Tue, Nov 30, 2010 | By Rob Harris
Mary Robinson – Ireland’s Greatest In Pro-Palestinianism
This article was first published at FrontpageMag (“Allied In Anti-Semitism – The Irish Connection”; June 21, 2010) and was written by Rob Harris. It’s republished here with permission. It is the second installment of a four-part series. You can read Part I here, Part III here or Part IV here. In addition, Rob Harris expanded the original article with two appendices at CrethiPlethi.com: the first appendix is about Mary Robinson’s current role in the pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel group called “The Elders” (which is an addendum to the last paragraph of the frontpagemag article) and the second appendix is an email from Rob Harris to David McWilliams, who advocated Mary Robinson’s election for Ireland’s Greatest Persons. Both appendices are published for the first time. He also wrote the introduction to the David McWilliams email for our non-Irish readers.
Allied in Anti-Semitism – the Irish Connection
Former President of Ireland Mary Robinson has probably done more harm to Israel than any other Irish citizen. She was United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights from 1997 to 2002 and was the architect of the Durban I anti-racism conference in 2001. Last year pro-Israel groups expressed concerns when she was going to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the top US honour for civilians) by Barack Obama. She said “There’s a lot of bullying by certain elements of the Jewish community. They bully people who try to address the severe situation in Gaza and the West Bank. Archbishop Desmond Tutu gets the same criticism.”
How legitimate were the concerns of these Jewish bullies? Durban I was probably the most serious anti-Semitic event in decades. Although the UN has long been anti-Israel and the Internet has also been a significant contributor, Durban I can be seen as the singular event that turned anti-Semitic Israeli bashing into the zeitgeist of our times. The Durban I conference composed of UN groups and NGOs, developed several strategies to demonise Israel. It would be described as an apartheid state which could be undermined through isolation akin to South Africa. They emphasised calling Israeli actions in response to Palestinian terror “war crimes,” in breach of international law, etc.
Robinson was the principal organiser of the event. Robinson was criticised by Tom Lantos (a member of the U.S. delegation) who said there were obvious signs the conference was headed for trouble months before. At preliminary meetings in Tehran, Israelis and pro-Israel states and NGOs were at first prevented entering Iran, and later, effectively excluded from participating in the meetings. The delegates present declared the intention of using the conference as a propaganda weapon to harm Israel. Robinson condoned their behaviour in a statement where she congratulated the Tehran delegates on their productive work. Her stance encouraged the hijacking of the event. In effect, it became as a weapon against Israel.
Jews were openly discriminated against at the conference itself. Pro-Palestinian extremists were allowed to incite hatred of Israel on an international stage and legitimise the Second Intifada which had resulted in a massive loss of Israeli lives at the time. Resolutions were passed accusing Israel of genocide and ethnic cleansing. The American delegation headed by Colin Powell tried to remedy the situation by using diplomacy to isolate hard-line states and NGOs but Lantos stated that Robinson actually undermined these efforts which shocked their delegation. She would not reject the concept that the horrors of the Holocaust are equivalent to the suffering of the Palestinians – in fact, she legitimised it by describing them as opposing issues. She knowingly allowed the hate filled conference to take its course and the issues for which Durban I was intended to be were largely ignored. Powell announced that the US would withdraw from Durban I, stating,
“I know that you do not combat racism by conferences that produce declarations containing hateful language, some of which is a throwback to the days of ‘Zionism equals racism’; or supports the idea that we have made too much of the Holocaust; or suggests that apartheid exists in Israel; or that singles out only one country in the world, Israel, for censure and abuse.”
Robinson latterly condemned the extreme anti-Semitism at the events, but by that stage, it was akin to sprinkling water on an inferno after having built it up with petrol. She erased most of the objectionable content in the final document. However, the document was almost meaningless, as the conference throughout was the scene of extreme hostility toward Jews and Israel, which helped legitimise such conduct under the guise of human rights. This was a devastating propaganda victory, the consequences of which could well lead to the destruction of the Israeli State. Has Robinson come to regret her conduct and come to the aid of Israel? Not even a little. Although she expressed upset at the events of the time, she stated last year “I am extremely proud [of the conference.] It was the third attempt to have the conference and was the first to be successful. In the final document there was not one word of anti-semitism.”
If Durban I was an anomaly in an otherwise good record, Robinson’s behaviour could be put down to stupidity, but she has consistently adopted an anti-Israeli stance which at times could be described as destructive. The so called “massacre” in Jenin in 2002, where the Palestinians hugely exaggerated the death toll of Palestinian civilians, was used by the United Nations as an excuse to attack Israel in an extremely hostile fashion without being in possession of the facts. They jumped to serious conclusions as they have done repeatedly since, and equated the military action in response to the death of over 100 Israeli civilians with that of the terrorists without addressing the reasons for those actions. Robinson pre-judged the situation: “It cannot be right to wage war on civilian populations.”
