A part of the Sequence
Human Rights and International Wrongs
As the brand new right-wing Israeli regime ramps up its oppression of Palestinians, the Biden administration has taken its capitulation to Israel to a brand new and absurd stage. After nominating an unbiased knowledgeable to serve on a human rights fee, the U.S. State Division withdrew the nomination as a result of the knowledgeable precisely referred to as Israel an apartheid state. Every week later, the USA prevented the United Nations Safety Council from voting to sentence Israel’s unlawful settlements in Palestinian territory.
On February 10, the State Division nominated Professor James Cavallaro as an unbiased knowledgeable on the Inter-American Fee on Human Rights (IACHR). Cavallaro is “a number one scholar and practitioner of worldwide legislation with deep experience within the area in addition to the Inter-American human rights system,” the State Department declared. Cavallaro, government director of the College Community for Human Rights (UNHR), was a member of the IACHR from 2014-2017 in the course of the Obama administration and even served as its president.
IACHR commissioners are unbiased human rights specialists, not spokespersons for his or her nations’ overseas insurance policies. They hear instances about massacres, extrajudicial killings, torture and disappearances solely within the Americas. They haven’t any jurisdiction over Israel.
However that didn’t cease the State Division from withdrawing Cavallaro’s nomination on February 20 after The Algemeiner, a U.S.-based Jewish newspaper, criticized him for (appropriately) describing Israel as an “apartheid state” and accusing Israel of “atrocities.”
Cavallaro additionally ran afoul of the Biden administration by criticizing Home Minority Chief Hakeem Jeffries (D-New York) for his shut relationship with the highly effective pro-Israel foyer, American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Cavallaro tweeted that Jeffries had been “Bought. Purchased. Controlled” by AIPAC. Certainly, in 2020, Jeffries informed an AIPAC assembly that “back home in New York City we consider Jerusalem to be the sixth borough.”
In defending the withdrawal of Cavallaro’s nomination, State Division spokesperson Ned Value stated, “[Cavallaro’s] statements clearly don’t replicate U.S. coverage. They don’t seem to be a mirrored image of what we consider, and they’re inappropriate to say the least.”
Cavallaro Wouldn’t Characterize U.S. or Have Remit Over Israel and Palestine
However an unbiased knowledgeable is simply that — unbiased. Cavallaro wouldn’t be representing the USA if he served on the IAHRC.
As an unbiased knowledgeable, “I might not have represented the USA authorities and I might have had completely no remit over Israel and Palestine!” Cavallaro informed Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! “The Inter-American Fee oversees human rights within the western hemisphere. That’s the different hemisphere, Israel and Palestine.”
However, the State Division withdrew Cavallaro’s nomination in order to not anger Israel. Cavallaro would have served as an unbiased knowledgeable on the Americas. However he didn’t move the U.S.’s litmus take a look at, which requires fealty to the unlawful Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory.
Agnès Callamard, secretary normal of Amnesty Worldwide, referred to as the U.S. motion, “A state pushed assault on an excellent human rights lawyer due to his view on Israel apartheid,” noting, “The U.S. authorities has not engaged with the authorized and empirical bases of positions on Israel apartheid. As an alternative, it’s censoring, shutting down debates, and threatening.”
Callamard’s sentiments have been echoed by Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine director at Human Rights Watch, who stated the U.S. withdrawal of Cavallaro’s nomination “means that for the State Division, believing that Palestinians deserve primary rights disqualifies one from serving on a human rights physique. Shameful and but U.S. overseas coverage in a nutshell.”
“Whereas Cavallaro’s potential participation on the fee would have completely no affect on U.S. coverage on Israel, the withdrawal of his nomination could have actual penalties for human rights within the Americas,” the UNHR said. “Cavallaro has been a brave and dedicated voice for justice for victims of human rights abuse throughout the area; as an skilled commissioner in his second time period, he would have superior the reason for human rights within the hemisphere considerably.”
“Human rights practitioners and students mustn’t concern skilled reprisal for expressing their views about human rights violations, particularly these carried out by U.S. allies,” 83 main human rights organizations, that embrace Human Rights Watch, B’Tselem, Heart for Constitutional Rights and Nationwide Attorneys Guild Worldwide Committee, and greater than 300 teachers and advocates, together with this author, sent an open letter to Blinken protesting the withdrawal of Cavallaro’s nomination to the Fee. “This undermines free expression, tutorial freedom, and the work of all human rights advocates, notably those that wouldn’t have the identical form of platform as Cavallaro.”
The 450 signatories from 20 nations, together with members of the IACHR in addition to present and former UN particular mandate holders, added that “The State Division’s transfer is dangerous to the worldwide human rights motion and undermines the credibility of the USA in advocating for human rights in different components of the world.”
