Commissioner Pillay in Region – Must End Anti-Israel Bias and False Reports

JERUSALEM – As the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay has contributed significantly to the exploitation of human rights principles, says NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based research institution.  Her visit to the region is an opportunity to highlight Pillay’s role in implementing the 2001 Durban strategy of abusing human rights claims to demonize and isolate Israel, a strategy developed at the 2001 Durban Conference.  In addition to presiding over the capture of the UN’s human rights framework by chronic abusers, Pillay has extended the UN Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) alliance with biased non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that lead this coordinated campaign against Israel.

“UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay leads the network of abusive regimes, allied with NGOs and UN appointees, that distort and misuse human rights rhetoric for their own ideological agendas, at the expense of those whose rights are abused daily,” says Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor.  “Under Commissioner Pillay, the UNHRC has been complicit with the abusive regimes in Egypt, Tunisia, Syria and elsewhere, in ignoring their systematic violations while focusing its resources on attacking Israel. She has also extended the alliance with the influential anti-human rights NGO network.”

Steinberg continues, “This NGO-UNHRC alliance was particularly active in white-washing the Hamas attacks against Israel that led to the Gaza conflict at the end of December 2008, as well as the biased claims of Israeli ‘war crimes.’ Pillay’s office is responsible for providing assistance to Richard Falk, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian Human Rights, and for Richard Goldstone’s one-sided pseudo ‘investigation’ of the Gaza conflict, which relied largely on the false and unverifiable claims provided by NGOs. On this basis, Goldstone and others have promoted lawfare campaigns against Israeli officials, including through the International Criminal Court.”

In its August 10, 2009 report “Human Rights Situation in Palestine and Other Occupied Arab Territories,” the precursor to the Goldstone report, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) heavily relied on allegations from political advocacy NGOs such as Human Rights Watch (HRW), Amnesty International (AI) and Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) — groups with a clear record of unverifiable and false reports on Israel.

HRW’s Middle East division is headed by anti-Israel activists, and AI is one of the leading promoters of these campaigns – AI supports Ameer Makhoul, an NGO official who admitted spying for Hezbollah, and last year Frank Johansson of Amnesty-Finland referred to Israel as a “scum state” on his blog.

PCHR refers to terror attacks against Israeli civilians as “resistance,” and doctored its casualty claims from the Gaza War to include many senior Hamas military figures as civilians. (These false claims were repeated without question in Goldstone’s “report”.)  The central role of these groups in UNHRC’s activities and publications is entirely inconsistent with the moral objectives claimed by this framework, under the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Similarly, NGO Monitor notes that Commissioner Pillay released a statement immediately after the violent May 31, 2010 “flotilla incident” that again repeated NGO claims. The “Free Gaza” violence involved the IHH, a Turkish-based organization linked to Hamas and other terrorist groups, as well as the ISM, whose incitement against Israel is also well documented.

“Commissioner Pillay’s statement regarding the Flotilla incident presented a clearly false and biased version,” Steinberg adds.  “No attempt was made to present information about the links to terror, the political and public relations motives, or pre-meditated violence used by the participants.”

“The UN OHCHR uses universal human rights as a façade to pursue an anti-Israel agenda, working closely with the repressive and authoritarian regimes that dominate the UN Human Rights Council and their NGO allies, while ignoring the real human rights tragedies throughout the world,” says Steinberg.  “These actions and statements must end in order to restore credibility to the UN OHCHR.”