript was published of an interview Travers gave to the pro-Palestinian rag Middle East Monitor. (Muslim Brotherhood enthusiast Tariq Ramadan is their "honorary adviser.") It includes the following Travers statement: "Do you realise now that there is a very fervid Rabbinate in the military? For the first time ever the Rabbis travelled with the combat troops and this is a new and troubling development. It is also reported that the Rabbis in the Israeli Defence Forces have on occasion challenged the authority of military commanders. This must surely be a development that has negative consequences for good order and respect for authority in the Israeli army." Of course, it is only troubling if it's a bad thing to give an army moral guidance and support - as chaplains embedded with the American armed forces do. Or perhaps Travers really means that there is a problem specifically with Jewish spiritual leaders.
It is hardly surprising that this former Goldstone sidekick went on to analogize Israelis to Nazis, claiming elsewhere in the interview: "Gaza has now come into the history books in the same way as ... Dresden, Stalingrad. Gaza is a gulag ... closed-off from food, water, air."
As for Jilani's "integrity" and qualifications for judging Israel's self-defense needs, they were evident long before Gaza. She was quoted in The Jurist in 2005 as stating: "Israel is depriving Palestinians of their basic human rights using security as an excuse." Jilani's pro-Arab bias cuts a broad swath. She was a member of the U.N.'s notorious 2005 international fact-finding commission on Darfur, Sudan. That commission maintained that the atrocities in Darfur did not constitute an ethnic or racially driven conflict, even though it was perpetrated by Arab militias against non-Arab African tribal victims. Hundreds of thousands raped and murdered, 2.5 million displaced - but no genocide, according to Jilani and company. Their moral blindness was exposed last July when the International Criminal Court decided to proceed on the charge of genocide against Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir, because "there are reasonable grounds to believe him responsible for ... genocide by killing, genocide by causing serious bodily or mental harm and genocide by deliberately inflicting on each target group conditions of life calculated to bring about the group's physical destruction."
Chinkin, Travers, and Jilani are rightly worried about their reputations, just as Richard Goldstone was. Their integrity is in ruins, their faulty moral compasses exposed. But they have no one to blame but themselves.
This article by Anne Bayefsky originally appeared on National Review Online.
While attention was focused on a possible government shutdown last week, another event on Capitol Hill slipped by virtually unnoticed. U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice appeared before both a House Appropriations subcommittee and the Foreign Affairs Committee - and her testimony indicated that America is now perched on a foreign-relations precipice at least as dangerous as the looming economic abyss.
Rice's oral and written testimony offers the most detailed defense yet of the central foreign-policy plank of the Obama administration, known as "engagement." In short, the Obama doctrine has outfitted American interests with U.N.-made cement shoes. Rice's apologia, therefore, hands Republican presidential hopefuls a cornucopia of opportunities to articulate a plan to reverse President Obama's abdication of leadership and responsibility to the United Nations.
Rice's case had two prongs. The first was a series of unsubstantiated claims of "dramatic" success. The second placed the democratic state of Israel in Obama's crosshairs, regardless of anything else that has taken, is taking, or will take place across the democratically challenged Arab and Muslim world.
Ultimately, according to Rice, "the United Nations is so important to our national security . . . [that] when we meet our financial obligations to the U.N., we make Americans safer," and "the U.N. promotes universal values Americans hold dear." Both of these assertions are demonstrably false.
Rice boasted that "the U.N. helps halt the proliferation of nuclear weapons" and that "strong and sustained U.N. action makes crystal clear to governments that defy their international nuclear obligations that they will face isolation and significant consequences." In fact, U.N. action on Iran has amounted to a two-decades-long cover-up by the International Atomic Energy Agency and its former chief, Mohamed ElBaradei, followed by years of dithering over feeble U.N. resolutions. The only thing crystal clear is that subcontracting American national security to the U.N. has made the Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons inevitable, barring direct non-U.N. intervention in the very near future.
