ADL Calls on U.N. Human Rights Commissioner to Take Action in Wake of Colleague's Statements Against Israel
New York, NY, July 25, 2005 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today expressed disappointment in the response by Louise Arbour, the High Commissioner for Human Rights at the United Nations, to concerns it had raised about offensive anti-Israel statements attributed to her colleague, Jean Ziegler, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food.
In a letter to ADL dated July 22, Ms. Arbour indicated that she disassociates herself "with any reference to concentration camps in such circumstances," but failed to explicitly condemn Mr. Ziegler's comments where he compared Israelis to Nazis and called the Gaza Strip "an immense concentration camp." Ms. Arbour indicated that she would not take any action to punish Mr. Ziegler for his conduct.
"We are disappointed that Louise Arbour appears to be unwilling to take action that would lead to Mr. Ziegler either offering his resignation or resigning at the request of the commission," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "Given her esteemed reputation and the respect she deservedly enjoys within the human rights community, we strongly believe that a public statement from Ms. Arbor making clear that Mr. Ziegler's vicious statements about the state of Israel severely compromise his post, would encourage him to choose the honorable option, and resign."
In her letter to ADL, Ms. Arbour cited U.N. procedures and resolutions guaranteeing "the independence of the mandate-holders" as the reason for her decision not to take action. She also indicated that when she asked Mr. Ziegler about the incident, he informed her that his participation in the Caravan for Justice for Palestine in Geneva was "solely in his personal capacity," and that Mr. Ziegler denies making the statements attributed to him. However, credible reports in the Swiss and international press attributed the remarks to Mr. Ziegler, and it was on that basis that he was condemned by the spokesman of U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.