Geneva, May 10th, 2022 – ECI Founding Director Tomas Sandell called upon the democracies of the world to reject the current UN Commission of Inquiry into alleged Israeli human rights abuses and war crimes during the last war between Israel and Palestinian terrorist organizations in the Gaza strip in May 2021. The inquiry, which is expected to issue its first report at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva next month, has received harsh criticism.
Quoting the phrase in the Jewish Haggadah text which is read aloud at the Passover Seder celebration each year, he said: – “in every generation they rise up against us”, giving the current inquiry as the latest example of anti-Zionism at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.
“Why is it only the Jewish state which has its own agenda item at the UN Human Rights Council?” Sandell asked. “Why is it only Israel which is being scrutinized by a special UN inquiry? According to the IHRA working definition of antisemitism, this type of ‘singling out’ and applying double standards, demanding of Israel something which you would not expect of any other UN member state, is simply antisemitism”, he said. “It needs to stop. Coming back to the old phrase in the Haggadah”, he added: – “yes, they try to kill us, but they fail, now let´s march on”, alluding to the ‘March of Life’ which hosted the event.
Joining the rally in Geneva were, among many others, the Permanent Representative of Germany to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Katharina Stasch, and the Israeli Permanent Representative, Meirav Eilon Shahar, who also spoke at the event. Ambassador Shahar thanked the organizer, German based NGO March of Life, and co-organizer European Coalition for Israel for standing up for Israel in capitals around Europe. Speaking about the exceptional rapprochement between Israel and many of her Muslim neighbours, she called on Christians, Jews and Muslims to work together for peace in a true spirit of the Abraham Accords.
The march, which began at the Old Synagogue in Geneva and ended just a few blocks away from the UN Headquarters in Geneva, also made a stop at Palais Wilson, where Meirav Eilon Shahar and Tomas Sandell spoke alongside Patricia Bidaux of the Grand Council of Geneva. The historic Palais Wilson building was once the headquarters of the League of Nations and is today the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The March of Life movement was assisted by a network of Swiss based NGO´s led by Richard Pittet, who coordinated the event and also spoke at each station. Founding President of March of Life, Jobst Bittner, who was unable to attend in person, sent a recorded video message in which he encouraged the audience to continue to remove the ‘veil of silence’ over past and current relationships with the Jewish people in our societies, by acknowledging and dealing with the antisemitism of the past by confronting the expressions of antisemitism today, as well as in relation to the Jewish State of Israel.