WASHINGTON, Feb. 15 (AP) — The Biden administration withdrew its pick for a human rights activist at the Organization of American States after he called Israel an “apartheid state” and blasted top House Democrats for being “bought off. Buy. Control” “by pro-Israel groups.
The United States on Friday announced James Cavallaro as an independent member of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the watchdog body overseeing the Americas, hailing him as a “leading scholar and practitioner of international law with deep expertise in the region.” “.
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But on Tuesday, the State Department said his candidacy was rescinded after an article in Algemeiner, a Jewish publication in New York, revealed Cavallaro’s history of publishing posts critical of Israel and U.S. support for the Jewish state.
In a December 2022 tweet, which was deleted as Algemeiner’s article was prepared for publication, Cavallaro accused House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., of pro-Israel claims, using language that many Jews considered anti-Semitic tropes. guest.
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“Buy. Buy. Control,” Cavallaro wrote next to a link to an article about Rep. Jeffries’ donations from AIPAC and other pro-Israel groups.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said Tuesday that the Biden administration was not aware of Cavallaro’s past comments about Israel before announcing his candidacy, adding that the comments did not reflect U.S. policy and were “inappropriate.” .
Cavallaro, who served on the committee from 2014 to 2017, dismissed his claims of insensitivity. He said that his views on Israel are fully consistent with international human rights organizations and institutions, and will never affect his work to advance human rights in the Americas.
“Obviously, I hit a nerve,” he said in an interview after meeting with the State Department on Tuesday.
He also pointed out that elected commissioners serve in a personal capacity and are not supposed to represent the foreign policy views of the governments backing their candidacy.
He said that he discussed with the State Department his active social media presence prior to his candidacy being announced, if not specific tweets, and committed to cleaning up his timeline and rigorously refreshing from speaking out if elected to serve on the commission.
Cavallaro’s short-lived candidacy recalled the bombing of Harvard University’s decision to cancel a fellowship it had offered to another human rights activist for similar criticism of Israel . Until last year, Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch (HRW), was hired as a fellow at Harvard’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Kennedy School.
But that proposal was dropped weeks later, with Ross citing HRW’s long record of criticizing Israel for possible war crimes against the Palestinians.
According to an Algemeiner scan of the now-deleted social media of Cavallaro, the co-founder and executive director of the University Human Rights Network who has taught at Harvard, Stanford and Yale Law School, he also accused Israel of committing the crime. “Atrocities” activities.
The 34 member nations of the Organization of American States will vote on his candidacy for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights at a meeting this summer. (Associated Press)
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