Canadian UN envoy ‘concerned’ about UN investigation of Israel

Bob Rae shares B’nai Brith Canada’s concerns regarding the UN investigation into Israel’s actions regarding the Palestinians.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The Canadian ambassador to the UN says his country is “concerned” by several aspects of the newly established commission investigating Israel at the body’s Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

Responding to a request for help by B’nai Brith Canada to reform the UNHRC and remove Navi Pillay from the chairmanship of its “Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territories,” Ambassador Bob Rae wrote, “Canada shares some of the concerns expressed in your letter… regarding the Commission’s scope, unprecedented ongoing nature, and budget in numerous settings.”

The commission was established after Israel launched an 11-day operation against Hamas last May, responding to rockets being launched from Gaza into Israel.

Ignoring the reason for Israel’s actions, the UNHRC decided to investigate alleged abuses against Palestinians.

The international body is notorious for having only Israel as a permanent agenda item. Meanwhile, among the Human Rights Council’s 47 members are countries known for their human rights abuses, including China, Cuba, Eritrea, Pakistan, Venezuela and Libya.

B’nai Brith’s appeal followed a tweet by Rae indicating an openness to expel the Russian Federation as a member of the UNHRC, due to its brutal invasion of Ukraine.

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Israel announced in February that it would not cooperate with the commission.

“There is simply no reason to believe that Israel will receive reasonable, equitable and non-discriminatory treatment from the Council, or from this Commission of Inquiry,” stated Meirav Eilon Shahar, Israel’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva.

The chairwoman of the commission, Navi Pillay, is considered equally problematic UN Watch, an independent, non-governmental organization that monitors the international body, issued a 30-page complaint in February that documented dozens of anti-Israel statements the former UN human rights chief has made. The NGO’s long-time head, Hillel Neuer, wrote that Pillay should resign “immediately,” as “the legal test is the appearance of bias, and there’s no doubt that Pillay fails the test.”

The Canadian Jewish organization also came out vociferously against Pillay.

“B’nai Brith finds it beyond belief that the UNHRC could appoint Navi Pillay as a supposedly impartial chair for this inquiry when she has for years been accusing Israel of just about every crime possible,” said Marvin Rotrand, B’nai Brith’s director of its League for Human Rights.

“In fact, she admits to having signed a petition to boycott Israel. Jurists are supposed to embody impeccable impartiality. Even a hint of bias should be enough to cause an honorable jurist to recuse herself,” he added.