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UN Anti-Israel Club

How to fix the UN’s anti-Israel club of dictators

How to fix the UN’s anti-Israel club of dictators

Forget about college basketball. It was March Madness this week at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). This is a bracket where human rights abusers like China, Cuba, Pakistan, and Venezuela always advance to the next round unscathed while Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, is sure to lose.

The UN created the Council in 2006 after abolishing its predecessor, partly for its anti-Israel bias.

The UNHRC has fared no better. Following two separate Hamas-Israel wars, the Council initiated commissions of inquiry that effectively presumed Israeli guilt. Similarly, the UNHRC’s special rapporteurs for “human rights in the Palestinian territories” have a mandate to investigate only “Israel’s violations,” to the exclusion of those perpetrated by Palestinians. The Palestinian Authority allegedly accused one of these rapporteurs, Richard Falk, of being a “partisan of Hamas.”

But, without a doubt, the most egregious manifestation of the UNHRC’s double standard for the Jewish state is its dedication of a standing agenda item to criticism of Israel.

Agenda Item Seven, the only standing item directed at a specific country, requires the examination of Israel’s human rights record at each of the Council’s three annual sessions. Most other issues of humanitarian concern are brought up under Agenda Item 4. Because of this skewed system, the Council has targeted Israel with more condemnatory country-specific resolutions than the rest of the world combined. When the Council voted on March 22-23, Israel was the target of censure in five separate resolutions, while flagrant human rights abusers North Korea (political prisons and crimes against humanity), Iran (funding terrorism and political prisoners) and Syria (mass atrocities and chemical weapons) only received four. Many other Council members with abysmal records of their own almost entirely avoided scrutiny.

There are signs, however, of a gathering backlash against such hypocrisy. Just last year, the UK announced that it was putting the UNHRC “on notice” for its abusive treatment of Israel, a call it reinforced this year. The last straw was the UNHRC’s criticism of Israel’s presence in the Golan Heights, coupled with its deafening silence on the Assad regime’s atrocities in Syria.

“Nowhere is the disproportionate focus on Israel starker and more absurd than in the case of today’s resolution on the occupation of Syria’s Golan,” read the UK statement.

Over the past few years, following America’s lead, most Western countries have refused to participate in the Agenda Item Seven debate, recognizing that it discriminates against Israel.

But the fouls against Israel continue nonetheless. In March 2016, the Council passed a resolution requesting that the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein of Jordan, “produce a database” of companies operating in Israeli-controlled areas. Potentially, the list may serve as an instruction manual for anti-Israel boycotts of Israel, and it will bear the United Nations’ imprimatur.

In January 2018, Prince Zeid released a report in which he said that 206 unnamed companies – 22 of which are American – have assisted Israel’s presence in the West Bank. The High Commissioner vowed to release the names at a later date and he has further set the stage for a boycott by releasing a report that falsely accuses Israeli settlements in the West Bank of constituting “war crimes.”

While treating Israel as a pariah, the Council recently offered a platform to Alireza Avaei, Iran’s Justice Minister, who has been sanctioned by the European Union for his role overseeing torture against pro-democracy dissidents. He and other serial human rights abusers scapegoat Israel, and ensure that the Council is so hyper-focused on the Jewish state that it cannot properly address humanitarian issues elsewhere.

As U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said, the UNHRC has become a “haven for dictators.” Their outsized role at the UNHRC has undermined the Council’s legitimacy.

The need to reform the Human Rights Council is painfully obvious. The UN should have a permanent body dedicated to the investigation and condemnation of the atrocities that remain disturbingly common. Israel should certainly not be exempt from criticism. Yet for as long as some of the world’s worst human rights abusers hold positions on the Council, many of the most egregious human rights violations will languish in darkness.

The first step toward improving the Council is open voting for membership by the UN General Assembly, instead of secret ballots. This would force every country that votes for serial rights abusers to face a measure of public accountability.

Next, there should be safeguards to prevent noncompetitive elections within certain regional groupings, which usually redound the benefit of dictators.

There should also be some basic standard of respect for human rights as a prerequisite to UNHRC membership. Currently, 14 of the 47 members of the Human Rights Council received Freedom House’s worst ranking of “Not Free.”

Once it has a more respectable membership, the UNHRC should remove all of its anti-Israel laws and mandates, starting with Agenda Item Seven.

Unless these changes are made, the dictators club will continue to protect its own while bashing the only democratic state in the Middle East. That is madness.

David May is a research analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a Washington-based nonpartisan research institute focusing on national security and foreign policy. Prior to joining FDD, David was a senior research analyst at AIPAC where he focused on Israeli-Palestinian issues and the United Nations Follow David on Twitter @DavidSamuelMayand FDD @FDD.

