Francesca Marotta, Head UN Staffer for Goldstone Report, Was to Headline Anti-Israel Event in Lausanne
GENEVA – FOX News has revealed that following a UN Watch protest, the United Nations chief of staff for the Goldstone Report canceled her scheduled keynote address for an anti-Israel event held last Saturday in Lausanne, Switzerland. (See full FOX News report below.)
Francesca Marotta, Head of the Secretariat of the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, was to headline an event lobbying for “the Russell Tribunal on Palestine,” a one-sided political exercise with a foregone conclusion. The Swiss gathering was sponsored by “Collectif Urgence Palestine,” a group that was recently condemned by a United Nations expert panel for having organized an “apparently anti-Semitic” demonstration last year with stone-throwing and verbal threats against members of the Geneva Jewish community.
UN Watch, which holds Special Consultative Status with the United Nations, immediately filed a protest with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, urging him to enforce the UN Charter’s Article 100 requirement that his staff remain neutral, professional, and above political partisanship. Click here to read UN Watch’s protest.
UN Watch distributed the protest worldwide to 1,000 journalists, 18,000 UN Watch subscribers — a group that includes diplomats, parliamentarians and other opinion-makers — as well as 5,500 registered Facebook fans of UN Watch.
As a result, now confirmed by the FOX News report below, Ms. Marotta canceled her appearance — even though she was already advertised as headlining the event on numerous websites. (See here, here, here, and here.)
UN Watch will be writing to thank Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for upholding the UN Charter.
To support the vital work of UN Watch in safeguarding the principles of democracy, human rights and the UN Charter, click here.
UN Inquiry Accused of Anti Israel Bias
FOX News, March 5, 2010
By Ben Evansky
UNITED NATIONS – A controversial United Nations report called the UN Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict and more commonly known as “The Goldstone Report,” is under fire for being biased against Israel. Among its conclusions was an accusation that Israel had committed “war crimes” during its twenty-two day war with Palestinian terrorists that ended in January, 2009. Critics discredit this finding – saying key memb
ers of the report were clearly biased in favor of the Palestinians.
The Geneva based UN Human Rights Council created the Goldstone report in April 2009 after a recommendation by Richard Falk, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on “The situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories Occupied since 1967”, to investigate Israel’s Gaza offensive.
Prior to his UN appointment, Falk had written that Israel’s “imposition of collective punishment had a certain resemblance” to what the Nazis had done in World War II, and is known for his controversial views on the 9/11 terror attacks, telling Fox News that Americans “deserve a more adequate response to the unanswered questions…that have been provided by the 9/11 commission.”
Falk says he fully supports the Goldstone Report saying its members are “highly qualified and professionally respected.”
Nile Gardiner disagrees. Gardiner is a UN expert at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, and tells Fox News that the so called experts who helped write the report had already convicted Israel for war crimes before coming on board to investigate it. According to Gardiner “it’s an extreme example of the UN’s anti-Israel propaganda, which comes at a huge expense to taxpayers.”
Just last month, commission member Desmond Travers told the pro-Palestinian website Middle East Monitor that Hamas had only fired “something like two” rockets at Israel prior to the build up to the conflict in December 2008. According to official Israeli figures the number of rockets fired into Israel was 125, in addition to 80 mortars. Travers also called Gaza the “only gulag in the Western hemisphere”, and in that same interview accused Britain’s “Jewish lobby” of wielding undue influence over that country’s foreign policy. Travers did not respond to a request for an interview.
Another member of the team is Christine Chinkin, who in a letter published by the Sunday Times of London during the height of the war joined others in accusing Israel of committing war crimes in Gaza. Several months later Ms. Chinkin was appointed to the Goldstone report. Chinkin did not respond to a request for an interview.
This last weekend Francesca Marotta, a senior member of the UN staff that helped compile the Goldstone Report, was advertised as being the keynote speaker at a pro-Palestinian event in Switzerland. Marotta told Fox news she did not end up attending and wouldn’t answer any further questions.
Calls for her to be disciplined were scoffed at by UN spokesman for the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Rupert Colville told Fox News that none would be taken against her, saying, “Why on earth should there be?” Colville also says staff from his office “attend a huge variety of meetings on issues related to work.”
Hillel Neuer is the executive director of the Swiss based NGO UN Watch and first publicized Marotta’s speaking engagement. He argues that no one in her position should side with partisan political campaigns and says her actions undermine the UN’s authority and neutrality.As to the four senior members who produced the report, Neuer points to a letter sent by future inquiry members Judge Richard Goldstone, Hina Jilani and the aforementioned Desmond Travers a full month before their appointment that protested Israel’s actions in Gaza. Neuer says, “Goldstone promised impartiality but the mission members had all made up their minds, adopting the Hamas narrative over Israel from the very start.”As to whether UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon was worried about the UN’s neutrality being question, his spokesman Farhan Haq told Fox News that he had “no comment” about the composition of Goldstone’s team and that the report’s substantive findings “speaks for itself.”
Rupert Colville said the members of the mission “should be thanked and congratulated, not subjected to personalized abuse.” Hillel Neuer fired back telling Fox News, “The inquiry disregarded the basic principles of international fact-finding” through its selection of members.
While Judge Richard Goldstone did not respond to a request for an interview concerning the impartiality of the inquiry members, UN Watch’s Hillel Neuer believes that “the Islamic-dominated Human Rights Council carefully selected mission members whom they knew were sharply critical of Israel.
The UN General Assembly will again take up the Goldstone report in early spring 2010.