WMR has learned from UN sources that the campaign by the Israel Lobby in the United States to discredit former Irish President and UN Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson was aided and abetted by a long-time UN liaison "consultant" who has worked for both Secretary Generals Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-moon.
The consultant attempted to put the imprimatur of the UN on a number of news stories that were placed in the major media. On May 10, former U.S. ambassador to the UN John Bolton, who is now a senior fellow with the neocon citadel, the American Enterprise Institute, penned a screed against Robinson in the Wall Street Journal that accused Robinson of tolerating an anti-Semitic, anti-Israel, and anti-American platform at the World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa in 2001.
Major Jewish organizations in the United States criticized President Obama for awarding Robinson the Presidential Medal of Freedom at a White House ceremony yesterday. Obama was also criticized by the minions of the Israel Lobby for awarding the same medal to retired South African Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The same Israeli Lobby interests were also at the forefront of criticism of former President Jimmy Carter for his defense of the Palestinians and his likening their situation to blacks in apartheid South Africa. Carter was likewise accused of "anti-Semitism," a rather familiar refrain from apologists for Israel's brand of apartheid practiced against Palestinians and Israeli Arabs alike.
The program to discredit Robinson and Tutu may have had the opposite effect of what Jewish organizations and the Israel Lobby intended. The venal barrage against Robinson and Tutu, both of whom are highly thought of among UN diplomats, has created a backlash against both the Israel Lobby in the United States and Israel, according to our UN sources.
The actions against Robinson and Tutu are not helped by the fact that the Israeli government is refusing to cooperate with a UN probe into Israeli war crimes in Gaza.
Critics of the Durban conference cite the discussions held there about the nature of Zionism as a racist philosophy. If the case of former U.S. Representative and 2008 Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney is any indication, Israel has institutionalized racism. After McKinney and her party of human rights campaigners were arrested in international waters in June for trying to deliver critical humanitarian supplies to the beleaguered people of Gaza, McKinney was put into a prison in Ashdod, assigned prisoner number 88794, and segregated into a cell with female Ethiopian economic refugees. And if that bit of Jim Crow tactics with a Kosher flair was not enough, McKinney told WMR that she was subjected by her Israeli jailers to everything "but a full body search."
WMR has also learned that Israel's El Al Airlines is doing a booming business in transporting expelled critics of Israel back to their home countries. Last year, American Professor Norman Finkelstein, a critic of Israeli policies, was expelled from Israel after being detained for 24 hours. Last year, Israel also expelled American Professor Richard Falk, the UN's special rapporteur on the Palestinian territories, after being detained in a shabby Israeli prison cell. Finkelstein and Falk are both Jewish.
Other travelers to Israel, including Americans of Arab descent and those supporting the Palestinian cause, are routinely taken into custody by Israeli security forces, imprisoned, and expelled on the first available El Al flight.