Bold New UN Move?

A bold, common sense UN move for the Trump administration
© Getty Images

A bold, common sense UN move for the Trump administration

Why the U.S. Embassy is in Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem – The Washington Post

US Embassy in Tel Aviv

US Embassy in Tel Aviv. Photo: David Jones, via Flickr

Letter to the Editor of the Washington Post, published December 24, 2016.

Regarding the Dec. 14 World article “Moving embassy to Jerusalem is a ‘very big priority’ for Trump“:

Consistently overlooked is the reason the United States did not move our embassy to West Jerusalem after the government of Israel had established itself there. The United States recognized the 1949 Israeli-Jordanian armistice lines as the new borders of Israel outside Jerusalem, but as for Jerusalem the U.S. position was to support the provision of the 1947 U.N. Partition Resolution, which called for Jerusalem to be a “corpus separatum under a special international regime … administered by the United Nations.” Thus, the U.S. position was not to recognize West Jerusalem as part of Israel nor East Jerusalem as part of Jordan because of the plans for a U.N. administration of all of Jerusalem. That is why the U.S. Embassy was not moved to West Jerusalem, the location of the government of Israel, including its foreign ministry.

By 1953, the United Nations had shelved plans for a “corpus separatum,” and West Jerusalem was de facto understood to be part of Israel. Keeping the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv had no relationship to the status of East Jerusalem. Not moving the U.S. Embassy to West Jerusalem in 1953 or thereafter was essentially a bureaucratic decision, devoid of any legal justification.

Richard Schifter, Bethesda
The writer is chairman of the board of directors of the American Jewish International Relations Institute.

Source: Why the U.S. Embassy is in Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem – The Washington Post

Jimmy Carter Misrepresents Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Former President Jimmy Carter Lectures at the House of Lords. Copyright House of Lords 2016 / Photography by Roger Harris.

Former President Jimmy Carter Lectures at the House of Lords. Copyright House of Lords 2016. Photo: Roger Harris.

An Op-Ed by former President Jimmy Carter that appeared in the November 29, 2016 issue of the New York Times, “America Must Recognize Palestine” misrepresented the facts related to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Carter calls on the Obama administration to recognize the state of Palestine and for the Security Council to pass a resolution imposing terms for resolving the conflict. The article written, below, by The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), lays out the complete case as to how Carter misrepresents the Israel-Palestinian conflict and why “Carter advocates a dangerous policy.”

The CAMERA article follows:

November 30, 2016

by Tamar Sternthal,
Director, Israel Office

Former President Jimmy Carter Misrepresents Israeli-Palestinian Conflict in The New York Times

Wrong on Military Rule, Population

Carter errs on military rule in the West Bank, stating: “Over 4.5 million Palestinians live in these occupied territories, but are not citizens of Israel. Most live under Israeli military rule, and do not vote in Israel’s national elections.” (Emphasis added.)Continue Reading …

Kerry Speaks on the Battle for Zionism at the UN

Photo of John Kerry at the UN

Secretary Kerry Delivers Remarks at U.N. Herzog Commemoration in New York

The Battle for Zionism at the UN: Marking 40 Years Since the Historic Speech of the Honorable Chaim Herzog

John Kerry
Secretary of State
United Nations
New York City
November 11, 2015

SECRETARY KERRY: Moran, thank you very, very much. Thank you for being here, and for lending your success and persona to this event. Mr. Secretary General, it is a privilege to be here with you always, and we thank you for your great work. Ambassador Danon, thank you for helping to sponsor this night. David Harris, good to see you, thank you for your leadership. Ambassador Power, always wonderful to be with you. I love your energy, enthusiasm, and your action. And I think everybody appreciates what you are doing here at the United Nations. (Applause.)

And it is a great privilege for me to be able to be here with all of you. I see many good friends out there, and many who have been laboring so hard in the vineyards. Particularly, I cite Stu Eizenstat over here, whose work I admire. And I thank him for his efforts. (Applause.) And most especially, I want to thank Bougie and Mike Herzog, and the entire Herzog family, for the chance to come here and share some thoughts. And I appreciate the special friendship with Bougie. I appreciate his leadership. I know what it’s like to run for leader of your country and actually come short. (Laughter.) He’s actually born a little shorter than me in that effort, but – and Mike and I have worked very closely together in our efforts the last few years. And all I can say is he is a great intellect, a patriot, and far too young looking to be a retired general, folks. I admire his work. (Applause.)Continue Reading …

A “Heads Up” for the Pro-Israel Community: Our Next Major Challenge after the Pending Nuclear Agreement

Dear Friends:

We all are aware of the grave dangers to the security of Israel and the world inherent in the ongoing negotiations toward a nuclear agreement with Iran.

