The United Nations Human Rights Council was recently the setting for a speech that even a top-notch satirist would struggle to produce, as the Israeli envoy started criticising Pakistan’s treatment of minorities, crackdowns on peaceful protest, and use of state violence. While Pakistan is far from perfect on these fronts, Israel, which commits war crimes and other violations of international law every day, has no right to claim any moral high ground. Indeed, for every critique leveled at Pakistan, we would only need to say the word “Palestine” to remind how pathetic Israel’s own human rights record is.
From all-out stealing of people’s land to state-approved lynch mobs, Israel has been involved in every sort of human rights violation in its assault on the Palestinian people. But what else is to be expected of a country that has had literal terrorist leaders among its former prime ministers — almost all of them unrepentant — and even today is led by Likud, a political party that evolved from the Irgun terrorist group and has never condemned Irgun’s attacks, which included murdering children. In fact, Israel today is littered with monuments to terrorists who were once condemned by the country’s founding fathers. Even today, Israeli security forces regularly attack journalists and civilians, then try to cover up these attacks. Even when cover-ups fail miserably, no one faces any real punishment.
Soon after Deputy Permanent Representative Adi Farjon Israel made her comments in Geneva, the Foreign Office in Islamabad released a statement noting Israeli excesses against the Palestinians, and slamming the Israeli statement for going against the UN’s Universal Periodic Report, which earned Pakistan some praise. The Foreign Office also questioned the need and timing of the Israeli comments, since the country has rarely commented on events in Pakistan before this. But the strongest part of the statement was also the most blunt: “Given Israel’s long history of oppression of Palestinians, Pakistan can certainly do without its advice on protecting human rights.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 13th, 2023.