A resolution by Robinson’s Human Rights commission that condoned terrorism generally (unspecified forms) as a means to resist occupation and achieve independence was passed. There was no real condemnation of 100+ Israeli civilian deaths. The death of seven Palestinian civilians and 47 Palestinian militants was of greater consequence. To quote a 2002 report by the Anti-Defamation League:
“Question of the violation of human rights in the occupied Arab territories, including Palestine” Resolution 2002/8, adopted by the Commission on Human Rights, April 15, 2002 (‘France, Belgium, and four other EU countries yesterday supported a UN Commission on Human Rights resolution that includes a thinly veiled endorsement of Palestinian terrorism,’ The Jerusalem Post, April 16, 2002; notably, this resolution endorsed a 1982 U.N. resolution that ‘reaffirms the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence, territorial integrity, national unity, and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and foreign occupation by all available means, including armed struggle’).”
Robinson was offered the job of investigating Israeli “war crimes” in Gaza by the UN. She rejected the biased terms of the UN mandate that singled out Israel. This may have been due to prior criticism of her very oppositional stance toward the Jewish State. Justice Richard Goldstone, head of the UN Gaza fact-finding mission, had the terms changed informally. This had no authoritative standing at the UN since it was not voted on. Thus the original terms of the mandate stood as it turned out. This did not stop her voicing support for the anti-Israel Goldstone Report when it was being voted on. She is now part of an NGO group comically entitled “The Elders,” which includes other anti-Israeli luminaries such as Jimmy “Israeli apartheid” Carter.
Mary Robinson and The Elders
By Rob Harris
The Elders is a curious organisation with a curious name. It is redolent of that infamous anti-Semitic forgery “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, which was one justification for the Holocaust, and now thought as historic fact in some Arab countries. However, it is more likely to be a play on the fashionable notion of the planet being a global village, and they being the wise old elders. The name is rather patronising but sadly that is not the only objectionable feature of this group.
The Elders was formed by Nelson Mandela in 2007, seemingly a club to keep ageing “humanitarians” busy. Whilst its association with some figures like Aung San Suu Kyi is worthy, others in this select group display considerable bias. It is said Robinson was Nelson Mandela’s first choice. This in itself is significant as Robinson is probably best known internationally as a critic of Israel and the US. As such she is something of a figurehead for populist pro-Palestinianism, which has an overtone of faux humanitarianism which in its the worst excesses is decidedly nonsensical. This attitude has often been observed as disguising a malign intent due to its extreme support of Palestinianism, whilst condemning Israel. David McWilliams wrote: “On her role alongside Nelson Mandela in The Elders, she said “we won’t be compromising just to be popular”,” which translates as criticism of the West and Israel.
It should be noted that for a long time her views on the conflict have been so dramatically out of kilter with obvious reality that at this stage it cannot simply be a misunderstanding on her part. She has this in common with other “Elders”. Desmond Tutu, another saintly members of The Elders, has lambasted Israel like a third-rate pro-Palestinian activist:
“… you know as well as I do that, somehow, the Israeli government is placed on a pedestal [in the US], and to criticise it is to be immediately dubbed anti-Semitic, as if the Palestinians were not Semitic. I am not even anti-white, despite the madness of that group”.
Here he alludes to the far-right lie that Jews somehow control the US State, that criticism of Israel always leads to accusations of anti-Semitism, and then misrepresents the meaning of “anti-Semitism”, which relates to a cultural phenomenon of hatred toward Jews that has no parallel toward other Semitic peoples. Mr. “Israeli Apartheid” himself, Jimmy Carter is similarly abusive. Thus it should be of little wonder that Nelson Mandela, who has also displayed a singular inability to understand Israel, asked both to be “Elders”.
It should be clear there is something very wrong with human rights campaigners and organisations as exemplified by Robinson and The Elders. For example, Boko Haram, a violent Islamicist group that seeks to impose Sharia law in Nigeria started an armed conflict which resulted in around 800 deaths over a period of five days in 2009. Instead of human rights organisations like The Elders deploring religious (Islamic) intolerance, they chose instead to condemn the death of Mohammed Yusuf, leader of the group as questions arose about it being an execution. Another “Elder” with morally problematic conduct is Jimmy Carter. Dhimmi Carter is more concerned about eradicating guinea worm disease in Sudan than confronting what is the worst genocidal regime in the world today and even campaigned to prevent censure of the regime itself! Such examples illustrate an elemental perversion of the most basic notions of right and wrong found in the West all too commonly today. If these people truly are the elders of the “global village” than perhaps it explains the trouble we are in?
Letter to David McWilliams
By Rob Harris
Below is an email I sent to David McWilliams, a well-known Irish economist and media pundit. The email makes some additional points about Mary Robinson, particularly with regard to her present conduct. RTE, the Irish national broadcaster ran a heavily promoted television series called “Ireland’s Greatest” in September and October of 2010, featuring five supposedly great figures from Irish history and the present, which the public were to vote on. Three were indeed worthy of inclusion, including John Hume of the SDLP who did more to bring peace to the North of Ireland than any other figure. I was prompted to write the email because McWilliams had chosen to advocate Robinson, and as such promoted her virtues and the worthiness of her actions quite aggressively, which included her time at the UN: “Mary has been denounced from the pulpit by Archbishops & Cardinals; she has been verbally attacked & vilified by Catholics, Unionists, Israelis & Americans… She shows no fear or favour.” Grandiose words indeed!
