May 21, 2024

Silencing Critics of Israel: Biden Pulls Nomination of Human Rights Lawyer For Decrying Apartheid

Silencing Critics of Israel: Biden Pulls Nomination of Human Rights Lawyer For Decrying Apartheid

This is a rush transcript. Copy may possibly not be in its last type.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, I’m Amy Goodman. Leaders in the human rights planet are criticizing the Biden administration for withdrawing the nomination of a popular human rights legal professional from a write-up about the attorney’s earlier opinions criticizing Israel. Final Friday, the State Division announced the nomination of James Cavallaro to the Inter-American Fee on Human Legal rights. He had previously served on the Commission from 2014 to 2017, such as a period of time as its president. This was all through the Obama administration, the Obama-Biden administration. Cavallaro is a broadly respected human rights attorney, cofounder and government director of the University Community for Human Legal rights. Previously this 7 days, the Point out Department withdrew Cavallaro’s nomination after reviews emerged he explained Israel as an apartheid condition and had criticized Residence Minority Chief Hakeem Jeffries’s close ties to AIPAC, the American Israel General public Affairs Committee. This is Point out Office spokesperson Ned Selling price speaking Tuesday.

NED Selling price: His statements obviously do not replicate U.S. coverage. They are not a reflection of what we imagine and they are inappropriate, to say the least. We have resolved to withdraw our nomination of this personal from—to withdraw his nomination to serve on the Inter-American Fee on Human Legal rights.

AMY GOODMAN: The Biden administration’s final decision to withdraw James Cavallaro’s nomination has sparked outrage within the human legal rights group. Agnès Callamard, the Secretary Normal of Amnesty International, condemned what she known as “A point out driven attack on a amazing human legal rights law firm mainly because of his look at on Israel apartheid.” She went on to say, “The U.S. federal government has not engaged with the lawful and empirical bases of positions on Israel apartheid. Alternatively it is censoring, shutting down debates, and threatening.”

Omar Shakir, who is the Israel and Palestine Director at Human Rights View, claimed the go “suggests that for the Condition Department, believing that Palestinians are worthy of basic legal rights disqualifies one from serving on a human legal rights human body. Shameful and nonetheless U.S. overseas policy in a nutshell.”

James Cavallaro has grow to be just the most up-to-date figure to reduce or risk shedding a place thanks to his criticism of Israel. Last 12 months, the dean at Harvard University’s Kennedy University of Federal government vetoed a fellowship for former Human Rights Watch executive director Kenneth Roth about his criticism of Israel’s human rights file. Below public stress, Harvard not long ago reversed its final decision and Ken Roth is at Harvard Kennedy University now.

We are joined now by James Cavallaro, in Los Angeles, where by he is Visiting Professor at the UCLA University of Legislation. Also teaches human rights at Wesleyan University. Welcome to Democracy Now!, Jim. Thanks so significantly for staying with us. Can you explain what took place? Initially, they are praising you and then they are withdrawing your nomination from the Inter-American Fee on Human Rights that you had previously served as president of.

JAMES CAVALLARO: Yeah, it actually was rather a turn of functions. Many thanks for possessing me on your software, Amy. On Friday, the Point out Office publicly declared that they experienced preferred me after an inner system to be the U.S. nationwide applicant to serve as an independent skilled—and let me underscore that it’s very important—as an impartial pro on the Inter-American Fee on Human Legal rights. As you mentioned, I experienced the privilege of serving on the Inter-American Fee in the previous as a outcome of the nomination of the then Obama-Biden administration.

So on Friday, they problem a assertion. They chat about my history, my expertise of Latin The usa, my fluency in other languages, et cetera, all elements in their deciding on me to be the applicant. Which is Friday. On Monday, I am contacted by a reporter for a compact outlet who has absent by my Twitter account and pulled up tweets of mine essential of Israeli governmental procedures that sum to apartheid and also essential of the job of funds in politics, in certain through AIPAC and its donations to candidates who then in convert, regretably, I would say present go over or minimize or eliminate any oversight by the United States authorities, that contributes $4 billion a calendar year to Israel, of its human legal rights document.

As a end result of people tweets, there’s some interior discussion within just Condition and perhaps above Point out. This is yet again on Monday. The journalist contacts me, contacts the Condition Department, publishes an posting I feel Monday afternoon. On Tuesday morning, I am named by folks at the Point out Department and then by the ambassador to the Corporation of American States and knowledgeable that the Point out Section is withdrawing my nomination. And it is built distinct to me that it is since of the tweets and the statements that you indicated, about my characterization of the scenario in Israel and Palestine as apartheid and the critique of the function of AIPAC funding in U.S. politics.

Permit me underscore two points, if I could, Amy. Initial, the part of a commissioner on the Inter-American Fee is not as consultant of the United States, if you are a U.S. nationwide, or agent of Mexico if you’re a Mexican national, and so forth, for the states in the Americas. It is as an unbiased specialist. The explanation why they chose me is mainly because for 3-as well as many years I have been an independent analyst, qualified. I have documented human legal rights largely in Latin The usa but also in other components of the environment, such as Israel and Palestine. Which is the initially essential stage.

The next important stage is that the conclusion here, what it in result does, is it needs loyalty to a U.S. position on what is taking place in Israel and Palestine that is completely out of sync with what just about every big human legal rights organization has mentioned. But notwithstanding it remaining out of sync, it is now in influence a requirement not just for service in the U.S. federal government but for assistance as an impartial skilled.

