Biden pick to key State Department position another long-time Israel critic

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has used Covid-19 fears to shut down Israeli courts,” Margon wrote.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

President Joe Biden’s top pick for a prominent human rights position at the State Department is a progressive who’s publicly slammed Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in recent years.

Sarah Margon, who currently serves as foreign policy director at the Open Society Foundation, is expected to be tapped for assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights, and labor, Foreign Policy reported Wednesday.

In March 2020, Margon penned an op-ed for Just Security accusing Netanyahu of using the coronavirus pandemic for political gain.

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose hardline leadership has been threatened by multiple elections and multiple corruption scandals, has used Covid-19 fears to shut down Israeli courts,” she wrote.

“Shutting down the court appears unnecessary, except that Netanyahu can benefit politically: his trial for bribery and fraud – scheduled to begin a day after he closed the courts – is now postponed.”

The former Washington director at Human Rights Watch, Margon rallied 17 Democratic lawmakers to sign a letter calling on the Israeli government to stop the deportation of Omar Shakir.

Shakir, a Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) advocate who was the director of Human Rights Watch in Israel and the Palestinian territories, was denied a visa extension after a change in Israeli law aimed at keeping out BDS activists.

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In a May 2019 interview with the Washington Post, Margon complained that Netanyahu and other Israeli senior government officials did not intervene in the Israeli Supreme Court decision to deport Shakir.

“Taking a stronger or more vocal stance on Omar’s likely deportation would run up against their policy of having no daylight between the Trump administration and Prime Minister Netanyahu,” Margon told the Post.

“It’s unfortunate because in doing that, they are really allowing the growing democratic deficit to go forward without comment.”

After Shakir was deported in November 2019, Margon tweeted, “Where is the US on the ouster of my colleague @OmarSShakir from Israel? Virtually silent, just like on the Israeli security forces’ disproportionate attacks on Palestinians in Gaza.”

She followed up with a tweet adding that “Israel now joins the ranks of repressive govts like Egypt & Bahrain & Iran to boot or restrict access for @hrw [Human Rights Watch.]”

In December 2019, Margon, who is Jewish, tweeted, “…being Jewish is not decided by political preference or how you live your life or how much you support Israel.”

Watchdog group NGO Monitor has noted that Human Rights Watch issues disproportionate condemnation of Israel with its allegations that the Jewish State commits “war crimes,” “[s]erious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law,” “collective punishment,” and fosters a “culture of impunity.”