Israel Boycotts UN ‘Human Rights Council’

In Geneva on Tuesday, the UN Human Rights Council convened to examine Israel’s human rights record. It did so under a mechanism called the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), supposed to apply to all UN member states. One country, though, failed to show up for the proceedings—Israel (reports here, here, and here; op-ed by Anne Bayefsky here). It thereby became the first country ever to boycott its UPR.

As a result, the countries present agreed to postpone Israel’s review to November, with council president Remigiusz Henczel of Poland darkly warning that “if Israel failed to participate by the set deadline, the council would weigh steps against it.”

Israel has cut off cooperation with the UNHRC since last May, when it announced a new fact-finding commission on Israeli settlements. Israel’s Foreign Ministry stated at the time that “this fact-finding mission will find no cooperation in Israel and its members will not be allowed to enter Israel and the territories.”

Israel’s previous experience with the council’s “fact-finding” commissions was not propitious, including the defamatory Goldstone Report on the 2008-2009 Gaza War, a piece of Hamas propaganda eventually retracted by its main author; and a report on the 2010 flotilla incident that, as Anne Bayefsky notes, claimed that the Turkish terrorists on the ship who attacked Israeli soldiers with clubs and knives were “humanitarians.”

There is, of course, no particular reason to expect moral probity from the UNHRC. Its current membership includes human rights paladins like Saudi Arabia, China, Congo, Cuba, and Qatar, with a preponderance of nondemocratic countries—despite the Obama administration having insisted on U.S. membership since 2009 after the Bush administration had withdrawn from the body.

Not surprisingly, Syria sailed smoothly through its 2011-2012 “periodic review” by the council, with North Korea “commending” it for its “efforts…to maintain security and stability” and Iran praising its “efforts…to promote and protect human rights.”

The UNHRC, though, has a particular animus against Israel. As Bayefsky details:

The discrimination against Israel by the UN human rights system is not hard to find.  The UN Human Rights Council has a permanent agenda of 10 items, one reserved for condemning Israel and one for considering all other 192 UN members. Almost 40 percent of all Council resolutions condemning specific countries have been directed at Israel alone. There have been more special sessions on Israel than any other country….

One might think, then, that Israel’s refusal to keep exposing itself to this cynical farce would at least evoke sympathy from Western states. Not so, says Bayefsky, with “the United States and almost every other Western government [having] pressured Israel to participate [on Tuesday]…for the sake of the reputation of the UN and the appearance of universality.”

When it turned out, though, that Israel didn’t show up on Tuesday, the U.S. gave Israel what has been called a “tacit rebuke,” with its ambassador to the council, Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe, stating that “the Universal Periodic Review has been a valuable mechanism….”

Other countries were more upfront. Waffa Bassim, representative of Egypt’s virulently anti-Semitic Morsi regime (the latest is here), called Israel’s boycott of the session “a clear case of noncooperation and noncompliance by a state under review.” Pakistan’s Zamir Akram, who spoke on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, also expressed displeasure and implied that Israel was getting off too easy for this “violation of all of its obligations.”

So, once again, the world’s democratic and nondemocratic countries converge in objecting to an instance of Israel standing up for itself. This is true whenever it launches a military operation—with even its superpower ally, some of whose military operations take a decade or more, generally demanding that it end the hostilities in a few days. It was true recently when, after the Palestinian Authority’s UN statehood push, Israel responded by stepping up housing construction and withholding funds from the PA—measures universally condemned.

All this on the heels, of course, of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Sunday. And they wonder why Israel is “moving to the right.”

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  • UCSPanther

    And don't forget countries like Belarus and Uzbekistan…

  • objectivefactsmatter

    “the Universal Periodic Review has been a valuable mechanism….”

    Valuable to leftist radicals and Islamic supremacists.

    F the UN. F 0'Bama. All traitors should be expelled outside of US territories.

