[Opinion] How the UN Report Shot Itself and Human Rights in the Foot
The report from the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on the 2014 Gaza conflict has no surprises: it is another pseudo-legal and immoral case of Israel-bashing. Like the discredited Goldstone Report and virtually every other UN “inquiry” on Israel, political NGOs (non-governmental organizations) provide the basis of the investigation and findings. In the UN report, NGOs appear on almost every page: B’Tselem is cited 69 times; Amnesty International, 53; Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), 50; and Human Rights Watch (HRW), 22. To anyone familiar with the political agendas of these NGOs, the UN’s latest “findings” – namely, condemnations of Israel – come as no surprise.
Like the NGO publications, the Commission of Inquiry report on the Gaza war is filled with unverifiable accusations based on the testimony of nameless witnesses. Although the Commission recognized that testimony from Gaza is unreliable, acknowledging “fears by Palestinian witnesses of reprisal by armed groups and local authorities,” in practice, the report relies extensively on such anonymous allegations.
The NGOs cited by the UNHRC also lack expertise and access to crucial information.
These and other unreliable claims are found throughout the report. But it is the prominence given to the notorious Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian doctor solicited as an “expert” on Gaza health, which discredits the UNHRC on a deeper level. Gilbert has a well-documented history of abusing his position as doctor to promote hate and conspiracy theories, and is known to have blamed the 9/11 terror attacks on the “policy that the West has led during the last decades,” asserting that “the oppressed also have a moral right to attack the USA with any weapon they can come up with.”
Gilbert is also associated with the highly politicized British NGO Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP). Exploiting medicine, MAP plays a central role in the demonization war, accusing Israel of “indiscriminate attacks” and “collective punishment.” MAP also promotes the “Nakba” narrative in order to delegitimize Israel’s very existence.
This latest UNHRC inquiry and report is only as reliable as its sources of information. When these are overwhelmingly unreliable political NGOs, as well as those who support and facilitate terrorism, any true champions of human rights cannot take its findings seriously.