AJIRI #53: The Resolutions that Maintain the UN Worldwide Anti-Israel Propaganda Apparatus

December 21, 2015

At each of its annual sessions, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopts about 80 resolutions by roll call vote, including 18 resolutions that are directed against Israel.  The United States votes No on each of these resolutions.  AJIRI has focused its attention on three of these resolutions, the resolutions that renew annually the mandates of three UN bodies, two UNGA committees and one division in the UN Secretariat.

“. . . the United States remains profoundly troubled by the repetitive and disproportionate number of one-sided General Assembly resolutions designed to condemn Israel. . .” — U.S. Ambassador David Pressman

The sole purpose of these UN bodies is to conduct the UN’s worldwide anti-Israel propaganda apparatus.  It is in that context that we should take special note of the statement made by Ambassador Pressman, the U.S. Alternate Representative at the United Nations, on November 24, 2015, when he delivered the U.S. explanation of vote after the UNGA had adopted a series of anti-Israel resolutions.  He underlined the special importance of the three resolutions that AJIRI has emphasized:

“Mr. President, the United States remains profoundly troubled by the repetitive and disproportionate number of one-sided General Assembly resolutions designed to condemn Israel – a total of 18 this year. This one-sided approach damages the prospects for peace by undermining trust between parties and the kind of international support critical to achieving peace. All parties to the conflict have responsibilities for ending it, and we are disappointed that UN members continually single out Israel without acknowledging the responsibilities and difficult steps that must be taken on all sides.  It is manifestly unjust that the United Nations – an institution founded upon the idea that all nations should be treated equally – is so often used by Member States to treat Israel unequally.

Of these annual resolutions, three are particularly troubling: the resolution on the “Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat;” the resolution on the “Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People;” and the resolution on the “Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories.” These resolutions renew mandates for UN bodies established decades ago, wasting valuable resources and reinforcing the systemic UN bias against Israel. All Member States should evaluate the effectiveness of supporting and funding these bodies.  ***

I would like to reiterate that the United States has consistently opposed every effort to delegitimize Israel or undermine its security at the United Nations and we will continue to do so with vigor.”

Let us review once again how the committees and the division mentioned by Ambassador Pressman are constituted and how they function.

CEIRPP

The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP) is a truly unique committee in the UN system.  No other committee has the assignment to supervise a propaganda program against a member of the United Nations.  And no other committee has as unbalanced a membership as does CEIRPP.

Hera is a list of the member states: Afghanistan, Belarus, Bolivia, Cuba, Cyprus, Ecuador, Guinea, Guyana, India, Indonesia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Namibia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine and Venezuela.

These 26 states include 12 members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).   Please note that WEOG, the West European and Others Group, is represented by Malta and Turkey. Latin America is represented by the 5 states that constitute what we can call the Neo-Communist bloc: Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.  They are against Israel because they are opposed to the United States.  Laos is another left-over of Communist times.  Belarus is simply opposed to the West.  Namibia and South Africa are strongly anti-Israel. — If you ask why Guyana is a member of the CEIRPP, here is the answer: even though its population is only 7.2% (!) Muslim, it is a member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.  It joined the OIC at a time when its President was Janet Jagan (nee Rosenberg), born into a Jewish family in Chicago.  She happened to be a Communist. Opposing Israel was part of her political philosophy.  That is how Guyana came to represent the Caribbean Community on CEIRPP.

CEIRPP’s role is to organize four international conferences annually at which nothing is done other than hearing speeches directed against Israel.  Invited to these conferences, which take place in capital cities on different continents, are local officials, academics, the media, and representatives of NGO’s.  The idea is to get the anti-Israel message out in “civil society.”  It is worth noting that the BDS (boycotts, divestment, and sanctions) program against Israel was launched in 2005 at a CEIRPP conference in Paris.

In recent years the Palestinian Mission to the UN has played a key role in guiding the CEIRPP program.

DPR

The Division for Palestinian Rights is an office in the UN Secretariat.  It consists of a staff of about 20 people, all of them on the UN payroll, operating out of the UN Department of Political Affairs.  Here again we can find no other office in the Secretariat with a similar mission: running a propaganda program against a member state of the UN.  Technically, the Division is supposed to report to the Under Secretary for Political Affairs, who, in turn, reports to the Secretary General, but that is not the way it works.  The Division does not report through channels.  It is run by the leadership of CEIRPP.  The Cubans, who hold a Vice Chairmanship there, have long been a dominant force in the CEIRPP leadership, holding a Vice Chairmanship.  What the Division staff does is run the international anti-Israel propaganda program right out of the headquarters of the UN in New York, mobilizing the resources of the UN Department of Public Affairs.

SCIIHRP

Finally there is the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Human Rights Practices Affecting the Palestinian People.  It consists of three members, Sri Lanka, Senegal, and Malaysia.  The last two are members of the OIC.  What the Special Committee does is hold hearings every summer in the Middle East, in which a series of people testify as to alleged Israeli human rights violations.  The Special Committee then puts out a report accusing Israel of violations, which, as a UN report, is circulated worldwide.  Here again we are dealing with the work of a UN Committee that has no parallels in the UN system.

Conclusion

As Ambassador Pressman correctly noted, these three UN bodies do not accomplish anything positive.  From the point of view of supporters of the principles of the UN Charter, they waste valuable resources.

But from the point of view of those who oppose an Israeli/Palestinian peace agreement, these UN bodies play a useful role: they keep the hope alive that the U.S. will finally give up and will allow the UN Security Council to impose the Palestinian demands on Israel: permit the mass migration to Israel of the 5 1/2 million Palestinian so-called “refugees,” thus leading to the end of the existence of a majority-Jewish state.  That is why the Fatah leadership is not prepared to give up the claim of “right of return” and is not prepared to enter a peace agreement that recognizes Israel as a majority-Jewish state.

What is so critically important is for the existence of these three UN bodies and their role in blocking a peace agreement to be fully understood by all those who favor the attainment of a two-state solution.