Activists Call on UN To Fire Official Who Says Israel Does Not Have Right To Defend Itself

Francesca Albanese said Israeli response to Palestinian attacks is unjustified

The aftermath of a Palestinian terror attack on Israel and U.N. special rapporteur Francesca Albanese / Reuters and Twitter
April 11, 2023

A United Nations official tasked with overseeing an investigation into alleged Israeli war crimes publicly stated that the Jewish state does not have a right to defend itself against terrorism, leading to calls from international activists for the official to be fired.

Francesca Albanese, the U.N. special rapporteur for the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, claimed over the weekend that Israel's efforts to combat a deadly wave of Palestinian terror strikes are unjustified, writing on Twitter, "Israel has a right to defend itself, but can't claim it when it comes to the people it oppresses/whose lands it colonizes."

Her comments come amid a deadly spurt of Palestinian violence that has killed several Israeli civilians and put the nation on high alert. Albanese, who is overseeing the United Nations' investigation into alleged Israeli war crimes, is under fire from pro-Israel activists who accuse her of pushing her "relentless, systematic, and unhinged bias against Israel," according to a letter sent Tuesday by the International Legal Forum (ILF). The forum, a group of more than 4,000 lawyers, is calling on the United Nations to fire Albanese for her "anti-Semitism and virulent bias."

Albanese is "endorsing the murder of Israeli civilians, including children," the ILF wrote, according to a copy of the letter obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

Albanese has repeatedly claimed that "Israel is colonizing" Palestinian lands and employing "blatantly excessive and unjustified force" against Muslims. In her role as the U.N. special rapporteur, Albanese has often clashed with pro-Israel organizations and lent her support to the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, which wages economic warfare on Israel. Groups like ILF say that Albanese's anti-Israel bias discredits the United Nations and undermines what is supposed to be a neutral investigation into alleged Israeli war crimes. The Solomon-Observatory on Discrimination, an Italian-based NGO combating antisemitism, also endorsed the letter.

"It is unfathomable that such a statement would ever be made by a U.N. representative," the organization wrote.

Arsen Ostrovsky, the International Legal Forum's CEO, said, "Enough is enough: How much longer can the U.N., which professes at every chance its sacred commitment to combating racial hatred and intolerance, continue to turn its back to Albanese's relentless Jew-hatred and anti-Semitism?"

Albanese is no stranger to controversy. She has accused the "Jewish lobby" of controlling U.S. foreign policy, an age-old anti-Semitic canard, and compared Israelis to Nazis, according to ILF and NGO Monitor, a watchdog group.

In February, a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers called on the United Nations to cut ties with Albanese, citing her "strong bias against Israel."

"Ms. Albanese has repeatedly refused to condemn terrorist attacks against Israelis while continuing her condemnations of Israel," the lawmakers wrote. "For an official tasked with serving as an independent, neutral, and expert voice on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, her inexcusable silence against terrorism targeting Israelis and her outrageous and prejudicial remarks clearly reflect the irredeemable bias of her mandate."

The U.N. office overseeing Albanese's work did not respond to a request for comment.