The United Nations must fire "proven anti-Zionist and antisemite" Francesca Albanese, who serves as the UN's special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) said on Wednesday.
In a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, SWC's Rabbi Abraham Cooper and Rabbi Eric J. Greenberg wrote that it "is an outrage to allow a proven anti-Zionist and antisemite to head the UN Human Rights Council’s already biased investigation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"Albanese must be removed, and the Human Rights Council’s biased witch hunt against Israel must be dismantled if the UN hopes to retain credibility," they added.
Albanese, whose initial appointment in April earlier this year was denounced by Israel after the Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Meirav Eilon Shahar claimed she "compared the Holocaust to the Nakba and advocates for the de-facto destruction of the nation-state of the Jewish people."
SWC's statement came following a scathing attack on the Italian legal expert by the Israeli mission to Geneva, who on Wednesday called on the United Nations to stop turning a blind eye to UN officials, including Albanese, who use the antisemitic phrase the “Jewish Lobby.”
In a 2014 Facebook post, she wrote “America and Europe, one of them subjugated by the Jewish Lobby, and the other by the sense of guilt about the Holocaust remain on the sidelines.”
Antisemitic comments made by UN envoy Albanese
The Israelis further claimed that Albanese had made a number of other “alarming” statements, including dismissing “Israeli security concerns as paranoia,” talking about “Israel’s greed” and comparing Israeli action to that of the Nazis. In the past, she has said that “it is very convenient” to charge critics of Israel with antisemitism, the Israeli mission to the UN in Geneva added.
Earlier in December, it was reported that Albanese, along with UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland, could face Israeli sanctions following statements viewed in Jerusalem as sympathizing with Palestinian terrorists. The rapporteur tweeted at the time that she was “going to Amman for my first official non-visit to the occupied Palestinian territory,” meaning, her plan was to meet with Palestinians in Jordan.
According to Yediot Aharonot, Israel has also mulled banning her from the West Bank, as it has done for her predecessors Michael Lynk and Richard Falk.
"How Albanese was ever allowed to be appointed to this position is yet another file in the mounting evidence of the systemic prejudice against Israel, and the acceptance of maligning Jews in the UN today," rabbis Cooper and Greenberg further wrote in the SWC statement.
"One can never find Albanese criticizing the Palestinians for failing to accept or offer peace plans,” Rabbi Greenberg said. "Albanese’s anti-Jewish propaganda is straight from the [Joseph] Goebbels playbook."
Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.