Public Comment

Press Release: ZOA Praises U.S. Cong. Brad Sherman For Call To UC Berkeley: Reconsider Award To Former UN Official And Israel-Basher [sic] Mary Robinson

From the Zionist Organization of America
Tuesday January 10, 2012 - 08:24:00 AM

NEW YORK, January 10, 2012-- The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) strongly praised U.S. Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) today for urging the University of California, Berkeley to reconsider its decision to give Mary Robinson, formerly the president of Ireland and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, its "2012 Public Health Hero" award. Congressman Sherman stated that his recommendation was based on Robinson's "record of bias and animus against Israel." 

In a letter to Berkeley Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau on January 4, 2012, Congressman Sherman expressed many concerns about the way in which Ms. Robinson carried out her responsibilities as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, including the following: 

· "Under Robinson's leadership, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights issued wildly skewed reports on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, unfairly painting Israel as the aggressor and the Palestinian Arabs as innocent victims." 

· "Robinson blamed Israel for the outbreak of Palestinian violence during the Second Intifada." 

· "When Robinson allowed the Durban process to be hijacked by anti-Semites and those who deny Israel's right to exist, she betrayed her responsibilities as High Commissioner and enabled enormous undeserved damage to Israel's international image." 

· "Robinson's' stewardship of the infamous Durban Conference allowed hostility toward Israel to proliferate on the global arena. . . . A conference convened to combat the scourge of racism became an arena for some of the most anti-Israel, anti-Jewish voices in modern history." 

· "Rather than use her leadership in a constructive and objective way, Robinson adopted the narrative of Israel's most vitriolic enemies." 

Congressman Sherman informed the Chancellor: "As a Representative from California, I believe that the University of California, Berkeley, a public institution with a global reputation of excellence and quality, should be upholding that reputation by honoring someone untainted by such a record of bias and animus against Israel" (emphasis added). 

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, "The ZOA applauds our great friend, U.S. Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA), for urging UC Berkeley not to honor Mary Robinson because of her disgraceful and shameful record on Israel. Congressman Sherman has been a leader in ensuring that our colleges and universities respond effectively to campus anti-Semitism, including vicious Israel-bashing that demonizes and delegitimizes Israel. We are grateful to Congressman Sherman for speaking out against UC Berkeley's poor choice in deciding to honor Mary Robinson, and urge the university to act on the Congressman's advice and rescind the decision." 

About the ZOA 

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is the oldest and one of the largest pro-Israel organizations in the United States. With offices around the country and in Israel, the ZOA educates the public, elected officials, the media, and college/high school students about the truth of the ongoing Arab war against Israel. The ZOA works to strengthen U.S.-Israel relations through educational activities, public affairs programs and our work on Capitol Hill, and to combat anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias in the media, in textbooks, in schools and on college campuses. Under the leadership of such presidents as Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, Rabbis Abba Hillel Silver and Stephen Wise, and current President Morton A. Klein, the ZOA has been - and continues to be - on the front lines of Jewish activism. The ZOA is a 501(c) (3) non-partisan organization.