Thousands of lawyers have called for the dismissal of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Francesca Albanese, after she claimed the October 7 massacres were not the result of Jew-hate but a “response to Israel’s oppression”.
Albanese made the remark in response to French President Emmanuel Macron’s statement last week that October 7 was “the largest antisemitic massacre of our century”.
She wrote: “The ‘worst antisemitic massacre of our century? No, Mr President. The victims of 7/10 were killed not because of their Judaism, but in response to Israel’s oppression,”
Le 'plus grand massacre antisémite de notre siècle'? Non, M. @EmmanuelMacron. Les victimes du 7/10 n'ont pas été tuées à cause de leur judaïsme, mais en réaction de l'oppression d'Israël. La France & la communauté int'le n'ont rien fait pour l'empêcher. Mes respects aux victimes. https://t.co/uiXOkD7HV4— Francesca Albanese, UN Special Rapporteur oPt (@FranceskAlbs) February 10, 2024
The International Legal Forum, a global network of over 4,000 lawyers, has now called for her dismissal in a letter addressed to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
The letter accuses Albanese of “justifying the mass-murder, rape, torture and abduction of Israelis, including women and children” in an “abhorrent, unconscionable, and inexcusable” remark.
It says Albanese’s claim of October 7 not being an antisemitic attack is “patently false” and draws attention to Hamas’s own charter which openly “calls for the genocide of Jews.”
The letter reads: “You yourself Mr Secretary-General have repeatedly said there can be ‘no justification’ for the abhorrent crimes of Hamas. Yet here is an official, acting on behalf of the United Nations, seeking to do precisely that,”
The letter, dated February 12 and signed by the group’s CEO, Arsen Ostrovsky, also accuses Albanese of having “quite a track-record of engaging in relentless antisemitism, Holocaust distortion and unhinged bias against Israel,” while engaging in “age-old antisemitic tropes.”
The French Foreign Ministry condemned Albanese’s comments on social media, saying: “The October 7 massacre is the largest antisemitic massacre of the 21st century. Disputing it is an error. Seeming to justify it by including the name of the United Nations is a disgrace.”
The German Foreign Ministry too said that “making such statements in a UN capacity is a disgrace and goes against everything the United Nations stands for.”
The letter accuses Albanese of harbouring “not even the pretext” of impartiality and objectivity, two notions which should guide the work of Rapporteurs under the UN Code of Conduct for Special Rapporteurs.
The letter ends, “Enough is enough, Mr Secretary-General. We call on you to ensure that the UN lives up to its own rules and standards, and to send a clear message that antisemitism and endorsement of violence will not be tolerated at the United Nations, by dismissing Ms. Albanese and abolishing her position entirely.”
Francesca Albanese, appointed to the role in May 2022, has in the past accused Israel of being a “settler colonial conquest” and described American opinion of the Israel-Palestinian conflict as “subjugated by the Jewish lobby”. She has also appeared on a Hezbollah-affiliated TV channel and spoken at a Hamas conference.
2/3 Today’s violence must be put in context. Almost six decades of hostile military rule over an entire civilian population (incomprehensibly ignored by too many official statements & media outlets) are in themselves an aggression, and the recipe for more insecurity for all.— Francesca Albanese, UN Special Rapporteur oPt (@FranceskAlbs) October 7, 2023
On the day of the October 7 massacre, she tweeted that the “violence must be put in context.”
The United Nations was approached for comment.