You’ve gotta love Anne Bayefsky. Don’t know her? Well she’s a Canadian unlikely to ever get an Order of Canada. Those go to chaps like William Schabas, OC, a fellow Canadian. Both Anne and William speak about human rights, Israel and the United Nations. The reason Anne hasn’t got an OC might be for her plain speaking: “Why couldn’t the UN . . . sponsor a conference on combating global anti-Semitism?” she asked this week in a jammed meeting room in the United Nations. “Because,” she told the audience, “the United Nations itself is the leading global purveyor of anti-Semitism.” As for William, he’s a hired hand of the UN’s legal pogrom demonizing Israel. You can take a boy like William and make him a human rights industry pro, but you can’t take the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) out of the boy.
Forty years ago William, a far left member of the New Left SDS, physically prevented the distinguished University of Pennsylvania professor Edward Banfield, an expert on urban poverty, from speaking at the University of Toronto. Many of us did things 40 years ago of which we are now heartily ashamed but I’m going to hazard a guess—and it’s only a guess—that in his heart William is not ashamed of his attempt to curtail free speech. He doesn’t sound like a person who knows the meaning of shame.
In spite of the many comments Schabas has made—at meetings such as the Russell tribunal on Palestine in 2012—stating his deep animus to Israel and Israel’s record (in his view) of crimes against humanity, he won’t recuse himself from heading the new impartial UN “inquiry” on Gaza. Schabas joked that while Archbishop Desmond Tutu wants Tony Blair in the dock of the International Criminal Court, speaking for himself “ . . . my favourite would be Netanyahu . . .” Favourite? Not Bashar al-Assad, you understand, not Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, not Omar al-Bashir of Sudan. Schabas thinks we’ve been a bit tough on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the unlamented former president of Iran, who spoke of Israel as “the stinking corpse of the Zionist regime.” Schabas dismisses him as “a provocative politician.” William’s not sure whether the terrorist group Hamas, who started the Gaza conflict by lobbying thousands of rockets at Israel, will be considered in his inquiry...William's Tutu biased (and therefore the perfect man for this "human rights" assignment).