Israel Is an Apartheid State
Furthermore, Cavallaro’s characterization of Israel as an apartheid state is correct. Amnesty Worldwide, Human Rights Watch, the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, and Michael Lynk (UN Particular Rapporteur for the scenario of human rights within the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967) have all referred to as Israel an apartheid regime.
In his March 2022 report to the UN Human Rights Council, Lynk affirmed that Israel practices apartheid within the occupied Palestinian territory. “There may be at this time within the Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967 a deeply discriminatory twin authorized and political system that privileges the 700,000 Israeli Jewish settlers residing within the 300 unlawful Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Financial institution.”
Lynk continued, “Dwelling in the identical geographic house, however separated by partitions, checkpoints, roads and an entrenched army presence, are greater than three million Palestinians, who’re with out rights, residing below an oppressive rule of institutional discrimination and and not using a path to a real Palestinian state that the world has lengthy promised is their proper.”
Moreover, Lynk reported, “One other two million Palestinians stay in Gaza, described often as an ‘open-air jail’, with out sufficient entry to energy, water or well being, with a collapsing financial system and with no capacity to freely journey to the remainder of Palestine or the skin world.”
Lynk cited inhumane acts, extra-judicial killings, torture and the denial of basic rights to Palestinians. He additionally famous collective punishment, house demolitions, an abusive army courtroom system and a excessive baby mortality price for Palestinians.
Apartheid is outlined within the Apartheid Convention as “inhuman acts dedicated for the aim of creating and sustaining domination by one racial group of individuals over some other racial group of individuals and systematically oppressing them.”
These acts embrace “legislative measures and different measures calculated to forestall a racial group or teams from participation within the political, social, financial and cultural lifetime of the nation and the deliberate creation of situations stopping the total improvement of such a bunch or teams, specifically by denying to members of a racial group or teams primary human rights and freedoms.”
As well as, the Rome Statute for the Worldwide Felony Court docket defines apartheid as inhumane acts “dedicated within the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over some other racial group or teams and dedicated with the intention to sustaining that regime.”
Each the Apartheid Conference and the Rome Statute think about apartheid to be a criminal offense towards humanity. Though Israel has not ratified the Apartheid Conference or the Rome Statute, apartheid is prohibited by jus cogens, which signifies that all nations are certain by the prohibition towards apartheid.
Biden Administration Prevents Safety Council From Condemning Unlawful Israeli Settlements
The Biden administration continued its shameful capitulation to Israel by brokering a deal to keep away from a UN Safety Council vote on a decision condemning unlawful Israeli settlements within the occupied West Financial institution. If that decision (which was scheduled for a vote on February 20) had come to the ground of the Council, the USA would have been within the awkward place of getting to veto it with the intention to keep away from angering Israel.
As President Barack Obama was leaving workplace, his administration (in an unprecedented transfer) abstained from an identical decision. By stopping a Safety Council vote on Israel’s unlawful settlements, Biden didn’t reveal even the modicum of purpose exhibited by the Obama-Biden administration.
After Israel introduced it was legalizing 9 unlawful settler outposts within the occupied West Financial institution and had authorised the constructing of 10,000 new homes in present settlements, the Palestinian Authority (PA) backed a Safety Council decision denouncing the settlements. Resolutions handed by the Safety Council are thought-about binding below the United Nations Constitution.
However the Biden administration convinced the PA to back down from supporting the decision in return for a “presidential assertion” by the Safety Council that criticizes the Israeli settlements. Israel agreed to briefly halt its unilateral actions within the occupied West Financial institution for a number of months, droop the demolitions of Palestinian properties and evictions for a few months, and reduce Israeli army raids on Palestinian cities. Israel additionally agreed to extend Palestinian tax revenues by greater than $60 million a 12 months. The PA agreed to renew safety coordination with Israel that the previous had suspended after final month’s Israeli raid on the Jenin refugee camp which killed 9 Palestinians.
The PA administers the occupied West Financial institution. The choice of the PA to withdraw the decision “goes towards the Palestinian nationwide battle,” Mustafa Barghouti, General Secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative, told Al Jazeera.
“We reject equating between two sides — one that’s an aggressor and an occupier, and the opposite that’s residing below occupation and apartheid,” Barghouti stated. “Some are saying we have to give attention to diplomatic and political resistance, so why has the choice been withdrawn? Even diplomatic resistance is forbidden? Even resistance based mostly on worldwide legislation?”
In the meantime, the Biden administration continues to uncritically help Israel’s unlawful occupation of Palestinian lands to the tune of $3.8 billion in annual army help.