There are days when even a card-carrying optimist like myself can only despair of the absolute insanity which sometimes manages to pervade the world’s view of Israel. This is one of them. Having read Chris McGreal’s article on the United Nations Human Rights Council’s report on the incident aboard the Mavi Marmara on May 31st, there was no choice but to plough through the 56 pages myself. If you have not read the report (A/HRC/15/21 at this link) already, my professional advice would be to take a dose of anti-emetics before doing so.
There is so much wrong with this report that it would take far more space than a mere blog post permits in which to detail the numerous mistakes, omissions, erroneous presumptions and politically motivated hearsay upon which it is based. Its methodology and many of the sources upon which it relies can –and should- be called into question. Although, as McGreal pointed out in his CiF article, it carries no legal force, it is already being lauded by Hamas, Turkey and others involved in the ongoing campaign to delegitimize Israel by means of lawfare. It provides a veneer of seemingly irreproachable respectability to many of the pernicious myths surrounding the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas and lends its more than implicit support to those terror-supporting organizations involved in the ‘Free Gaza’ campaign.
The report was commissioned on June 2nd – a mere three days after the events aboard the Mavi Marmara – by a body which had prior to that already come out in predictable condemnation of Israel. The mission and mandate of the subsequently appointed investigatory body were already defined in that condemnation, and whilst the report acknowledges the one-sided nature of its mission as defined, it does not appear to have had the desire to correct that obvious bias.
“Decides to dispatch an independent international fact finding mission to investigate violations of international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law, resulting from the Israeli attacks on the flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian assistance.”
Some of the more glaring faults of the report include the omission of any reference to the real causes of power outages in the Gaza strip (clause 31), the declaration that there is a “severe humanitarian situation in Gaza” (clause 53) and that a humanitarian crisis existed on 31/05/2010 in Gaza (clause 261), together with an ‘interesting’ definition of starvation (clause 52). The assumption that Gaza is still under Israeli occupation (clause 51), together with the reliance upon testimonies from such partisan sources as Richard Falk and Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) (clause 179) sets the scene for some of the more fanciful claims made by the writers of the report. These include the defining of the ‘Free Gaza’ movement as a human rights organization (clause 76) and the IHH as a “humanitarian organization”, the dismissal of readily available footage of some of the Mavi Marmara’s passengers’ Jihadi calls to martyrdom with a description of “some bravado”, the description of what went on aboard the ships as “passive resistance”, “non-violence” and “symbolic resistance” (clause 102), the claim that “at no stage was a request made by the Israeli navy for the cargo to be inspected” (clause 109) and the claim that the replies to Israeli navy radio communications which we have all heard and which referred to Auschwitz and the 9/11 terror attack did not come from the ships’ passengers (clause 110). The report even descends to the ridiculous level of describing “excessive air conditioning” in the vans in which detainees were transported (clause 195), the noise in the prison in which they were held (clause 197) and the number of armed soldiers present at the airport before their deportation (clause 202) as deliberate intimidation upon the part of Israel and makes the unsubstantiated claim that detainees were photographed for “trophy pictures” (clause 190) and exposed to “hostile crowds” (clause 185).
Obviously, he who pays the piper calls the tune, and it is hardly surprising that a report commissioned by a body such as the UNHRC with 18 members and one observer from the Organisation of the Islamic Conference currently sitting on the council should come up with such conclusions. The realists among us may well ask how on earth the OIC even gets to sit upon that body, let alone dominate its agenda, when it has for years refused to accept the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on the grounds that it is not Sharia compliant and some of its members are among the worst human rights abusers on the planet.
Despite criticism of disproportionate focus on Israel from Kofi Annan, Ban Ki Moon and Mary Robinson, the OIC continues to manipulate the UNHRC for its own political and ideological agenda which includes the delegitimisation of Israel, as demonstrated by the fact that the UNHRC voted on 30/06/2006 to accept a resolution proposed by the OIC making a review of alleged human rights abuses by Israel a “permanent feature of every council session”.
Perhaps one of the most blatant omissions of this latest report is the shocking lack of concern for the human rights of Israeli citizens targeted by Hamas and the willful refusal to address the bigger picture of Israeli security concerns arising from the Iran/Syria/Turkey/Hamas/Hizbollah axis. Not once are the repeated attempts to transport weaponry and missiles to Gaza by Iranian ships even mentioned in passing.
The report quotes the International Court of Justice’s 2004 judgment regarding the anti-Terrorist fence as the basis for some of its conclusions, but makes the same politically-inspired error that the ICJ made in assuming that the dismissal of the very real threats to the lives of Israeli citizens by means of such reports and politico-legal judgments on the international stage cannot be defined as a crime against humanity. This UNHRC report represents yet another legal travesty aiming to deny the Israeli people their right to self-defence.
Liberals around the world, including those in the media , should be taking the UNHRC to task for its long and extensive history of obsessive political bias against Israel at the expense of so many instances of blatant human rights abuse the world over. They should be alarmed and driven to action by the fact that the UNHRC’s moral authority and credibility have been lost due to its lack of impartiality and repeated application of politically motivated double standards. A newspaper such as the Guardian should be leading the charge on an issue of such obvious gravity. Instead it uses reports such as this latest one and the ignominious Goldstone Report before it to fuel its campaign of delegitimisation against Israel and, like too many others, will gladly perpetuate the indecent mob rule at the United Nations Human Rights Council at the expense of the lives and rights millions around the world if in doing so it can score political goals against the Jewish state.
That’s a very sorry state of affairs to which our generation will undoubtedly have to answer in years to come.