|Pillay in 2011 [Image Source]|
Here's an example recorded on the Al Jazeera site ["UN says illegal Gaza blockade must be lifted | UN officials condemn Israeli attacks and warn of humanitarian crisis amid 440,000 displaced and lack of basic services"] from yesterday. It quotes Navanethem Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights since 2008, speaking about the rights of the Gazans:
Pillay also criticised the US, Israel's main ally, for failing to use its influence to halt the violence. "They have not only provided the heavy weaponry which is now being used by Israel in Gaza, but they've also provided almost $1bn in providing the Iron Domes to protect Israelis from the rockets attacks," she said. "No such protection has been provided to Gazans against the shelling."Reuters ["World powers must hold Israel accountable: U.N. rights boss"] has it too.
It's hard to ignore her silence on the brazen (and suicidal) siting of jihadist rocket-fire emplacements inside residential buildings, schools, hospitals, mosques by the men of Hamas. And she says nothing about the absence of bomb shelters or other protective structures to serve Hamas' Gazans; the terrorist regime has been in power since 2006 and presided over its descent into ever deeper poverty and hopelessness, with tragically little attention to the infrastructure needs of those they rule. Does this not impact on Gazans' human rights? Of course it does, but it's an inconvenient truth.
But more than anything else, it's just breathtaking to see how, confronted with an entirely defensive system that can bring no harm to the fat-cat (and largely absent) insiders of Hamas or to the masses of Gazans suffering under their fanatical rule, Judge Pillay criticizes Israel for the Iron Dome system too.
It's too easy to characterize Pillay's (and OHCHR's) distorted reality as merely bizarre. It comes against a more serious, sadly rich background of distortion and agenda-driven partisanship, as Anne Bayefsky pointed out some days ago in "Depravity at the UN Human Rights Council":
- A native of Durban, South Africa, Pillay spent her time in office championing the racist anti-racism conference that took place in her hometown in 2001... She choreographed the second and third UN Durban conferences in 2009 and 2011 that “reaffirmed” the Israel-is-racist canard.
- Pillay also initiated, and subsequently became the lead spokesperson for, the 2009 slanderous UN Goldstone Report. Though Goldstone himself later recanted the charge, the report accused Israel of deliberately targeting Palestinian civilians the last time Israel had the audacity to mount a sustained response to the Hamas killing machine in Gaza.
- Pillay opened the [UN Human Rights] Council session on July 23, 2014. For her, “suffering” was a description applicable only to Palestinians. She carefully presented the charge of “crimes against humanity” – knowing full well that the image projected was one of Israelis as the new Nazis. She simultaneously called for an investigation to discern the facts and recounted a list of supposed Israeli-driven horrors... [including] “unimaginable death, destruction, terror and life-long consequences.”
- In the end, the Human Rights Council’s resolution “deplores” and “condemns in the strongest terms” Israel’s “grave,” “widespread, systematic, and gross” “violations of human rights.” The word “Hamas” is never mentioned. And the UN launched a second Goldstone-like inquiry...
- There have been twice as many urgent debates and special sessions of the [Human Rights] Council on Israel in its entire eight-year lifespan than there have been on Syria with upwards of 200,000 dead... One-third of all the resolutions and decisions critical of a single state - for all 193 UN members - have been directed at Israel alone.
"Pillay will need to use her unique [platform] to throw a spotlight on the world's worst violations, including Sudan's mass killing in Darfur, Burmese brutality, Chinese persecution, and Mugabe's destruction of Zimbabwe"...
"This is the only office at the UN to be fiercely uncompromising and independent about human rights standards. The commissioner is the voice of the victim everywhere." [BBC, July 28, 2008]We're still puzzling over how the rights of Israelis, pounded by more than 3,000 civilian-seeking rockets from Gaza between January 1, 2014 and the end of July [Wikipedia], have gained from that $120 million budget, those thousand OHCHR bureaucrats, and those uncompromising UN actions and standards.
Actually, we're not entirely puzzled. That's because of a rare and not-very-pleasant one-on-one meeting we had some time ago with one of the key UN officials whose travels and views play a key role in OHCHR reports and thus on Ms Pillay's policies.
In a post entitled "28-Feb-08: John Dugard", we wrote of how Mr Dugard, another South African lawyer , has the improbable job description - according to the business card he handed over when we met him - of Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967". In less bombastic terms, his actual role was to look exclusively at one side of a multi-sided conflict.
Come to think of it, meeting him was good preparation for trying to make sense of Navi Pillay's depressing pronouncements.