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By Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr Shimon Samuels

Geneva, 13 July 2023

On 10 July, during its 53rd session, the UN Human Rights Council, in Geneva, performed one of its favourite and infamous exercises - discussing Item 7 “human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT),” i.e. the singling out, demonization, defamation, delegitimation and application of double standards towards Israel.

The Special Rapporteur is Francesca Albanese, a lawyer, who professes “dedication, rigour and impartiality.”

Her report on Item 7 is a litany of inaccuracies and inconsistencies, that are tantamount to incitement to hatred. Ms. Albanese might be dedicated, but lacks rigour and is by no means impartial.

Some examples:

The report does not include the human rights violations of “Palestine” – concerning women’s rights, LGBT rights, religious minorities, freedom of speech, press or assembly, unlawful detention, summary trials and executions, extrajudicial killings, incitement of children to “martyrdom,” terrorist attacks or bombing of civilians, among others – de facto legitimizing terrorism, and justifying hate.

She laments Israel’s “criminalization of incitement”... as if incitement to violence meant “crushing any form of political speech and expression.” So, for Albanese, a mass of men and teenagers wielding Kalashnikovs, screaming “Death to the Jews!” is simply freedom of speech.

Her only mention of “terrorism” is to criticize Israel’s 2016 Counter-Terrorism Law, that includes NGOs affiliated to known terrorist syndicates.

Apparently, she has hardly ever set foot in Israel or witnessed first-hand the constant threat to its population – including Jews, Muslims, Christians, or other religious minorities – from organized criminal gangs of armed terrorists, supported and financed by rogue States, incited to hate and violence since their youth.

As also, the only form of cooperation mentioned is “...a nefarious cycle whereby Palestinians are first arrested – by the Palestinian Authority – and then, upon release, by the occupation forces...” There is no mention of any form of cooperation or partnerships between Palestinian and Israeli businesses or institutions, no mention of medical or humanitarian assistance. The exception, the spurious claims that Israel had prevented the anti-Coronavirus vaccine from reaching Palestinians.

Albanese repeats that all problems began in 1967, only just ten years before her date of birth... as if history began then and there. The UN Partition Plan was thirty years before her birth, Israel’s acceptance, the refusal of all neighbouring Arab countries, the consequent war that resulted in the consolidation of the Jewish State, from then on constantly attacked by terrorist gangs – from the PLO and the PFLP to, more recently, Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

In her report/verdict, Albanese uses the inaccurate words that have become the one-sided lexicon of the conflict (Apartheid, colonialism, occupation, blockade, political prisoners)...

These concepts are combined in new formulas that relay the same old mantra of demonization and delegitimation, if possible with even more emphasis, meant to satisfy the thirst for blood from the detractors of Israel and from the Jew-haters.

Ms. Albanese, who claims to be an “impartial rapporteur”, is in reality a lawyer for one party, the advocate of the “Palestinian cause”. As such, the Human Rights Council must hold her accountable. The legitimacy of this UN body and its Item 7 is jeopardized by a one-sided, prejudiced and bigoted report.

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