Wiesenthal Center: Senior UN Official Continues To Demonize Israel While Giving Hezbollah’s War Crimes A Free Pass

October 5, 2006

WIESENTHAL CENTER: SENIOR UN OFFICIAL CONTINUES TO DEMONIZE ISRAEL WHILE GIVING HEZBOLLAH’S WAR CRIMES A FREE PASS

Center calls on UN Human Rights Council to “treat all member states equally”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center denounced calls by Jean Ziegler, a senior UN Human Rights official who is urging the International Criminal Court to investigate Israel for possible war crimes, asserting that the Jewish State made it difficult for the Lebanese to obtain food during the recent Hezbollah-provoked war.
       
        “Jean Ziegler's main expertise is demonizing the Jewish state,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish Human Rights NGO, in reaction to Ziegler’s 18-page report. “There is no question that the Lebanese people have ‘a right to food,’ but the UN's own World Food program has already announced it's leaving Lebanon since in its own words ‘The general outlook is good...Foodstuff is available at affordable prices in the country.’”
       
        “Indeed, war crimes were committed, but by Hezbollah, both against 1 million Northern Israelis impacted by Hezbollah's 34-day, 4,000 rocket war targeting Israel's civilian population centers, hospitals, schools and synagogues and Lebanon's civilians who were used as human shields by the Iran-backed group. Those were quintessential war crimes which were committed by a terrorist organization, a fact that the 'new’ Human Rights Council refuses to acknowledge,” Cooper said.

        Last month, the Wiesenthal Center brought a delegation to the UN in Geneva, including a mayor of an Israeli town with no military installations, which was pounded by over 600 Hezbollah rockets, and a physician whose hospital suffered a direct hit from a Hezbollah Katyusha. They presented evidence of systematic targeting of Israel’s civilians and infrastructure before UN Human Rights High Commissioner Louise Arbour. “At our meeting, Ms. Arbour confirmed that Hezbollah's targeting of Israeli civilian violated International Human Rights Law,” said Cooper.  “It's time for the UNHRC to finally do the same. But for the likes of Mr. Ziegler, when it comes to Israel, he and too many experts and officials conveniently forget the most important human right of all--the right to live. So long as UN Human Rights Council's fails to treat all member states equally, it will never rise above the disgraced Human Rights Commission it was created to replace,” Cooper concluded.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, and the Council of Europe. For more information, please contact the Center's Public Relations Department, 310-553-9036.