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Imagine: You’re on trial and you discover the judge appointed to hear the case has already decided you are guilty and has a long history of publicly saying so. That appears to be the UN Human Rights Council approach to justice when it comes to one particular country. They seem to do a variation of the old trick of saying ‘We will hold a free and open trial and at the end of it we will find you guilty’.

The council’s first choice to become the new Special Rapporteur on the Palestinian territories is criminologist Penny Green. She is a professor of law and globalisation at Queen Mary University of London.

Professor Green’s views on Israel are not unique. She is on record as saying that Israel has a “criminal government”, and she believes it is “time to stand up against Israeli state violence”. She supports the total boycott of Israel, wants Hamas de-listed as a terrorist organisation, and has wondered why the British and Americans have not begun “bombing Israel for its massacres”.

OpinionSmallSo far, so routine in the extremist-mainstream. To her credit, Ms Green, unlike so many “human rights activists”, stands up against abuses around the world and not just in one small part of it. She does, however, display an unhealthy obsession with the same place that others obsess over – Israel.

She is entitled to her opinion. However, surely anyone, even if they supported these views, might understand that holding them disqualifies you from impartially judging the behaviour of one of many parties involved in the situation.

She supports the total boycott of Israel

Example – a Green tweet: “Israeli extra-judicial killing in Palestinian hospital”. It may or may not have been an extra-judicial killing, but the tweet, after the event, but before an investigation, is not that of a sober, fair-minded legal representative of the UN acting on our behalf. It is closer to a student activist unaware, and possibly uncaring, of the complexities of a conflict.

The Rapporteur’s job as mandated by a 1993 resolution is not to investigate all human rights abuses in Palestine, but only “Israel’s violations”. However, the UN told me that that subsequent procedural changes do not make this stipulation and therefore “it would be perfectly conceivable for a mandate holder to interpret the mandate in a proactive manner… In short, this does not restrict the mandate holder from investigating Palestinian violations as well”.

In the past eight years of 36 statements and reports by the Rapporteur, all 36 have only criticised Israel. No other conflict is investigated by the UN in this twisted manner.

Even if you left that ludicrous prejudice to one side, there would still be a problem. The UNHCR’s own rules state that when selecting a candidate, impartiality and objectivity is of “paramount importance”.UNflag

The council’s first choice should not be a surprise. The incumbent in the job is from Indonesia, a country that does not accept the right of one side in the conflict to exist. His predecessor was a 9/11 conspiracy theorist.

The council’s chair normally accepts the candidate recommendation. This is planned to happen on March 24. If a fuss is made, perhaps the compromise could be the second choice, a Canadian lawyer called Michael Lynk, whose views on Israel are… embarrassingly similar to those of Prof Green.

It is possible the council’s due diligence staff do not have access to the internet or a telephone and so are unaware of the candidate’s views and cannot see a problem. The only other explanation is that they do not care.

Professor Green did not reply to a request for comment; for its part the UNHCR would only discuss the appointment process, not the individuals concerned.

Adapted from an article first published in the UK’s JC newspaper


5 Comments on "Israel; Human Rights and UN Wrongs"

  1. As ever. Insight honed in like a laser on a disturbing backdrop.

  2. mahatmacoatmabag | 18th March 2016 at 3:30 pm | Reply

    The only thing the United Nations are united over is their pathological hatred of Israel.

  3. Peter Kennedy | 18th March 2016 at 8:02 pm | Reply

    Could the UN, any branch of the UN, solve the Israel/Palestinian crisis? Personally I doubt it because it would be difficult if not impossible to find anyone neutral to put in charge. The situation that Tim Marshall reveals is alarming but I suspect that someone, some country, is pulling the strings.

    They don’t need criminologists, they don’t need rich lawyers like Tony Blair who as Middle East envoy had little if any success, the Middle East needs someone who can bang heads together and get people talking instead of killing each other.

  4. Peter good question.
    Real permanent peace need real brave statesmen who can take tough decisions, make the painful compromises and sacrifices. Such men are rare and have passed away. (Think Begin, Rabin, Sadat, King Hussein).

  5. Paul Corrick | 6th April 2016 at 2:10 pm | Reply

    The UN is an absurd amoral body. You have countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan who regularly sit on UN Human rights committees!! According to UN watch, recently Qatar which uses foreign migrants as slaves, accused Israel of “racism”!! Dictatorships like Iran, China, Venezuela, Bolivia, Pakistan, Egypt, Eritrea, North Korea & Russia all regularly condemn Israel whilst ignoring real human rights abuses by themselves and their neighbours. It is very troubling that these Anti-Western Countries can hijack the UN and use Israel as a smokescreen to attack the one Democracy in the Middle East and hide their own abuses from scrutiny and condemnation. Have they become the Useless Nations?

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