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Five Facts About John Dugard

The resolution adopted at yesterday's Special Session of the UN Human Rights Council slammed Israel and decided "to dispatch an urgent fact-finding mission headed by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967."

Given the explicit bias that characterized the Special Session proceedings from start to finish, it actually makes perfect sense to have John Dugard head its fact-finding mission. 

Consider the following five facts about our newly named fact-finder:

1.  The mandate of special rapporteur on Palestine -- created in 1993 by the discredited and now defunct UN Commission on Human Rights -- is to investigate only violations by Israel, a one-sided duty John Dugard has zealously embraced since his appointment to the post in 2001. His reports stand out, even by UN standards, for their virulently anti-Israel prejudice.  Not only does Dugard systematically ignore Palestinian acts of terror and their victims, but he has gone so far as to laud Palestinian "militarized groups armed with rifles, mortars, and Kassam-2 rockets [who] confront the [Israeli army] with new determination, daring, and success."  (See examples here.)

2. There are many UN figures who like to lambaste Israel. But Mr. Dugard has the dubious distinction of being the only appointee of the UN who regularly rails against the UN-sponsored Quartet and its Road Map for Middle East Peace. Last summer, he even managed to convince seven other UN experts to join him in this bizarre line of attack.

3.  Mr. Dugard's presentation on Wednesday at the Special Session dutifully lambasted the Quartet several times, suggesting that the UN's membership in the grouping rendered it pro-Israel.  (Yes, and Al Qaeda is too pro-American.)  "Whether [the EU and the UN] can act as 'honest brokers' while remaining members of the Quartet is, however, questionable."  All of this, needless to say, flies in the face of the actions and recommendations of the Security Council and the Secretary-General, which have strongly endorsed and encouraged the UN role in the Quartet.

4.  Much worse, though, was the opening of his Wednesday presentation. "At the outset I wish to make it clear that I have every sympathy for Corporal Gilad Shalit; and indeed for all Israel's young soldiers compelled to serve in the army of an occupying power."  (emphasis added)  In other words, Professor Dugard could not bring himself to express sympathy for the captured soldier without wrapping it in a sharp stab, drenched with cynicism, at Israel's morality.  We've seen nothing to suggest Corporal Shalit has felt anything other than patriotic about his service.  One imagines that the vast majority of Israelis feel proud and justified in defending their country, and would find Dugard's "sympathy" -- for their being "compelled to serve in the army of an occupying power" --nothing short of insulting and contemptible.

5.   In his August 2005 report, Dugard for the first time broke instructions and explained that he felt compelled to address Palestinian violations as well.  Would Dugard finally say a few words about Israeli victims of Palestinian terrorism? No. What caused him to break his instructions was an issue of Palestinian victims -- those who suffer from the Palestinian Authority death penalty.  "The Special Rapporteur's mandate," Dugard acknowledged, "does not extend to human rights violations committed by the Palestinian Authority. It would, however, be irresponsible for a human rights special rapporteur to allow the execution of Palestinian prisoners to go unnoticed. . . The Special Rapporteur expresses the hope that these executions were aberrations and that the Palestinian Authority will in future refrain from this form of punishment." (August 2005 report.) 

Nothing wrong with protesting a justice system whose methods make IRA "knee-capping" look tame by comparison.  What is shocking, though, is that Dugard for the first time demonstrated that he is perfectly free in his reports to reference the terror faced daily by Israeli civilians -- more than 140 separate suicide attacks, and 13,730 shooting attacks, over the past four years -- and free to mention the attempted mega-terror attacks against Israeli skyscrapers, ports and fuel depots, which could easily have taken the lives of thousands more.  All of this, Dugard has shown, he is free to mention.  He simply chooses not to.  To paraphrase Dugard's moral justification of his mandate as quoted above, it is, apparently, perfectly responsible for a human rights special rapporteur to allow the killing of Israelis to go unnoticed.