On terrorism, Rice contended that "the U.N. helps isolate terrorists." In fact, to this day the United Nations has no definition of terrorism because Arab and Islamic states believe murdering Israelis, American "occupiers," or anyone else standing in the way of their idea of "self-determination" doesn't count. The United Nations Security Council currently has the representative of a terrorist organization as a full member, namely, Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon. The U.N.'s central Counter-Terrorism Committee, created as its response to 9/11, has never named a single terrorist, terrorist organization, or state sponsor of terrorism. And this week, a U.N. General Assembly committee charged back in 1996 with drafting a comprehensive anti-terrorism convention reconvened to keep blathering about what the U.N. itself describes as "the long-stalled draft text."
On human rights, Rice claimed: "While no U.N. body can expect to have only countries with perfect records on it, we are focused on keeping the most egregious and disruptive human-rights abusers off the [Human Rights] Council, as we did last year when Iran sought a seat. . . . We succeeded in getting Iran to withdraw its candidacy last year." What Rice means by "not perfect" Council members are at least a dozen states that Freedom House places in the lowest echelons of its freedom scale - including Angola, China, Cuba, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. And the only reason Iran withdrew its candidacy for the U.N.'s top human-rights body was that the Obama administration agreed not to make a fuss about giving Iran a seat on the U.N.'s top women's-rights body, where it is now firmly ensconced.
Rice's peacekeeping apologetics ought to be an embarrassment to any self-respecting liberal. According to Rice: "One rape is one too many. But . . . we must remain mindful that the Democratic Republic of Congo [DRC] is a country the size of the United States east of the Mississippi River." Gang rapes are systematically carried out in the DRC and impunity for the rapists is standard practice. Victims include baby boys and women over 100 years of age. In the summer of 2010, for example, U.N. peacekeepers stationed just 20 miles away, despite having been specifically warned of imminent violence in a particular town, did nothing to stop 240 rapes over a four-day period. And yet Rice whined: "Some 20,000 peacekeepers with only a couple dozen helicopters cannot be everywhere they may be needed all the time."
Over and over again, Rice spoke about the administration's "pushing" this and that policy, failing to mention that the U.N. majority was busy pushing in the other direction. Rice declared: "The United States has pushed for a serious review of the Human Rights Council." But all the significant recommendations made by the U.S. - 39 over a five-month review period - were rejected outright on March 25, 2011, by the Council.
Rice boasted: "We pushed to ensure that countries can no longer claim an international sanction for blasphemy laws." But on April 6, 2011, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights sent a mass e-mail across the U.N. system requesting "input for a report by the Secretary-General to the General Assembly" on "combating defamation of religions."
And Rice crowed: "We will continue to push for strong action by the Council and the General Assembly to hold the Iranian government accountable for future violations." That must be a relief to the Iranian democracy-seekers that the Obama administration has left to rot following past violations.
The biggest "engagement" sham of all was her excuse for throwing Israel to the U.N. wolf pack. In Rice's words: "The results there [at the Human Rights Council] were worse when America sat on the sidelines. . . . Israel was relentlessly bashed. . . . U.S. engagement and leadership are paying dividends." In fact, at its March session with the Obama administration squarely in the middle of it all, the Council adopted more resolutions bashing Israel than at any other session in its history.
Rice's written submission contained a section called "singling out Israel" that was intended to be about the U.N., rather than the Obama administration. But she herself said the following: "Israeli settlement activity is illegitimate, undermines Israel's security, and corrodes hopes for peace and stability in the region."
This inflammatory statement comes just a few weeks after Palestinian terrorists decapitated a three-month old Jewish baby (and murdered four other members of her family) for the crime of existing on a plot of land whose legal ownership is undecided and subject to negotiation. Until President Obama came into office, a rule prohibiting Jews from living on any Palestinian-claimed land was not American policy. But after Obama's 2010 General Assembly speech naming an artificial 2011 deadline for the creation of a Palestinian state, Palestinians have been emboldened to use the U.N. to make apartheid-Palestine a fait accompli.
It is time to save America and democracy from President Obama's UN.
April 14, 2011
April 13, 2011
April 12, 2011
Egyptian tribunal sentences blogger to three years for criticizing military Human Rights Vocies
April 11, 2011
More than 50 killed as protests spread to 25 Syrian towns Human Rights Voices