The UN must dismiss its 'Special Rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territories’

Francesca Albanese is incapable of calling out terrorism against Israel

April 24, 2023 12:27

On 7 April, three members of the British-Israeli Dee family, Rina (15), her sister Maia (20) and their mother Lucy (48) were travelling through the Jordan Valley when a Palestinian terrorist ambushed them, raining down over 20 bullets at their car and murdering these three precious souls.

Speaking at the funeral of his daughters, their father, Rabbi Leo Dee, faced with unimaginable grief, said Maia and Rina were “two flames who have not gone out, but will only bring more light to the world.” The next day, Rabbi Dee buried their mother, and his wife, Lucy.

Writing to Rabbi Dee, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly stated “there can be no justification for such senseless and abhorrent violence, and I unequivocally condemn this act of terrorism.”

Yet, according to Francesca Albanese, the ‘UN Special Rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territories’, apparently there is a sense of twisted justification for such heinous massacre of the Dee family.

Immediately after the brutal murders, Ms. Albanese tweeted “Israel has a right to defend itself, but can't claim it when it comes to the people it oppresses/whose lands it colonizes.”

In other words, Ms. Albanese means Israel has no right to defend itself against Palestinian terrorism, depending on which side of the supposed ‘green line’ its citizens are. Only in the Orwellian world of the United Nations, could a senior official put forward such a warped proposition justifying the murder of Jews.

Perhaps Ms. Albanese, who is meant to be an expert in international law, needs a slight refresher, but intentionally targeting civilians, irrespective of their geographic location, is a war crime and wrong under any circumstances. There is no equivocation here.

However, this is just the latest in Ms. Albanese’s long history of relentless, systematic and visceral bias against Israel.

In 2014, Ms. Albanese told the BBC that “the Israel lobby is clearly inside your veins”. She used another age-old antisemitic trope in claiming that America was “subjugated by the Jewish lobby”. Albanese has also compared Israelis to Nazis, expressed support for the global campaign to boycott Israel and accused the Jewish state of the heinous crimes of apartheid, genocide and war crimes.

You will also be hard pressed to find a single occasion where Ms. Albanese has ever unequivocally condemned Palestinian terror, whereas she has repeatedly excused and even encouraged Palestinian violence. In November 2022, she even addressed a Hamas conference in Gaza, instructing them “you have the right to resist.” Hamas is designated by UK as a terrorist group.

The situation became so untenable that, in February this year, a bi-partisan group of Members of Congress wrote to the Secretary General and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, calling for Ms. Albanese’s immediate dismissal, on the basis of her incessant antisemitism and anti-Israel bias, noting “her inexcusable silence against terrorism targeting Israelis and her outrageous and prejudicial remarks clearly reflect the irredeemable bias of her mandate.”

It is also noteworthy that, pursuant to the UN's own Code of Conduct for Special Rapporteurs, the Rapporteurs work shall be guided by the notions of “impartiality and objectivity”. When it comes to Ms. Albanese, there is not even the pretext of these values, with an unadulterated display of persistent, ongoing and blind bias and hostility.

The UN Charter itself demands equal treatment of all Member States, yet Ms. Albanese seems to believe that the one and only Jewish state is not entitled to the same inalienable right to self-defense, afforded to all other countries.

This begs the question, how much longer can the United Nations tolerate this, and for this matter, the British government also, which has remained conspicuously silent with respect to Albanese.

The United Kingdom, and this government particularly, have been one of the leading voices speaking out against the scourge of antisemitism and are a central force in the United Nations, sitting also as a Permanent Member of the UN Security Council.

It is incumbent, therefore, on the Foreign Office to ensure that the UN lives up to its own rules and standards, and to send a clear message that antisemitism and such obscene endorsement of violence against Israelis will not be tolerated at the UN, by demanding Ms. Albanese’s immediate dismissal and abolishing her one-sided mandate altogether.

The Dee family deserves at least this much.

Arsen Ostrovsky is a human rights lawyer and CEO of The International Legal Forum. You can also follow him on Twitter: @Ostrov_A.

April 24, 2023 12:27

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