"B’nai B’rith President Seth J. Riklin and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin have issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International has panned the initial report of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) latest ‘Commission of Inquiry’ on Israel for predictably recycling the motifs of the U.N.’s systemic, and singular, prejudice against the world’s only Jewish state. But the Commission—whose ‘findings’ were adopted by the UNHRC beforehand, and whose appointed members each already had a longstanding record of public positions against Israel—is unprecedented in its open-ended mandate, promising more to come.
The Commission joins a long list of U.N. mechanisms targeting Israel, which has been subjected to more scrutiny and condemnation than all other member states. This body, however, is slated to absorb more funding than practically any similar U.N. endeavor. While, in another precedent, the Commission has been charged with examining not only the Palestinian territories but Israel, this expanded scope is being employed not to finally afford equal care and consideration to Jewish and other Israelis subjected to unending dehumanization and violence, but instead to further malign the Middle East’s only pluralistic democracy, Israel, by presenting it as uniquely discriminatory against minorities.
The report makes clear the Commission’s intentions by asserting that ‘perpetual occupation’ is ‘the one common issue that constitutes the underlying root cause of recurrent tensions, instability and protraction of conflict in both the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel.’ Israel’s enemies’ open, violent rejection of the Jewish state’s right to exist—within any boundaries—apparently is not a root cause of the conflict, nor of the defensive efforts repeatedly necessitated by fanatics’ attacks on Israeli civilians from among Palestinian and other Arab civilians.
Notwithstanding decades of unparalleled Israeli overtures, risks and sacrifices for peace—including profoundly painful territorial concessions after repeated wars launched by Israel’s adversaries—the Commission further concluded that ‘Israel has no intention of ending the occupation, has clear policies for ensuring complete control over the Occupied Palestinian Territory.’ No mention at all is made of Palestinian intention to finally discontinue terrorism and endemic incitement, recognize the equal rights and legitimacy of Israeli Jews and embrace negotiated compromise rather than confrontation on the ground and in international settings.
Indeed, with its overt partisanship, the Commission disincentivizes such progress. Hamas receives no criticism by name in the Commission report—and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah and their patron Iran are not mentioned at all.
B’nai B’rith—which has led Jewish communal engagement with the U.N. since the world body’s very founding in 1945—has declined to engage directly with the Commission, whose biased composition and mandate are explicit. Rather, we will continue to expose the hypocrisy inherent in this newest effort to weaponize the U.N. in a manner that hinders not only justice for Israelis but peace and reconciliation between people on both sides of the conflict.
As one response to a Commission that magnifies alleged Israeli wrongdoing while all but ignoring relentless, deliberate abuses by Palestinians, B’nai B’rith is releasing a series of video testimonials by victims of Palestinian terror attacks in Ashdod, a diverse city deep within Israel’s sovereign territory. The interviewees, ordinary civilians who have survived acute physical and psychological trauma, have been the recipients of critical B’nai B’rith humanitarian aid, and were targeted simply by virtue of living in Israel."