By ANNE BAYEFSKY
Terminating support for the Council’s permanent agenda item on Israel, and Israel’s admission into the WEOG group in Geneva, are about addressing the credibility crisis facing the UN, not Israel.
The United Nations is gearing up for yet another attack upon Israel — even more outrageous on this occasion because it has been arranged in the name of equality. The so-called “Universal Periodic Review” (UPR), will take place in Geneva on October 29, 2013, under the auspices of the UN Human Rights Council. The label is intended to evoke the equal treatment of all UN member states, notwithstanding the actual treatment of the UN’s favorite whipping boy.
The UPR was concocted after the credibility of the Council’s predecessor — the UN Human Rights Commission — finally took a fatal hit. On March 15, 2006, with the United States and Israel voting against, the General Assembly pushed the Commission out one door and dragged the Council in through another. The “reform” of the UN’s top human rights body was fundamentally flawed, however, since American efforts to condition membership on some degree of actually protecting human rights, were totally rejected.
To the Council’s champions, the UPR was said to be its most important innovation. Then President of the General Assembly, Swede Jan Eliasson, said of the UPR just before the vote: “Such a mechanism would ensure equal treatment with respect to all Member States and would prevent double standards and selectivity.” The European Union was also enthusiastic, claiming the Council was a glorious “opportunity to build new trust by addressing human rights in a spirit of honesty, equal treatment and the avoidance of double standards.”
The assurances were untrue.
From the start, Council members included states like China, Russia, Cuba, and Saudi Arabia. Less than half of current members are even free democracies, according to Freedom House. The Islamic bloc of states has continually held the balance of power by controlling the groups that have the majority of seats.
The Council soon adopted a short permanent agenda that governs every regular session. It contains one item for censuring Israel alone, and one general item for all other 192 UN countries combined. Thirty-five per cent of all the resolutions the Council has passed that are critical of specific states have been directed at Israel — compared to nothing on states like Russia, China, or Saudi Arabia.
The Council sponsored the poisonous Goldstone report (subsequently recanted by its lead author) which alleged Israel’s response to eight years of rocket fire from Gaza wasn’t legitimate self-defense, but an effort to deliberately target Palestinian civilians. The Council has chosen 9/11 conspiracy theorist and Boston marathon-bomber apologist, Richard Falk, to be the chief “expert” on Israel’s alleged human rights violations for the past six years.
One more institutional bias at work at the Council is the handiwork of European and other Western governments. UN members are organized, off-camera, into five regional groups where they share information, negotiate, and distribute …read more