The United Nations was built on the great and noble idea of maintaining international peace and security. However, it has unfortunately failed to deliver its promise, especially when it comes to Israel. Its treatment of the world’s only Jewish state shows that the UN has failed in pursuing these ideas, with its deep-rooted and inherent bias against Israel at the UN General Assembly, the Human Rights Council, and essentially every UN institution. This bias extends beyond anti-Israel resolutions to the appointment of rapporteurs and envoys that fail to recognize Israel’s right, as a member state of the UN, to live in peace and security as a Jewish democratic state.
Recently, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Palestinian Territories, Francesca Albanese, spoke via Zoom to a Hamas-organized conference in Gaza, during which she openly supported and incited violence, stating, “you have a right to resist this occupation.” Despite having said this on camera, she later turned to Twitter and denied saying it. It’s as though she forgot that the event was recorded.
One minute she’s an international attorney, supposedly acting as an impartial representative of the UN, and the next minute she’s promoting violence amongst Hamas terrorists and advising them that their path of terror is a righteous one.
This wasn’t the first time Albanese made such an outrageous comment. In a June 9th interview, she claimed that “Israel says ‘resistance equals terrorism,’ but an occupation requires violence and generates violence.” She then added that “Palestinians have no other room for dissent than violence.”
A month earlier, in May 2022, she went on Italian national television and said, “Palestinian violence is inevitable because the right to exist of the Palestinian people has been denied for 55 years.”
With her recent actions and statements, she can no longer hide behind the veneer of supposed UN impartiality. This begs the question: under which code of conduct, if any, is she operating? Is it the United Nations Human Rights Council that condones the incitement of terrorism? Is it now the official UN message that if a party feels aggrieved, then the right path forward is to kill, maim and spread hatred and terror?
As a UN Special Rapporteur, Albanese is technically a “special procedures mandate holder for the UN Human Rights Council,” wherein she is theoretically bound to conduct herself according to clear professional standards. However, one does not have to read far into the HR Council’s Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate-holders of the Human Rights Council to see that Francesca Albanese is in gross violation.
The general principles of that code of conduct clearly state that mandate holders should be “free from any kind of extraneous influence, incitement…,” that they should “uphold the highest standards of competence and integrity,” and they should constantly keep in mind “the fundamental obligations of truthfulness.” Albanese has failed in all these respects.
Moreover, international law forbids violence and terror against civilians. It is a simple and self-evident rule that is meant to prevent countless wars and endless bloodshed. There are many groups throughout the world that feel that they were deprived of land, rights or sovereignty. There are many hundreds of minorities worldwide battling for what they believe is rightfully theirs. The legal path, therefore, is through diplomacy, negotiations, and compromise – not the murder of innocents. That is considered unlawful and immoral in every case, and so is the case, or at least it should be, when the Jewish state is concerned.
Can Ms. Albanese and the UN Human Rights Council explain why they are not using their position of power to encourage the terror organization, Hamas, to choose a peaceful path? To recognize Israel’s very right to exist, to forsake their quest for Israel’s destruction, as written in its charter? To stop using children as human shields and deliberately fire at civilians?
While Albanese’s anti-Israel bias is undeniably shameful and the antithesis of the UN’s code of conduct, she does not act alone. The UN Human Rights Council emboldens and perpetuates lopsided anti-Israel rhetoric without batting an eye.
One egregious example is their continued inclusion of Agenda Item 7, through which the council meets at least three times per year to baselessly accuse Israel of human rights violations while making zero mention of the activities of designated terror groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Despite the UN Human Rights Council’s long-standing, demonstrable anti-Israel bias, one has to wonder how long they’ll allow Albanese’s charade as a law-abiding and impartial Special Rapporteur to continue. If encouraging Hamas terrorists to commit acts of violence against the citizens of Israel is not enough to convey her hatred for the Jewish state and its people, where will they draw the line? And can they seriously expect Israel to engage on any level with a Hamas Envoy in disguise?
Yifa Segal, Esq. is an expert in international law, former Chair & CEO of the International Legal Forum, and former Chief of Staff to Israel’s Ambassador to the United States.
This op-ed is published in partnership with a coalition of organizations that fight antisemitism across the world. Read the previous article by Jon Josephson.