The last issue I would say is, my sights dependent on my observation, my visits to Israel and Palestine, are entirely regular with the views of Ken Roth, who was on your method when his fellowship was rescinded by the Kennedy School and then reversed Human Rights Look at Amnesty Worldwide the leading Israeli human rights corporation B’Tselem Al-Haq the Harvard Human Rights Application and some others who have documented. What a human legal rights activist and practitioner and scholar and professional does is doc problems, examine individuals disorders to global human legal rights expectations and get in touch with out violations. And you cannot decide and pick states. No one receives a free of charge pass. The U.S. doesn’t get a free of charge pass. Israel doesn’t get a free pass. The Palestinian Authority doesn’t get a free of charge go. Egypt. You could go on. No a single will get a no cost go. That’s human legal rights documentation. That’s what it has to be.

AMY GOODMAN: You talked about Ken Roth, the former executive director at Human Rights View for nearly 30 several years. He tweeted about your circumstance indicating, “Biden’s dropping of a applicant for a Latin American human legal rights publish since he criticizes the Israeli government’s apartheid—a entirely mainstream position for any human rights defender—suggests that only Israeli apologists are satisfactory.” Again, as you mentioned, past thirty day period the Harvard Kennedy Faculty restored Ken Roth’s fellowship after initially rescinding it over his criticism of Israeli human rights abuses. He appeared on Democracy Now! to warn towards the chilling outcome of Harvard’s first determination.

KEN ROTH: This is a really significant dilemma. It’s not just a problem for me personally. This is not impeding my job in a substantial way. But I think about, initially of all, the young academics who do not have the visibility that I do, who are likely to just take from this lesson the see that if you touch Israel, if you criticize Israel, that can be a occupation-killing move. You will get canceled. And that is a disastrous sign to mail.

AMY GOODMAN: To to see that whole job interview, you can go to Again, he is now at the Harvard Kennedy Faculty simply because there was such worldwide outcry, Harvard caved and reoffered him the position.

Now I want to check with you, Jim Cavallaro, about Sarah Margon, who was nominated to serve as Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Legal rights, and Labor. Then she came beneath intensive criticism from Senate Republicans, most notably Jim Risch of Idaho, for past tweets purportedly displaying she supported BDS, the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions motion. Can you respond to that?

JAMES CAVALLARO: Certainly. Let me initial say that Ken designed an intriguing position about young academics. We are looking at ideal now the unfair pressures that Professor Lara Sheehi is struggling at George Washington University. Simply because of her defense of the rights of Palestinians, she’s struggling with I consider spurious accusations and she’s beneath a major total of pressure. So permit me just say that what Ken is speaking about is quite serious. And I, like Ken, can maybe more—because of his stature in the area of human rights—I have a system. I have associations with top establishments. Wesleyan University. I train at Yale Law University. I train at UCLA. I teach at Columbia Regulation Faculty. And still, this has been a really difficult expertise.

AMY GOODMAN: You are a longtime professor at Stanford Law College.

JAMES CAVALLARO: Of course, I also taught at Harvard and Stanford regulation faculties. The other problem you experienced was about Sarah Margon?


JAMES CAVALLARO: Just to entire with her, you have a predicament in which, again, her positions, her mentioned positions, performing for Human Legal rights Look at on Israel and Palestine really do not square with U.S. overseas coverage, which all over again is out of line—the check out of the United States is a non-mainstream look at. It is an severe view. It is not the the greater part see of all those who have documented ailments in Israel and Palestine.

It is probably well worth flagging in this article, if I could, what we’re speaking about, there is a legal definition of apartheid. It is domination by 1 group, a person racial group or ethnic team, around a further. That is pretty very clear in terms of land confiscations, in conditions of expansions of settlements, in phrases of the creating permits that are denied to Palestinians, the voting legal rights that are denied to Palestinians, flexibility of movement that is denied to Palestinians, which freeway you can be on. You can’t be on it if you are Palestinian. You just cannot get a creating allow. The predicament in Gaza. Et cetera, et cetera. Human Rights View set out a dense report documenting this. So did Amnesty. So have other groups.

But with Sarah Margon, her place was to serve in State, but with a aim on human rights. That man or woman should be a human rights qualified. That is problematic when there’s a litmus exam on Israel and Palestine which is not consistent with human rights, which is needed in order to provide. It is truthfully even more concerning when it is a litmus test as nicely to provide as an impartial specialist. I would not have represented the United States authorities and I would have experienced definitely no remit above Israel and Palestine! The Inter-American Commission oversees human rights in the western hemisphere. Which is the other hemisphere, Israel and Palestine. So the growth, sad to say, of the regions in which one has to abide by U.S. policy, even as a human legal rights activist, even in Latin The usa, is actually, actually regarding.

AMY GOODMAN: We are going to keep on to observe this. Jim Cavallaro, we want to thank you so a great deal for remaining with us, Professor at Wesleyan, Visiting Professor at UCLA School of Regulation. Prior to that, taught at Harvard, at Stanford Regulation School for lots of yrs. The Biden administration just withdrew his nomination to serve on the Inter-American Commission of Human Legal rights, which he presently served on from 2014 to 2017, and was president of, for a time period of that time. Upcoming up, we converse with a Brazilian indigenous chief about Lula’s trip to Washington and Bolsonaro committing genocide in the Amazon. Stay with us.