Jerusalem – On August 11, 2014, the UN Human Rights Council appointed William Schabas, a Canadian Professor, to head the latest “inquiry” on alleged human rights violations in the Gaza conflict.
Prof. Schabas’s record is riddled with anti-Israel biases, including repeated calls for prosecuting Israeli officials for alleged “war crimes” at the International Criminal Court. He has also served as legal counsel to Amnesty International’s Ireland branch, which has consistently shown a deep hostility toward Israel. Amnesty Ireland has repeated calls for an arms embargo on “both sides” (July 14, 2014), denying Israel the right to defense against terror, and comparing legitimate Israeli responses to the aggression of Hamas. On August 6, 2014, its activists marched on the streets of Dublin demanding that the US “stop arming Israel.”
Shawan Jabarin is an alleged senior PFLP activist and director of Al Haq, an NGO centrally involved in the lawfare strategy of attacking Israel by exploiting international judicial frameworks. In a 2009 blog post Schabas wrote: “Shawan Jabarin, the director of Al Haq… has been refused the right to leave the Occupied Territory to travel to the Netherlands to receive the Guezen Medal, on behalf of his organizations… Shawan is a great friend of the Irish Centre for Human Rights….” In a 2010 blog post entitled: “Shawan Jabarin and Canada’s Rights and Democracy“, Schabas refers to Shawan Jabarin as “my dear friend”.
Schabas has participated in a number of Al Haq conferences. In July 2012, Schabas participated in a conference organized by Al Haq and Diakonia entitled: “Annexation Wall: Lessons Learned and Future Strategy“. In November 2005, Schabas participated in an Al Haq panel entitled: “From Theory to Practice: Upholding International Humanitarian Law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”
Schabas has also defended Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadenijad, stating that his repeated calls to “wipe Israel off the map,” do not constitute a “call for genocide,” but are simply “political views.” He also defended Human Rights Watch and its director Kenneth Roth for neglecting to take any action on this issue, despite criticism leveled at the organization for ignoring Iran’s incitement to genocide.
Schabas also authored the foreword of a volume entitled “Is there a court for Gaza: A Test Bench for International Justice,” in which he endorsed the discredited 2009 Goldstone report, and repeated his call for ICC prosecution of Israelis.
Schabas’s biases were particularly evident during the “Russell Tribunal on Palestine,” (RToP) session in October 2012. The tribunal was widely recognized as a “kangaroo court,” labeling Israel as an “apartheid state,” as part of the 2001 Durban strategy of demonization. During this event, Schabas stated his desire to see Prime Minister Netanyahu stand before the International Criminal Court (ICC). He then explained this as relating to the January 2009 Gaza conflict, during which Ehud Olmert, and not Netanyahu, was Prime Minister.
Schabas’s decision to participate in the RToP demonstrates the depth of his hostility toward Israel and his willingness to exploit a pseudo-judicial framework in order to advance this goal. RToP consisted of “jurors” and “witnesses”- all of whom with extensive histories of Israel-bashing, including Schabas.
Among other aspects shown in NGO Monitor’s extensive research, we found that:
- “Jurors” for the New York session, in which Schabas participated, included Cynthia McKinney, a former member of the US Congress and “9/11 Truther”. McKinney claimed that President Bush had advance knowledge of the September 11 attacks. McKinney also failed to distance herself from her father’s assertions that her 2002 election defeat was because “Jews have bought everybody. Jews. J-e-w-s“.
- The 24 “witnesses” who participated in the tribunal included Shawan Jabarin; Israeli MK Haneen Zoabi, who declared that “I would say, there was no justification for Zionist projects and to have a Jewish state in my homeland”; Alice Walker, who narrated a documentary film about Israel entitled “Roadmap to Apartheid“; Ronnie Kasrils, who published an op-ed entitled “Israel 2007:Worse than Apartheid“; José Antonio Martín Pallín, who stated, “Everyone knows that the State of Israel is an artificial ad hoc creation” (translated from original Catalan); Maired Maguire, a participant in the May 2010 Free Gaza flotilla, who told the Israeli High Court that “Israel must stop its apartheid policy“; and Cynthia McKinney, a prominent “9/11 Truther” who blamed her electoral loss on “the Israel lobby” (video, 6:50).
NGO Monitor strongly condemns the appointment of Schabas based on his history and participation in the hate-filled RToP. NGO Monitor calls on all UN member states to demand his immediate dismissal.