Photo Credit: Daniel Cima
Commissioner James L. Cavallaro, President of the IACHR; to his left, Commissioner José de Jesús Orozco, April 3, 2016.

The Biden administration on Tuesday withdrew the candidacy of Law Prof. James Cavallaro, the co-founder and executive director of the University Network for Human Rights, to serve on the Organization of American States commission from 2024-2027 over his “inappropriate” statements.

On Friday, when it nominated Cavallaro, the State Department hailed him as a “leading scholar and practitioner of international law with deep expertise in the region as well as the Inter-American human rights system.”


But then, at a press briefing on Tuesday, State Dept. Spokesperson Ned Price was asked: “Professor Cavallaro made some pretty extraordinary statements about US elected officials, President Biden, and Israel, including that Israel is an apartheid state, and that [Democratic Minority Leader in Congress] Hakeem Jeffries was bought and controlled by the pro-Israel lobby. He wrote of then-Candidate Biden that he’s a senile gaffe machine. Did you know about these tweets when you announced his candidacy?”

Good question.

Price responded: “Let me make a point that should be obvious, but it’s worth making nonetheless. His statements clearly do not reflect US policy. They are not a reflection of what we believe, and they are inappropriate, to say the least. We have decided to withdraw our nomination of this individual’s nomination to serve on the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. And I think, judging by some of the statements that have since been uncovered, it is fair to conclude that we were not aware of the statements and writings that you’ve produced.”

The shocked reporter asked: “Hold on, just on that? I first became aware of the withdrawal about 90 minutes ago or two hours ago. Can you say exactly when? I understand he was here in the building today or at least had a meeting – when did you inform him that you were withdrawing his nomination?”

Price said: “I became aware of it only very recently.”

Another reporter interjected: “No, no, no, not when you became aware – when did you make the decision? Because the person who asked the question just now didn’t seem to know that the candidacy had been withdrawn.”

The embattled Ned Price insisted, “We came to this conclusion today, and we informed the professor today, within recent hours.”

It was suspicious, to say the least. But, you know, gift horses and their mouths – let’s just accept this one and be happy we don’t have Prof. Cavallaro in this administration. According to Wiki, the man checks all the boxes of the left-wing bastions of academia: he teaches human rights at Wesleyan University, where he is a director of the Minor in Human Rights Advocacy, as well as the Wesleyan ACTS for Human Rights program. He frequently teaches at Yale Law School, and the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). He also teaches at Columbia Law School and the University of California Berkeley. Oh, and before he launched his University Network, Cavallaro founded the International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic at Stanford Law School.

Cavallaro posted a series of tweets on Tuesday that makes us all heave a sigh of relief he gets to stay outside any position of power in this administration. He did not waste any time on his insults to Biden but cut straight to the Jews: “This morning, the US State Dept informed me that it would withdraw my nomination to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, because of my view that the conditions in Israel/Palestine meet the definition of apartheid under international human rights law. I reminded State Dept. officials that HRW, amnesty, B’tselem, and Human Rights HLS have issued reports naming the conditions in Israel/Palestine as apartheid. I then declined to sign a joint statement announcing the withdrawal of my nomination, as I played no part in making this decision.”

He then suggested: “The withdrawal of my appointment comes on the heels of the Kennedy School withdrawal of a fellowship offered to [recently retired executive director of Human Rights Watch] Ken Roth due to his advocacy for human rights in Israel/Palestine (a decision that has since been reversed).”

All of the above notwithstanding, the next question to Ned Price on Tuesday cut to the chase regarding Israeli policy on the Palestinian Authority: “The Israeli channel 13 claims that Israeli officials at the highest level informed the Biden administration at the highest level that every time there is going to be an attack, they will expand the settlements. They said that they were actually going to legalize 14 settlements, not nine; but due to your pressure or whatever they backtracked to nine.”

Price came ready for that one, and delivered his response unerringly: “We are opposed to unilateral measures that have the potential to exacerbate tensions and that can move us further away from a negotiated two-state solution. We are opposed to any unilateral measures that, put simply, can be an obstacle to peace. There is no question in the minds of our Israeli interlocutors, I would imagine, about where America stands. We made that very clear in our statements yesterday. You probably saw the multilateral statement that we released today with some of our European allies as well.”

Yadda, yadda, yadda. Hurry up and build those settlements, Netanyahu government, before the Americans get nasty.


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