To: David Greene, NPR's Morning Edition
Re: William Schabas interview
Dear Mr. Greene,
I listened with great dismay to your August 25, 2014 interview with Prof. William Schabas.
You began strong, with the real potential to tell this story well, but ended painfully.
You had the opportunity to hold him accountable.
But you let him get off so easy it almost sounded like pandering.
Now, to your credit, you played a passionate critical quote from the Israeli UN Ambassador:
Choosing William Schabas to lead this council makes about as much sense as choosing Count Dracula to run the blood bank!Then you allowed him to respond. Here was his response:
The ambassador of Israel, he doesn't want this commission. He won't be happy with anybody. I'm obviously a lightening rod and a few of my previous statements have contributed to that, but he wouldn't be happy with anybody…. Because he's opposed to the Commission, he's opposed to the Human Rights Council, he's opposed to all the human rights mechanisms within the United Nations. That's his target. Perhaps I underestimated the venom that would be associated with my own appointment. But this is all to be expected, there is nothing surprising there. If there are other important governments around the world and more credible that come and say I'm not the right person, I'm going to be a little more attentive than I am to the Israeli permanent representative.In other words, True, I've said some anti-Israel things in the past but the Israeli government is unconcerned with human rights and with truth so we can dismiss their concerns.
Israel is unconcerned with human rights? That's so patently false it leaves one speechless. Yet I suppose if you repeat a lie often enough it becomes true?
Notice how he down-grades the Ambassador's title to "Permanent Representative", an extraordinary Freudian slip!!
Mr. Greene, if that's not bias, what is?
How come you didn't ask him why such bias doesn't disqualify him from this commission?
How come you didn't ask him to explain his widely publicized question,
Why are we going after the president of Sudan (at the ICC) for Darfur and not the president of Israel for Gaza?(Note: dovish Shimon Peres was Israel's President at the time!!)
How come you didn't ask him why he hasn't at the very least made comparable statements about the leaders of Hamas (a terrorist organization according to its neighbors Egypt and Israel, plus Australia, the European Union, Japan, the UK and the US, and banned in Jordan) who declare their pride that they target civilians with rockets, kidnap and murder, and bus bombs?
Or how about Iran, who are publicly proud of their role supplying Hamas with these rockets?
Because you are an excellent interviewer, it was particularly painful to hear you fall short of your usual high standard. This and reinforced the long-term perception among many Americans that NPR has a subtle but persistent anti-Israel bias.
PS - Schabas Shalom.
PPS - Want to sign the petition to dismiss Prof. Schabas from the Commission? Click here (but don't bother if you're not from an "important and credible country"... ;-).
PPPS – You might find this commentary useful. Also, see this. Also this.