The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) strongly opposes the proposed United Nations inquiry designed to identify alleged Israeli war crimes in Gaza, which is to be led by a veteran Israel-hater, William Schabas. The proposed inquiry, called into being by the anti-Israel United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), is designed to investigate solely Israel’s alleged war crimes. There is no inquiry to be held into the genuine war crimes committed by Hamas. This is but the latest example of egregious U.N. anti-Semitism.
The UN Human Rights Council, created in 2006, has eliminated probes into the most serious human-rights abuses in Belarus, Congo, Cuba, Liberia and Sudan. Over three-quarters of the UNHRC’s resolutions have targeted Israel alone.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “We strongly oppose the U.N. Human Rights Council and its latest disgraceful act of moral perversion and anti-Semitism by establishing an inquiry to investigate alleged Israeli war crimes, while completely ignoring the actual and grotesque war crimes committed by Hamas in the course of its war on the Jewish state.
“It is outrageous to accuse Israel of war crimes when the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have done more than any army in history to protect enemy civilians in time of war. In the current case, Israel called off strikes where civilians were found to be present and distributed leaflets and text messages to civilians to leave target zones, only to be often countermanded by Hamas.
“Even UN officials have admitted that Hamas has urged civilians to stay in places where the IDF warned them to leave. For example, on 16 July, according to UN officials, ‘the Israeli military delivered text messages to virtually all the residents of Ash Shuja’iyya and Az Zaitoun neighborhoods in eastern Gaza city, approximately 100,000 people, warning them to leave their homes … ahead of attacks to be launched in the area … the Palestinian Ministry of Interior in Gaza reportedly instructed the residents … not [to] flee the area … the vast majority decided to stay.’
“In recent days, a Hamas urban war manual discovered by Israeli troops on the ground in Gaza strongly supports Israel’s claim that Hamas uses Gaza civilians as human shields. Moreover, Hamas, war crimes are multi-faceted and numerous: Hamas deliberately fires missiles at civilians; it fires from civilian homes, hospitals and schools, it uses hospitals and ambulances to protect and transport its gunmen, it mines civilian homes and streets; it uses civilians, including children as cover; it impedes humanitarian supplies and targets staging points for humanitarian convoys; it kidnaps civilians and takes them hostage; it intimidates and threatens journalists.
“The ZOA agrees with Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer, that the Israeli army should receive the Nobel Peace Prize for its extraordinary efforts to protect lives in war zones during a war not started by Israel and in which it was compelled to respond immediately to protect its citizens. Israel has done even more than the U.S. to protect civilian lives in a war zone, yet it finds itself pilloried today by the U.N.
“As a matter of justice and national dignity, Israel should not cooperate with UNHRC inquiry or give it any legitimacy and we support its refusal to do so. At a bare minimum, it should not do so until and unless the U.N. charges Hamas with war crimes.
The ZOA has also noted the following:
William Schabas, a Canadian-born academic who is a professor of International Law at Middlesex University, has been appointed to head the UNHRC inquiry into Israel. The ZOA has criticized his appointment, because Schabas is a nakedly anti-Israel partisan with a long record of hostile and outrageous statements:
- Last week, Schabas refused to call Hamas, the U.S.- and European Union-listed terrorist organization which calls in its Charter for the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews, a terrorist organization.
- Schabas has said after the 2008-9 Israel/Hamas war, “Why are we going after the president of Sudan for Darfur and not the president of Israel for Gaza?”
- In 2009, Schabas said that people should stop “exaggerating” the numerous, genocidal threats made by former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, saying, that those who deserve the blame are “Israel and its friends, who have manipulated the truth about the nature of the work of the United Nations by gross exaggeration of the role and intervention of certain fanatics.” Instead, he has called Ahmadinejad simply a “provocative politician.”
- In 2011, Schabas went to Iran, to co-sponsor conferences with and deliver keynote addresses at the Tehran-based Center for Human Rights and Cultural Diversity, which accuses Israel of apartheid and has close ties with Ahmadinejad.
- In 2011, Schabas said in a speech that he believes Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu should be “in the dock of an international court.” He also wrote in a law journal article that the Israeli prime minister could be regarded as “the single individual most likely to threaten the survival of Israel.”
- During a 2013 speech, Schabas said that it is his “profound belief, the international law can be used to demonstrate and underscore the violations committed by the state of Israel, and moreover can be used to hold accountable individuals who have perpetrated international crimes against the people of Palestine … I would have been inclined to talk about crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression, all of which I think can be shown have been perpetrated at various times during the history of the state of Israel. These are all crimes that have become increasingly robust in their definition in recent decades and for which we now have international institutions capable of prosecuting the crimes. With a bit of luck and by twisting things and maneuvering we can get them before the courts.”