However, there is another major challenge looming on the horizon which is not yet fully  understood by the pro-Israel community, but to which we must respond.

The use of the United Nations to damage Israel on the international scene is longstanding and well-known. However, there is a new undertaking that can do far more damage than has been done before, unless we take action to stop it.

…a proposal to engage the U.N. Security Council in an effort to impose a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

It is a proposal to engage the U.N. Security Council in an effort to impose a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. This agreement would be heavily slanted against Israel.

Moreover, it would be expressly designed to replace the United States as the principal mediator between the parties. In other words, the U.N. would be in charge of the peace process, minimizing the protection that the U.S. can offer Israel in the international arena.Continue Reading …

A Report on the UN from the Australia-Israel and Jewish Public Affairs Council

A draft resolution proposed for adoption by the UN Security Council that calls for Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank to the pre-1967 lines “without swaps”  is now circulating at the UN. This would contravene the principle laid down in Security Council Resolution 242, which was adopted in November 1967, that the withdrawal should be to “secure and recognized borders.”  The issue here posed is well discussed in an article published by the Australia/Israel and Jewish Public Affairs Council.

Analysis of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

When considering interpretations of a historical document like UNSC 242, a natural place to begin would be the stated intent of the drafters themselves. In 2007, The Committee for Accuracy in the Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) assembled a collection of footnoted quotes by the drafters of UNSC 242, starting with then-UK Ambassador to the UN Lord Caradon, then-US Ambassador to the UN Arthur J. Goldberg, then-US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Eugene Rostow, then-British Foreign Secretary Baron George-Brown and then- Senior Adviser on International Law to the United States Mission to the United Nations J. L. Hargrove.Continue Reading …

Letter: Parents of Israeli Child Daniel Tregerman to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon

Text of a letter sent by Gila and Doron Tregerman, parents of 4 year-old Daniel, who was murdered during a mortar attack on his home, to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

By Israel News Agency Staff

For UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon

Dear Sir,

My name is Gila, I am an Israeli citizen, and I am a resident of Kibbutz Nahal Oz, near the border with Gaza.A week ago, we lost our eldest son, Daniel 4.5 years old, when he was killed by a mortar shell fired from Gaza into Israel.I address you after your announcement to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to establish an international investigation Committee to investigate “Israel’s crime” in the recent fighting in Gaza.

About us: Doron and I were married five years ago and we have three amazing kids: Daniel 4.5 yrs, Yoval 3.5 yrs and Uri 4 months old. We were a happy family. We lived in Kibbutz Nahal Oz near Gaza, and found ourselves constantly debating whether not to abandon Nahal Oz and move to another location, quieter, safer, far from rocket fire from Gaza, and far away from the alarms.

Then came the threat of terrorist tunnels, which Hamas members dug from Gaza to Israel under our home to hurt us. At night we heard noises and voices digging beneath us. Thus, in the last six months our children slept with the window closed and locked. We were afraid that they will be kidnapped from us.

Can you imagine our life, Mr. Secretary-General? How do you live in constant fear of mortar shell and terrorists emerging from tunnels?

Lessons of the War in Gaza

by Daniel Pipes
National Review Online
August 9, 2014

As Israeli operations against Hamas wind down, here are seven insights into the month-long conflict:

Missile shield: The superb performance of Iron Dome, the protective system that shot down nearly every Hamas rocket threatening life or property, has major military implications for Israel and the world. Its success signals that “Star Wars” (as opponents maliciously dubbed it upon introduction in 1983) can indeed provide protection from short-range and also presumably from long-range rockets and missiles, potentially changing the future of warfare.

Tunnels: Tunneling behind enemy lines is hardly a new tactic; historically, it has had success, such as the 1917 Battle of Messines, when British mines killed 10,000 German soldiers. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) knew of Hamas’ tunnels before hostilities began on July 8 but failed to appreciate their numbers, length, depth, quality of construction, and electronic sophistication. Jerusalem quickly realized, as the Times of Israel wrote, that “Israel’s air, sea and land supremacy is not mirrored underground.” The IDF thus requires additional time to achieve subterranean dominance.


Muravchik Explains How Hatred of the West Twisted the UN’s Mission

The UN and Israel: A History of Discrimination

By Joshua Muravchik

“Unfortunately . . . Israel [has] suffered from bias—and sometimes even discrimination” at the United Nations, said none other than the UN’s highest official, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, speaking in Jerusalem in August. Back at headquarters a week later, Ban withdrew the substance of the comment without denying he had made it. The retraction was less surprising than the original assertion, which was remarkable because of the identity of the speaker, not for what was said, the reality of which is about as well concealed as the sun on a cloudless noon.