From: Rob Harris
To: David McWilliams
Subject: Advocacy of Mary Robinson as a candidate for RTE’s Ireland’s Greatest
Date: Tue, 19 Oct 2010 08:44:22 +0000
Not sure if you will get this email – I looked up your name and found the email on your Facebook page.
I first learnt about the Ireland’s Greatest TV series when yourself and the four other advocates appeared on the Late Late Show a month ago. I was surprised when you cited [see McWilliams’ contribution from 1 minute into the clip] Mary Robinson’s treatment of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as one of the main reasons to support her selection for the award. You mentioned her giving voice to people who have none in that context. Yet that conflict was a highly contentious issue long before her tenure at the UN. You asserted on the show and in the documentary that the US destroyed her chance to become General Secretary of the UN due to the Palestinian issue. However, due to her record at the UN, the US or any other country for that matter would have been quite right to object. You said that she was best known for her stance on the Palestinian issue but I note you did not go into detail. I believe her record at the UN should not be celebrated. Her conduct at the Durban I Conference was outrageous. Over many months she continually permitted the hijacking of the event by parties with a clear agenda to demonise Israel. She did indeed react strongly at the end of the conference to the overt expressions of anti-Semitism but the fact remains she did tolerate it throughout most of the event. She made remarks to the US delegation over this issue that equated the Holocaust with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to a fair extent. Surely this is moral equivalence at its very worst?
Robinson’s hostility toward Israel did not relent after the conference. She led the charge attacking Israel during the so called Jenin Massacre of 2002 before any facts could be established. In reality only seven Palestinian civilians were killed by the IDF but no objection was raised to the killing of over 100 Israeli civilians which caused the IDF to enter the camp. In fact a resolution was passed by the Human Rights Commission that condoned unspecified terrorism. Robinson is completely unapologetic about what transpired at Durban I and blamed “bullies” in the Jewish community when her selection for the highest civilian honour in the US was criticised. Here is a long article about Robinson’s conduct at the UN by a writer that experienced intimidation at Durban I but clearly doesn’t have an axe to grind: “In Defense — and Criticism — of Mary Robinson”.
On the day of broadcast of your show there was quite a bit of coverage of Robinson. She had called Gaza ‘one of the greatest human rights violations’ – during the Flotilla incident. Israel had placed an embargo on Gaza to stop Hamas rearming (Iran made several attempts assist) which would be a cause for further war. Yet we as a nation have produced many irresponsible leaders like Michael Martin and Robinson who simply want complete freedom for Hamas to do as they wish, whilst lambasting Israel. It would have been quite a different matter to ease restrictions as Blair achieved. Robinson has repeatedly displayed strong support for Hamas as do the other “Elders” like Jimmy Carter. It is of little wonder Nelson Mandela desired Robinson’s contribution for he referred to the Palestinian issue as “The moral cause of our time”. I see this behaviour as part of an unhealthy obsession with Israel in the face of exponentially worse conflicts.
Robinson continued this form during her recent visit to Gaza: “Following a meeting with de facto prime minister Ismail Haniyeh, Mrs Robinson declared that Hamas, which won the 2006 parliamentary election and controls Gaza, should not be excluded from Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. She revealed that there is “encouraging news” about reconciliation talks between Hamas and Fatah, which administers West Bank Palestinian enclaves,” – [Irishtimes.com; Mon, Oct 18, 2010] – is this not a staggering assertion to make about an organisation that carried out a vicious coup, has very explicit genocidal intent toward Jewish people and… oh yes recently committed acts of terror to stop the talks altogether?
As above Robinson is notable for an apparent or deliberate “faux naif” naivety, for according to “The Elders” website Robinson also stated: “In our meetings with the authorities we raised issues of human rights violations that were reported to us. Mr Haniyeh said that if they were provided with specific allegations, they would investigate and report the outcome to us. He also said that any mistakes would be corrected,” [TheElders.org; Sat, Oct 16, 2010] – again this is a group that has committed appalling human rights abuses and openly boasts of making use of human shields out of the elderly, women and children. Her quote is the stuff of black comedy.
It cannot be a coincidence that she continues to make the same mistakes with regard to Israel time and time again. Whilst clearly she has done some good, I do believe her legacy will ultimately have been one of causing considerable damage to a people who were harmed a great deal in the past. The legacy of Durban I is all to evident today – obsessive Israeli-bashing that very often crosses the line into outright anti-Semitism, which has resulted in increasing violence toward Jews, and is arguably a defining feature of our times. I would also add that while she did a significant amount to modernise Ireland in the 1970’s, she doesn’t really deserve to be marked out as being more important than other notable activists at the time. She was part of a wider zeitgeist for change rather than the leader of it, and her behaviour at the Aras [Áras an Uachtaráin – the house of the Irish president] wasn’t exactly whiter than white. If any one person can be said to have modernised Ireland it would surely be Gay Byrne who did at times risk quite a lot to make a difference but I accept that view could be dismissed as the biased opinion of someone who dislikes seeing such an individual canonised.