The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) strongly praised U.S. Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) today for urging the University of California, Berkeley to reconsider its decision to give Mary Robinson, formerly the president of Ireland and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, its 2012 Public Health Hero award. Congressman Sherman stated that his recommendation was based on Robinsons record of bias and animus against Israel.
In a letter to Berkeley Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau on January 4, 2012, Congressman Sherman expressed many concerns about the way in which Ms. Robinson carried out her responsibilities as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, including the following:
· Under Robinsons leadership, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights issued wildly skewed reports on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, unfairly painting Israel as the aggressor and the Palestinian Arabs as innocent victims.
· Robinson blamed Israel for the outbreak of Palestinian violence during the Second Intifada.
· When Robinson allowed the Durban process to be hijacked by anti-Semites and those who deny Israels right to exist, she betrayed her responsibilities as High Commissioner and enabled enormous undeserved damage to Israels international image.
· Robinsons stewardship of the infamous Durban Conference allowed hostility toward Israel to proliferate on the global arena. . . . A conference convened to combat the scourge of racism became an arena for some of the most anti-Israel, anti-Jewish voices in modern history.
· Rather than use her leadership in a constructive and objective way, Robinson adopted the narrative of Israels most vitriolic enemies.
Congressman Sherman informed the Chancellor: As a Representative from California, I believe that the University of California, Berkeley, a public institution with a global reputation of excellence and quality, should be upholding that reputation by honoring someone untainted by such a record of bias and animus against Israel (emphasis added).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, The ZOA applauds our great friend, U.S. Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA), for urging UC Berkeley not to honor Mary Robinson because of her disgraceful and shameful record on Israel. Congressman Sherman has been a leader in ensuring that our colleges and universities respond effectively to campus anti-Semitism, including vicious Israel-bashing that demonizes and delegitimizes Israel. We are grateful to Congressman Sherman for speaking out against UC Berkeleys poor choice in deciding to honor Mary Robinson, and urge the university to act on the Congressmans advice and rescind the decision.