The United Nations Launches Its Newest, and Most Expensive, Anti-Israel Initiative

Dec. 22 2021

In May, the UN Human Rights Council held a special session to discuss its favorite topic: the imagined crimes of the Jewish state. The session concluded by passing a typical resolution condemning Israel for war crimes, apartheid, ethnic cleansing, and so forth, while making no mention whatsoever of Hamas or the missile war it had recently launched. But it also created an “ongoing independent, international commission of inquiry”—naturally to be led by anti-Israel activists—to look into the matter. Anne Bayefsky explains what makes this anti-Israel UN resolution different from so many others:

Extraordinarily, the budget for funding the “inquiry” only surfaced four months after the vote creating it was taken, so voters did not know its financial ramifications. Quietly posted after the fact on the UN website at the end of September 2021, the budget manifests a wild grab for an unprecedented amount of cash and human resources. All of it is to come from the UN’s regular budget. . . . It is currently set to cost at least $11,812,700 total in its first three years, and $5,475,600 each year thereafter.

Here is another shocking component. The Israel inquisition is the largest boondoggle in the history of the UN human-rights system: it will fund 790 days of travel for experts and staff every year from 2022 on—forever. Those are two UN employees provided food and accommodation and airfare to roam around demonizing the Jewish state every day of every year. That is also more travel days than any of the Council’s current human-rights investigations about anything, anywhere.

Especially insidious is an amount the UN has budgeted for lawfare. There will be four full-time lawyers, plus a “forensic expert” to “report on medico-legal issues,” and a “military advisor” to pronounce on “de-jure command responsibility” and liaise with law-enforcement officials. Lawfare in the UN-Palestinian context will consist of falsifying, misrepresenting, and abusing law to criminalize (a) the self-defense of Jews and the Jewish state, and (b) Jews living, cultivating, or even being on land whenever or wherever Arabs object.

In effect, the budget of this UN inquisition funds the creation of a law firm inside the UN dedicated to manufacturing charges and mounting a global chase to arrest and incarcerate Israeli Jews.

Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: BDS, Lawfare, UNHRC, United Nations


Leaked Emails Point to an Iranian Influence Operation That Reaches into the U.S. Government

Sept. 27 2023

As the negotiations leading up to the 2015 nuclear deal began in earnest, Tehran launched a major effort to cultivate support abroad for its positions, according to a report by Jay Solomon:

In the spring of 2014, senior Iranian Foreign Ministry officials initiated a quiet effort to bolster Tehran’s image and positions on global security issues—particularly its nuclear program—by building ties with a network of influential overseas academics and researchers. They called it the Iran Experts Initiative. The scope and scale of the IEI project has emerged in a large cache of Iranian government correspondence and emails.

The officials, working under the moderate President Hassan Rouhani, congratulated themselves on the impact of the initiative: at least three of the people on the Foreign Ministry’s list were, or became, top aides to Robert Malley, the Biden administration’s special envoy on Iran, who was placed on leave this June following the suspension of his security clearance.

In March of that year, writes Solomon, one of these officials reported that “he had gained support for the IEI from two young academics—Ariane Tabatabai and Dina Esfandiary—following a meeting with them in Prague.” And here the story becomes particularly worrisome:

Tabatabai currently serves in the Pentagon as the chief of staff for the assistant secretary of defense for special operations, a position that requires a U.S. government security clearance. She previously served as a diplomat on Malley’s Iran nuclear negotiating team after the Biden administration took office in 2021. Esfandiary is a senior advisor on the Middle East and North Africa at the International Crisis Group, a think tank that Malley headed from 2018 to 2021.

Tabatabai . . . on at least two occasions checked in with Iran’s Foreign Ministry before attending policy events, according to the emails. She wrote to Mostafa Zahrani, [an Iranian scholar in close contact with the Foreign Ministry and involved in the IEI], in Farsi on June 27, 2014, to say she’d met Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal—a former ambassador to the U.S.—who expressed interest in working together and invited her to Saudi Arabia. She also said she’d been invited to attend a workshop on Iran’s nuclear program at Ben-Gurion University in Israel. . . .

Elissa Jobson, Crisis Group’s chief of advocacy, said the IEI was an “informal platform” that gave researchers from different organizations an opportunity to meet with IPIS and Iranian officials, and that it was supported financially by European institutions and one European government. She declined to name them.

Read more at Semafor

More about: Iran nuclear deal, U.S. Foreign policy