When Canadian law professor William Schabas was exposed as having omitted a blatant conflict of interest in applying for a UN position, he abruptly resigned as head of the latest commission investigating Israeli “war crimes.” However, he did not slink away quietly in embarrassment, or apologize and ask for forgiveness.
Instead, as a political warrior, his strategy has been to counterattack and spin the discussion in a way that his image is changed from attacker to victim. Schabas is an intense ideologue, dedicated to radical causes in which hostility toward Israel is at the top of the agenda.
To divert attention from his ethical violations, Schabas’ primary response is to dress himself in the clothes of the victim of an Israeli-led conspiracy.
Schabas would do well to take a lesson from Judge Richard Goldstone, who preceded him as the UN’s chief accuser versus Israel. Goldstone did not lie on applications or hide conflicts of interest. His failure was due to naiveté and the ease with which the anti-Israel NGO network exploited his Jewish connections for promoting false accusations and modern blood libels. But to Goldstone’s credit, when he belatedly realized this, he renounced the report and has kept silent on these issues ever since. Schabas is far from naïve, but having been caught in the act, he would be well advised to keep quiet and begin to atone for his sins – as a “descendant of Jews,” he has seven months until Yom Kippur.