It is really unfortunate that, when they were being marched to the gas chambers, the Jewish victims of Nazi aggression did not contemplate the effect their deaths would have on the German death-camp guards. Certainly, they are guilty of not having found some way to protect the Nazis from the psychological consequences of being compelled to murder large numbers of human beings.
Sound absurd? That is the pristine logic of the UN’s High Commissioner on Human Rights, Navi Pillay, whose term just expired. Her swan song was to accuse both Israel and the United States of human rights violations for not providing the terrorists in Gaza with their own Iron Dome that would neutralize the Israeli response to Hamas’ aggression.
This is not Pillay’s first foray into anti-Israel behavior.
In 2008, just one day after Israel began its military operations into Gaza to defend its civilian population against Hamas’ rockets, Pillay did not hesitate to condemn Israel and call for an investigation into its “egregious war crimes.” Pillay did not utter a word about Hamas raining random death from the skies on Israel.
Months later, Pillay established what has become known as the infamous Goldstone commission, headed by fellow South African jurist Richard Goldstone. Every member of the commission, including Goldstone himself, had already announced Israel’s guilt before looking at a shred of evidence.
It was as if a prosecutor had been able to empanel a jury made up of people who during the process of “voir dire” had announced their commitment to the defendant’s guilt.
A careerist aspiring to higher office in the UN, Goldstone, who had served as a jurist in the Apartheid government of South Africa, had no qualms about issuing a blood libel against Israel. Goldstone claimed that Israel had not set out to protect its population from Hamas rockets but was really interested in killing Palestinians.
Hamas’ Israeli victims do not appear in Goldstone’s crude calculus.
Eventually, the Apartheid jurist found a modicum of conscience and repudiated his own report, but by then the damage was done. In fact, Pillay had created another committee to oversee Israel’s implementation of the vile report. The Saudi and Libyan members of the Human Rights Commission must have been salivating over the diplomatic victories Pillay was giving them.
Mouthing the words “independence” and “transparency,” Pillay put her cronies on the second commission. Pillay’s ultimate goal was to use the second commission to charge Israeli leaders with war crimes while ignoring Hamas’ firing of rockets from heavily populated areas into other heavily populated areas. Of all the battles waging in the world, of all the real war crimes being committed, Pillay was obsessed with one country: Israel.
When Richard Falk, Pillay’s permanent investigator of Israel’s violations of international law (the position itself speaks volumes) published a despicable anti-Semitic cartoon, the British government roundly condemned Falk and called upon other Western democracies to do the same. Pillay’s initial reaction, however, was to rise to Falk’s defense, claiming that Falk was only answerable to member states, and in this way, she sanctioned his grotesque behavior.
Only after international public outrage and the Obama administration’s calls for Falk’s removal did Pillay condemn the action; however, she was quick to accept Falk’s apology as sufficient penance for him to retain his position.
Throughout her term, Pillay remained committed to showcasing the Goldstone report, seeking to promulgate its false accusations wherever it could find an audience. Her anti-Semitism was revealed in her support of the Durban meetings on racism, where once again, only one country was condemned for racism, Israel.
When the murderer of gays and erstwhile twenty-first century Hitler, Iranian President Amedinejad, took the stage at Durban II, Pillay did not join the Western leaders in walking out. Although Pillay criticized Amedinejad’s speech, she managed to find moral equivalence between the purveyor of racism and those who walked out on him.
Pillay’s finest moment was seeking to investigate the events surrounding the killing of Osama bin Laden, becoming obsessed with finding a way to prosecute Americans for crimes under international law for not further risking the lives of Navy SEALs to take the mass murderer alive.
To add insult to potential injury, such an investigation would be courtesy of the American taxpayer, who pays for almost a quarter of the UN annual budget.
Pillay represents the UN at its worst, a manipulation of the international legal system for the promotion of personal ideology, with total disregard for any notion of justice. She will not be missed.
Abraham H. Miller is an emeritus professor of political science, University of Cincinnati. He also served on the faculty of the University of California, Davis and the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.