The UNs Israel obsession and why its detrimental to Human Rights everywhere
The Gatestone institute is one of the foremost foreign policy institutes in the United States. The author systematically takes apart the UNHRC as an anti-israel, biased, obsessed, Orwellian organization that exists to keep the people who need to be punished immune from punishment. Like many of my previous articles he states the sheer number of resolutions passed against Israel, the Goldstone report, the control of the UNHRC by countries who are less than desirable, and the protest (the buzzer that demands the person with the floor stop speaking) that happens when someone gets up and criticize an abusive state.
The opinion piece, while incredibly harsh, is also accurate in its depictions of the UNHRC and the UN as a whole. The author echoes the sentiments of past articles that the organization is over obsessed with the state of Israel. The author uses an interesting analogy, that the UNHRC is similar to the government in 1984 (the book). He says that the UNHRC does everything it can to make sure human rights violators aren’t condemned but Israel is condemned just because. I agree with his assessment, there are situations where Israel does something and is condemned by the UNHRC, but Egypt did the same thing and isn’t condemned for it and neither is Syria or ISIS who have also taken similar action against the Palestinian people. The article takes a decidedly negative stance on the UNHRC and I agree that the organization is at best cynical and at worst oxymoronic and detrimental to human rights everywhere.
UN Watch is an NGO that measures the successfulness of the UN by its own charter. As an organization they are brutally honest and fair in their criticism of the UN and various countries in the UN. The part of their website that I am choosing to show is the part relating to the UNHRC, the council according to UNW is no better than its predecessor. UNW regularly criticizes the inclusion of Cuba, China, Russia, and Saudi Arabia into the UNHRC and stood as the strongest opponent in their successful campaign to make sure Iran, Sudan, and Syria where not on the ballot in recent years. They catalog all of the resolutions made by the UNHRC and are willing to call out what they see as an anti-Israel bias that undermines human rights. They cite as evidence for this the inclusion of many countries that are hostile to Israel and have poor human rights records, the fact that between 2006-2010 the commission condemned countries 33 times, six concerned Burma and North Korea the rest, Israel, and the fact that it has never criticized Hamas or Hezbollah, only Israel. Finally that the commission believes in half of the Goldstone Report, which UNW believes to be biased and wrong.
Many countries on the UNHRC have labeled UN watch as pro-Israel though I see it differently. I think that because the council has passed so many resolutions against Israel that though UNW is opposed to the number of the resolutions (though at times it certainly opposes the content) it appears as if they are overwhelmingly pro-Israel even though all they want is a more even distribution of condemnations and action by the UNHRC as well as a better electoral process for new members that makes sure many of the worlds abusers of human rights can’t be apart of the apparatus for condemning human rights abusers. I believe that the facts listed on their website more than speak for themselves when it comes to showing the UN’s obsession towards condemning the state of Israel.
This op-ed from The Guardian speaks to the controversial decision by the Australian government to continue to back Israel before the UN. Many criticized the decision saying that it undermined the Australian governments wish for a peaceful two-state solution. However, the writer says that it was good to stick up for Israel because by having anti-Israel resolutions without resolutions condemning Hamas or the Palestinian leadership that within itself undermines a two-state solution by alienating Israel. The writer goes on to say that the past two UN general secretaries have criticized the UN for continuing to condemn Israel. The author also recognizes that by only condemning Israel you give tacit approval to the Palestinians for doing things such as lobbing rockets at Israeli civilians, squandering away billions in aid money to build military capabilities, and allegedly holding Nuremberg-style rallies (circa 1933-38) at Al-Quds University, Palestine’s main university.
The point is similar to the main, overall point of my project except for one new thing that the author keenly points out. That only condemning Israel is actually detrimental to any peaceful solution to the “Palestinian” problem. By singling out Israel and ignoring the similar violations of the Palestinians the UN is following with tradition and telling Israel that it cannot be an unbiased middleman in any negotiations for peace. This undermines any internationally backed peace effort. A good example of this bias is that only Israel is condemned for the problems of the Palestinians. For example, Egypt calls Hamas a terrorist organization, and has a similar blockade of Gaza set up as Israel does but only the Israeli blockade gets condemned. In addition the Palestinian people are suffering greatly in the Syrian conflict, which within itself has been so rarely condemned by the UN thanks to China, Russia, and Syria’s Islamic and Arabic allied voting blocks. The Yarmouk refugee camp, the largest Palestinian refugee camp in the world, was recently overrun by ISIS and is being mercilessly bombed by the Assad regime yet no one is condemning them for the suffering they are causing the Palestinian people. The UN’s bias towards Israel is multifaceted and bad for human rights everywhere.
This Time opinion piece was written after the July hostilities between Israel and Hamas, which started after Palestinian nationalists kidnapped and killed one Israeli and two Israeli-Americans followed by the killing of a Palestinian teenager by Orthodox Jewish Nationalists. The article addresses the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution that was written after the offensive. The article picks apart the bias of the resolution before going after the bias of the council itself. The author states that nowhere in the resolution is Hamas mentioned, the word rocket mentioned once, and all of the blame is laid squarely on Israel despite Hamas using its own people as human shields. She then goes on to say that the UNHRC is made up of some of the worst offenders of human rights the world has ever seen. Its voting structure and candidacy structure are made to mask human rights violators. She mentions that Israel is the only standing agenda country, meaning it must be debated at every meeting, and has been targeted by 56 of the 103 total resolutions passed since its inception in 2006.
The point is similar to my last piece. The UNHRC certainly does not ignore all of the human rights tragedies that happen across the world but it does unfairly single out Israel for when it violates the human rights of Palestinians. The council is made up of many unsavory nations and this detrimentally impacts the hard work of countless NGOs, countries, activists, and people to improve the human rights of people across the globe. Everyone should be able to look at the UNHRC as a way to single out, and condemn violators of human rights but instead because of its obsession with targeting Israel the council is seen as a farce and doesn’t even come close to living up to its true potential.
The UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) recently met to discuss woman’s rights across the world and pass resolutions towards the goal of furthering women’s rights. This commission includes such great countries for women’s rights like the Democratic Republic of the Congo (162/165 in women’s rights), Pakistan (158/165), Niger (159/165), Sudan (156/165), India (141/165), Bangladesh (139/165) and the list goes on of countries, the majority of which are at the bottom of the 2011 women’s rights rankings. This group of countries met and decided to condemn one country for its women’s rights, Israel. The commission found that of all of the countries in the world, Israel, which ranks 51st in the aforementioned survey, as the worst for women’s rights. The actual substance of the resolution condemns Israel for the situation of Palestinian women and while Israel certainly should get some of the blame it is worth noting that the Oslo peace accords agree that the Palestinian Authority (PA) is the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. The CSW passing a condemnation of Israel as the only violator of women’s rights, however, Israel has had a female head of their supreme court and a female prime minister, Golda Meir, beyond that women are legally considered equals (both in civilian and military sectors). This helps show the UN’s unhealthy obsession at finding ways to condemn Israel for very real world problems that need to be taken seriously, but are made into a farce by the continued condemnations that Israel receives.
My argument is not that Israel has never violated any sort of human rights, nor that Israel is the perfect state, they aren’t and I would be hard pressed to find a single state that truly has a perfect record in human rights. My argument is that Israel is unfairly singled out for human rights violations while the true perpetrators of human rights violations are, for the most part, ignored by the UN. The UN might as well have chosen to condemn Saudi Arabia, where women are legally half a man, or Yemen, where women have no right to education, or Somalia where female genital mutilation widely occurs, or any number of the other countries that actively, and institutionally deny women various freedoms and liberties enjoyed by men in their country.