Gerald Steinberg 2 (2)Click for complete article.


The UN Human Rights Council, many of whose state members are world champions in violating the moral principles the Council is obligated to protect, issued its Commission of Inquiry (COI) report on the 2014 Gaza War today. The eighth such attempt since 2002 to single out Israel as guilty of war crimes, this was the first replay since the discredited Goldstone document in 2009. This time, some lessons were learned, but any serious analysis of the COI would find it seriously flawed. At best, it is Goldstone lite, with little lasing impact; but at worst, it will accelerate the dirty political war begun at Durban 2001, seeking the “total international isolation of Israel.”

The COI is clearly written in two voices: the harsh ideological accusations of William Schabas, interspersed with the more reasonable caution of Mary McGowan Davis. This was expected—Schabas, the anti-Israel warrior originally selected by the UNHRC’s Islamic bloc majority, neglected to mention his paid job with the PLO, and was replaced after the research was completed by Judge Davis. But instead of throwing out the draft, she added and revised the original sporadically, leaving a fundamentally flawed document, drafted by the same UN-based staffers.

As a result, the report is premised on the immoral and absurd equivalence and parallelism between a terrorist group (Hamas) and a democratic state under attack (Israel).

Another major flaw that remained was the heavy reliance on highly political non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with façades of “expertise” without the substance. This NGO network is deeply entrenched in the UN structure, and visible on almost every page.

In this destructive process, the European government backers of the political NGOs that lobbied for this report and from which it was largely constructed must be held accountable. (Most of the Israeli NGOs are part of the New Israel Fund’s network, including B’tselem, Breaking the Silence, PHR-I, etc.)

The bottom line is that Schabas, McGowan Davis, and the UN staffers produced another destructive but substantively empty shell—a compilation of rumors and accusations, as in the case of Goldstone and all the preceding UNHRC reports on Israel. And like Amnesty International, B’tselem, PCHR, Human Rights Watch, and many others in the NGO network that are quoted on these pages, they simply do not know what happened.