Navi Pillay
Navi PillayReuters

Canada’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Bob Rae, has expressed doubts about the newly formed “Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territories” of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), B’nai Brith Canada announced in a statement on Tuesday.

“Canada shares some of the concerns expressed in your letter… regarding the Commission's scope, unprecedented ongoing nature, and budget in numerous settings,” Rae communicated through an office associate in response to B’nai Brith Canada’s letter from last month urging reform of the UNHRC and removal of the Commission of Inquiry’s Chair, Navi Pillay.

B’nai Brith pointed out that current United Nations rules have facilitated the election to the UNHRC of some of the world’s worst human-rights abusers.

The UNHRC has championed the agenda of those states and ignored their glaring major human-rights abuses, while continually obsessing over Israel. B’nai Brith also urged Rae to raise objections to Pillay’s appointment as Chair of the Commission, citing her long track record of expressing public disdain for Israel.

“B’nai Brith finds it beyond belief that the UNHRC could appoint Navi Pillay as a supposedly impartial chair for this inquiry when she has for years been accusing Israel of just about every crime possible,” said Marvin Rotrand, Director of B'nai Brith's League for Human Rights. “In fact, she admits to having signed a petition to boycott Israel. Jurists are supposed to embody impeccable impartiality. Even a hint of bias should be enough to cause an honorable jurist to recuse herself.”

“Israel has publicly refused any interaction with the Commission of Inquiry, citing many of Pillay's statements against Israel, some made only weeks before her selection as Chair," said Michael Mostyn, B’nai Brith’s CEO. “Pillay needs to be removed, and the Commission’s open-ended fishing expedition is unacceptable and should not be subsidized with Canada's UN fees."

This past July, the president of the UN Human Rights Council announced that Pillay will chair a commission to investigate what was described as “systematic” abuses allegedly committed in Israel and Palestinian Authority territories during the recent violence between Hamas and Israel last May.

Pillay has a history of anti-Israel statements. In 2014, she condemned Israel for "targeting" UN-run schools and hospitals in Gaza, while failing to mention three UN-run schools in Gaza had been used as rocket warehouses, a gross violation of international law that clearly falls within the category of war crimes.

Weeks before that, Pillay opened an emergency UN debate on Gaza by saying there is a "strong possibility" that Israel is violating law in Gaza, and that could amount to war crimes.

Israel has announced that it will not cooperate with the UN probe, noting Pillay has endorsed “the shameful libel” branding Israel an apartheid nation and backed the boycott movement against Israel.

The UNHRC is notorious for its longstanding bias against Israel. Former US President Donald Trump withdrew from the UNHRC in 2018 due to this.

However, the Biden administration returned to the organization last year, even though it acknowledged its “disproportionate focus” on Israel.