UN researcher reports UN session on Israel that never happened
by Hillel Neuer
Nicola Perugini, a UN researcher in the Palestinian territories for UNESCO and UNIFEM (the UN women’s fund), and who has academic positions at Bard College’s Al Quds program and at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, should be removed from his UN and scholarly posts on grounds of utter incompetence.
His Feb. 22 Al Jazaeera article on the latest UNHRC report on Israeli settlements tells us all about a session in January which, in fact, never took place:
“At the end of January, the 22nd session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) focused on the ‘Human rights situation in Palestine and other Arab territories’…”
“The session welcomed a report produced by an international fact-finding mission on the implications of the Israeli settlements…”
“The session was a new chapter in the protracted chain of condemnations issued by international bodies against Israel’s violations of human rights and international law…”
Israel “preemptively isolated itself by boycotting this UNHRC session…”
“[T]he session was not good publicity for Israel…”
“[T]he fact that Israel boycotted this 22nd session should not surprise us. Tactics are also a weapon of the state, not merely a weapon of the weak.”
Except Perugini’s session could not have focused on anything, welcomed any report, opened any chapter, been boycotted by anyone, or created any bad publicity for Israel, for the simple reason that it never existed.
Perugini, the expert consultant and researcher in the Palestinian territories for two major UN agencies — including for the UNESCO-funded “Decolonizing Architecture” project that imagines various ways to take apart Israeli settlements — appears to have conflated three completely different things into one giant mush that is a figment of his imagination: (a) the settlements report itself; (b) an unrelated Universal Periodic Review meeting on Israel; (c) and the actual 22nd session of the UNHRC, which begins on Monday, Feb. 25.
The incident underscores the shoddy scholarship and disregard for facts that characterizes much of the anti-Israel propaganda produced by many of the researchers who write UN reports on Israel, including the Goldstone Report.
Will UNESCO and UNIFEM disclose which Palestinian matters have been handled by Perugini? Are they in the least troubled by his politicization and incompetence?
Is this the kind of shoddy scholarship Bard College is trying to promote through its Palestinian summer school?