by Barry Rubin
The key reason why Palmer is up for the job is that New Zealand former Prime Minister Helen Clark, whose hatred for Israel is almost unequalled among Western politicians, is now a high-ranking UN official who pushed for him. While nominally she might do so only to have a fellow New Zealander and a fellow Labour Party person, it is hard to believe that Clark would support anyone she expected might find in
Palmer himself, however, is considered to be a fair person who has never been heard to say anything about Arab-Israeli issues. But Helen Cook knows him better than I do and it is hard to believe she would pick anyone she thought might possibly conclude that
Actually, while it may seem Palmer was a successful politician he was only briefly a transitional prime minister, picked by a Labour party too split to agree on anyone else. In office, though, Palmer was unpopular because he is aloof, dull, has a high opinion of himself, and does not suffer fools gladly.
In earlier life, Palmer was a left-wing student newspaper editor. Many of the New Zealand Labour Party leaders were New Left activists in the 1960s and 1970s. While later considered a centrist in the New Zealand Labour Party, this is arguably the most left-wing social democratic party in the world.
His expertise in international law seems something of a pose, developed largely since leaving politics. Since his real expertise is not clear he is likely to depend on highly partisan advisors. Moreover, his party and country confronted
Thus, while Palmer would give the appearance of fairness and may, by his own lights, try to be genuinely balanced, it is likely that his commission would not give
After the farce of the Goldstone Commission, the UN needs to put a better face on its next crusade against
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal.
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