U.N. commissioner targets Israel again

That the United Nations is hostile to Israel hardly comes as a surprise. The perfidy that permeates the house over which Kurt Waldheim once presided can be cut with a knife; Israel bashing has become an integral part of the culture of that body.

Such duplicity does not appear from thin air — it must be nurtured and stoked by individuals who, by dint of impressive titles, can command international attention and influence public opinion and thus cause much mischief.

That is particularly apparent today in Louise Arbour, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights. Previously a member of the Supreme Court of Canada and a war crimes prosecutor at the Hague, Arbour harbors longstanding and unabashed hostility toward the Jewish state — sometimes couched in disingenuous legal analysis. She is a prime example of why Israel can’t get a fair shake along the East River.

I first heard of Arbour years ago when, while on the Ontario Supreme Court, she made headlines and drew strong criticism from the Jewish community by being instrumental in tossing out charges brought against Imre Finta, a Hungarian gendarme against whom there was overwhelming evidence of his role in the mass deportation of Jews. That ruling effectively gutted Canada’s effort to bring criminal cases against alleged war criminals.

In her current incarnation, Arbour has been nothing short of a cheerleader for Israel bashers. Her most recent display of animus toward the Jewish state takes the form of gushing praise for the Arab Charter on Human Rights. While this oxymoronic document pays lip service to a laundry list of human and political rights, it leaves no doubt about its intent in its preamble, where the 22 members of the League of Arab States stand on Israel and Jews, by “rejecting racism and Zionism, which constitute a violation of human rights and pose a threat to world peace …” So sinister is Zionism, that Article I admonishes the Arab states to “endeavor to eliminate” it.

One would have expected the high commissioner to reject any charter that unabashedly clings to such rubbish; to praise any document that includes it is unthinkable. How then does one explain that 17 years after the U.N. finally discarded the infamous “Zionism is racism” resolution, its chief human rights officer endorses a document that resurrects that blasphemy?

Apparently, Arbour not only finds nothing wrong with this clarion call to complete the Nazis’ Final Solution, but she applauds the document as an “important step forward.”

When challenged, Arbour offered the typically disingenuous explanation one would expect from a U.N. official: “To the extent that the charter equates Zionism with racism,” it does not conform with U.N. policy and she does not endorse the inconsistency. Who does she think she’s kidding? This

doesn’t pass the red face test; that it comes from someone who sat on the highest court in Canada is utterly mind-boggling.

Arbour can’t be bothered with silly insults and threats to Jews and Israel. After all, the Arabs have seen the light and endorsed a package of human

rights. What a magnificent achievement for the high commissioner even though she must know what anyone who reads the newspapers knows full well: The Arabs never have practiced what the charter preaches — except, of course, for the part about wanting to eradicate Zionists.

Arbour has also chimed in on the Gaza situation, blasting Israel for causing a humanitarian crisis by meting out “collective punishment” by reducing electricity and imports into Gaza. She made only passing reference to the suffering in Sderot and Ashkelon.

Do the sanctions impose hardships on Gaza residents who, let’s not forget, chose a terrorist group as its governing body? Of course they do, but far from the extent portrayed by the Hamas government and a subservient media, just as any nation’s lawful economic pressures burden those living under targeted oppressive regimes. Economic sanctions — such as those imposed against Iran, Libya, North Korea and apartheid South Africa — have long been recognized as legitimate means, short of war, to pressure governments to change odious behavior.

All but the blind and dedicated Israel haters can see that Hamas, by its indiscriminate shelling of civilians in southern Israel, has engaged in crimes against humanity, and is directly responsible for the suffering of its constituents in Gaza.

The nauseatingly predictable knee-jerk reactions from Arbour and the “human rights” community make clear that hypocrisy rules the day at the U.N. Anyone who wonders why the U.N. is held in such low repute in the United States can start in Arbour’s office.

Neal Sher is a former executive director of AIPAC. He can be reached at [email protected].