Tuesday, February 17, 2015

  • Tuesday, February 17, 2015
  • Elder of Ziyon
Fanatical Israel-hater Richard Falk interviews another Israel-hater, William Schabas, as they commiserate over how unfair it is that Schabas' bias derailed his heading his pulpit to demonize Israel.

Schabas proves his unsuitability by pretending that his hiding of his financial deal with the PLO is no problem, and that its exposure is the real crime:
Falk: Were you not aware when you were approached that these issues of supposed ‘conflict of interest’ would be used to challenge your credibility in a defamatory manner? Was the decisive factor the unanticipated response of the President of the Human Rights Council to the contention about your consultancy with the PLO on Palestinian statehood?

Schabas: There had been calls for me to resign from the moment I accepted the mandate in early August 2014. I did not ignore them but I concluded that they were not substantial. I do not think that I was biased or that there was a reasonable apprehension of bias. The allegation about the legal opinion I delivered to the PLO in October 2012 only emerged in late January. It seems the Israeli ambassador raised this informally with the President of the Human Rights Council who then drew it to my attention and asked me to explain, which I did. Subsequently, Israel made a formal complaint. The President proposed that legal advice from the United Nations in New York be requested in order to determine the procedure to follow in examining the complaint. The five-member Bureau of the Council agreed to this. Within minutes of its decision, I submitted my resignation.

There was no "allegation," Schabas admits that he was paid by the PLO for legal work. He says it "only emerged in late January" - which means that he knowingly withheld that information. And he argues that he is the wronged party here.

But this part of the interview is far more damning:

Falk: In retrospect, do you find any substance to the charges of bias or conflict of interest? How can one be both an expert on this subject-matter and not have some pre-existing opinions? Should not the proper test be one of professionalism and objectivity with respect to the evidence and applicable law? For instance, would a person who had been critical of Nazism or apartheid be rendered unfit to investigate allegations of crimes against humanity or racism?
Schabas: ...Your reference to a person with views on Nazism is of interest because this was precisely the argument raised by Eichmann against the Israeli judges. There was never any suggestion that the three judges, all of them German Jews, did not have strong views about the Holocaust. It was assumed that they did. How could that not be the case? The Supreme Court of Israel ruled that professional judges would set aside their opinions and judge in an impartial manner.
This comparison is obscene. Eichamann's lawyer didn't accuse the judges of partiality based on any specific statements any of them made about Eichmann or the Holocaust - he just said that they were biased because they were Jews.

Furthermore, the Israeli justice system has rules and legal procedures to help ensure impartiality during a trial. There is a framework in place. The Eichmann trial was public so anyone could see if the judges were acting unprofessionally. Eichmann had a lawyer and any bias during the trial would be public record.

But for the UNHRC commissions of inquiry, Schabas makes his own rules. His "trial" - which is what it is - is conducted in secret. Israel doesn't have a lawyer defending it in the UNHRC commission. The entire process is a black box selected facts and accusations enter and a report is the result. We have no idea what evidence is accepted and what is dismissed, which testimony is considered reliable and which is belittled. There is every opportunity for members of the commission to inject bias in every step of the process. Their protests that they can "set aside" their biases are meaningless because there are no checks and balances.

It is most telling that both Falk and Schabas enthusiastically embrace a false equivalence of Israel and Nazi war criminals. Schabas doesn't even inject the mildest caveat that there is no comparison between the two.

Which tells you all you need to know about his utter unsuitability to chair a supposedly impartial commission.

(h/t Anne)




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