Watching William Schabas interviewed on Israel’s Channel 2 News by anchor Danny Kushmaro, it was inescapable to this New York baby boomer how much the mutton-chopped, bespectacled law professor resembled the late Bob Keeshan, otherwise known as children’s TV host, Captain Kangaroo. But it’s not because of that benign image that I have concluded that Israel should not under any circumstances seek, as some have suggested, to recuse Schabas from his current role in charge of the UN War Crimes commission investigating Israel’s current operation in Gaza against Hamas.
Under Kushmaro’s patient, direct questioning, the creature Schabas most resembled was a deer caught in the headlights. Confronted with his recent statements calling for Israel’s current Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and its past president, Shimon Peres, to be prosecuted before the International Criminal Court for their participation in Operation Cast Lead, the subject of the mostly repudiated Goldstone Report, in Gaza in 2008, he told Kushmaro he was confident he would be able to maintain objectivity and put such sentiments aside in his new capacity. His answer was more than just unconvincing, it was downright creepy. Netanyahu was not the Prime Minister during Cast Lead and Peres, as President, held only a ceremonial office. Yes, Professor Schabas, lets prosecute the elders of Zion as well.
When asked by Kushmaro whether Hamas was a terror organization, Schabas again visibly stiffened, and then dodged the question by saying that it would be “inappropriate” for him to give an opinion on the issue.
It was apparently appropriate, however, for Schabas to complain during the very same interview about Israeli violations of international law. This occurred when Kushmaro succeeded in getting Schabas to actually admit that a double standard exists at the UN when it comes to prosecuting Israel for civilian deaths during a defensive operation but not going after others who have inflicted greater damage with less justification.. His “explanation’: Israel has gotten away with things too often in the Security Council, presumably because of the US veto.
Kushmaro deserves credit for exposing Schabas as someone posing as a neutral jurist whose hatred for Israel is too deep for him to successfully conceal. Clearly, through his own words, the anti-Semites who populate UN agencies like the Human Rights Commission have it in for Israel, and he considers himself the avenging angel. If Schabas is recused, those who appointed him will only choose someone more skillful at hiding his true mission. Let Schabas continue as Captain of this Kangaroo court. At least we can save the interview and play it back when the report is presented.