A fisheye view of the Palais des Nations, the United Nations Headquarter in Geneva, Switzerland. Credit: LO Kin-hei/Shutterstock.
by Anne Bayefsky
(JNS) — A U.N. “Commission of Inquiry” has released a bombshell report that launches an unprecedented attack on Israel and its defenders, including private individuals and non-governmental organizations “worldwide.”
The move is a dramatic attempt to extend the global reach of a highly controversial venture initiated by the U.N. “Human Rights” Council in May 2021 at the behest of Islamic states without any Western support.
The breadth and scope of the “Inquiry’s” mandate, its huge budget and the absence of any end date made the whole operation unprecedented.
Not unprecedented in U.N. circles was the appointment of members with notorious anti-Israel records in flagrant violation of U.N. rules demanding impartiality, independence and objectivity.
Since their appointment, all three members (Navi Pillay, the chair; Chris Sidoti; and Miloon Kothari), have made a name for themselves by belittling Jewish victims of antisemitism and spreading more of the same.
Upon the presentation of the “Inquiry’s” first report in June 2022, Sidoti told the Human Rights Council that “accusations of antisemitism are thrown around like rice at a wedding.” In a July 2022 online podcast, Kothari said “the Jewish lobby” controls social media and suggested that Israel be kicked out of the U.N. Pillay defended them both. When presenting the “Inquiry’s” second report to the General Assembly in October 2022, Pillay scoffed at charges of antisemitism by telling the press: “This is always raised as a diversion.”
Shielded by the U.N. from any consequences for their scandalous behavior, the “Inquiry” proceeded to convene an array of secret meetings with unnamed individuals and groups and to conduct frequently classified “hearings” in preparation for the third report, released this week.
The process of producing this latest report was Kafka-esque. Pillay told U.N. WebTV that she stood “ready to hear alternate voices” and couldn’t help but draw negative inferences (against Israel) in their “absence.” But all the hearings and meetings were invitation-only, and alternates didn’t make the cut. Only 24 of 127 interviewees have been identified. And the known sources are uniformly Israel-bashing actors or enterprises, including the few Jewish ones paraded in front of the cameras.
The report claims that they received and considered only 21 submissions. But I and others delivered more than 5 million submissions, which Pillay publicly disparaged in a news conference as “all pro-Israel.”
The report explains the “Inquiry” invented a new rule eliminating pre-November 2022 submissions, so ours had been sent too early for this report. But Pillay had previously alleged our submissions had come too late to be read and considered for the past report.
The report that emerges from this rigged kangaroo court attacks not only Israel, but all of its non-governmental “supporters” who must be “urgently” held “accountable for human rights abuses” (so-called). Claiming they are “not a court,” the inquisitors make “findings” of “war crimes” and “grave breaches of international humanitarian law” by Israel only. And then finish it all off with an appeal to accelerate international criminal prosecution.
The only negative attention the inquisitors pay to what they call “the de-facto authorities in Gaza,” a.k.a. the internationally recognized terror organization Hamas, or to the Palestinian Authority, is about their treatment of other Palestinians. Never their treatment of Israelis.
The report makes “recommendations” to Israel about the treatment of Palestinians and never the other way around.
The report specifically names Palestinian (and Israeli) victims of alleged Israeli crimes but doesn’t name a single Israeli victim of a Palestinian crime.
The report couldn’t locate a single Palestinian terrorist or terrorist organization. There are only Israelis guilty of wrongly “labeling them as ‘terrorists.’”
The only children who count in the report are Palestinian children allegedly harmed by Israelis targeting and arresting their parents — not the acts of their parents in the first place. Not Palestinian children used as human shields and child soldiers. Not Palestinian victims of rocket attacks that miss their Jewish targets. Not Palestinian minors actively engaged in terrorism themselves.
The report says nothing at all about Israeli children.
The report finds no Palestinian antisemitism, only alleged Jewish stooges of the Israeli government who have wrongly “reframed antisemitism.” Here were three inquisitors, none of whom is Jewish or a victim of antisemitism, announcing from their U.N. perch that they know better about what counts as antisemitism than Jewish victims of antisemitism.
The report describes boycotts of Israel (BDS) — deeply discriminatory campaigns aimed at the political and economic ruin of the Jewish state — as “legitimate protest.”
The inquisitors complain that Israel is engaged in “lawfare,” in a report that culminates with a call to the International Criminal Court to commence an anti-Israel blitzkrieg.
The report accuses Israel of a “strategy of delegitimizing and silencing civil society.” Official delegitimizing strategies like promoting antisemitism, Palestinian Authority payments to terrorists and their families, and the Hamas Charter exhorting genocide, were never raised. Nor was the ultimate Palestinian silencing strategy pursued for the last 75 years — murdering Jews.
The inquisitors claim that Palestinians face “a clear attempt to erase their identity, culture and history” after recounting that “history” as the catastrophic creation of a Jewish state by way of the criminal act of “ethnic cleansing.”
Actual history — namely, 3,000 years of attempted erasure of the Jewish people’s connection to their ancestral homeland, the erasure of Jewish populations from Arab lands and the ongoing erasure of Jews for attempting to fulfill Jewish self-determination in the land of Israel — is never mentioned.
The inquisitors attack critics as engaging in a “well-organized smear campaign,” while engaging in a well-organized smear campaign to slander individuals and organizations who don’t dutifully “criticize Israeli policy” or “support Palestinian rights.” By which they mean anyone who challenges the “Palestinian narrative” — laced with falsehoods and lethal incitement.
The report accuses Israel of seeking “permanent occupation.” Except that Israel demonstrably left Sinai and Gaza, and permanent non-negotiation is a Palestinian trademark.
Deceitfully, this inquisition styles itself a purveyor of “legitimate criticism of Israeli policies and actions.”
In reality, “Pillay’s pogrom” is one of the most antisemitic and dangerous assaults on the homeland of the Jewish people in U.N. history.