    • JacksonPearson

      Islamic nations Mr. Hornik, Islamic…
      That's why for the very above reasons, the UN have become a hate tool, and forum for Islamic nations, and all of them, including the UN need to be tossed off of U.S. soil.

  • Mary Sue

    Well, in all seriousness, when the Human Rights Council has been populated by such stars of Human Rights as Iran, Sudan, and places like that, it's such an absolute joke that belonging to it is pretty much counter-productive anyway.

    • Guest

      Israel puts the United States to shame! How dare any American, and esp. Jewish Americans support this stupid farce of a legitimate body. We should have pulled out of the UN many years ago…and it certainly should not be located within the United States of America, whose states, unfortunately our President is trying desperately to divide. At least George Bush was a man with guts! Not a man "tiptoeing thru the tulips", Yes, President Bush…to the question "Do you miss me yet?"

  • Chezwick

    The UNHRC is a farce rapped inside a joke, sprinkled with irony.

    Let's not forget, the creation of this monstrosity was a "reform" of the old UN Human Rights COMMISSION. Things went from bad to worse. The one thing that would have made sense – criteria limiting membership to member states practicing democratic governance – was never even an option.

    America shouldn't leave the UN considering the power of our veto on the Security Council, but it's long past time to start a new international organization, the 'Federation of Democratic States', in which membership is confined to countries adhering to basic democratic norms (multiparty elections, independent judiciary, free labor unions, free press, etc). The Federation would have economic incentives (e.g., free trade for all qualified members), and political/military applications (a mutual security pact).

    Eventually, membership would be coveted around the world and this would give non-democratic countries incentives to democratize. Such a movement could readily transform the fate of planet Earth.

    • WildJew

      Chezwick, this is where I've got to agree with George Washington who has been widely misquoted as saying this country should "avoid entangling alliances" or entangling alliances with none. I believe that quote originated from Thomas Jefferson, not as great a man as Washington in my view. What Washington said is that we should avoid "permanent alliances." Temporary alliances are fine in times of war; often they involve unlikely characters like we saw during the second world war with the former Soviet Union / Stalin. Congress was right (I think) to keep the United States out of Woodrow Wilson's League of Nations which proved as useless and 'Wilsonian' as the United Nations. Something about these permanent international bodies bothers me.

      A while back, I read Dore Gold's "Tower of Babble: How the United Nations Has Fueled Global Chaos." Gold makes your point that the original idea of the United Nations would only include as members, those democracies who resisted or fought the Axis powers during the war. That would have excluded virtually (if not) every Muslim country. But that exalted notion soon fell by the way-side.

      • Indioviejo

        Remember "The Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam" based on Sharia Law ? The Muslims never signed the founding declaration of the UN because they objected to The Universal Declaration. It was too human for them. Nevertheless they were admitted. The UN founders planted the seed of corruption and uselessness in the organization from inception. What good is the UN for?

  • JohnWV

    Israel defines itself as a Jewish state and will never accept a non apartheid democracy with a Jewish minority. Continuing illegal annexations, settlement expansion and ethnic cleansing have also precluded any negotiated two state solution. Justice may now be served only by UN and NATO imposing resolution just as involuntary, disruptive and humiliating to Israel as Israel has wreaked upon occupied Palestine for generations. The Jewish State must be made to recognize an armed Palestine with externally enforced autonomy, eviction of all settlers, true contiguity encompassing Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem together, neither pinched nor parceled, and pay punitive reparations.

    • stern

      Sorry to disappoint you johnboy. No matter how much you froth at the mouth, Israel is not about to commit suicide to satisfy your Jew-hatred. You may as well get used to it.

      • Mary Sue

        speaking of suicide, maybe John Boy has Rachel Corrie syndrome…

    • Mark

      Tell you what. I will convince Israel. To show up only if Iran Syria Lebanon China etc ( get the picture)? Oh I also will include Hamas and the West Bank . So after everything is that these countries open up to about they way they treat their people (and let's include the thousands of rockets fired into Israel) , lets get it all on the table. When will the UN look at both sides of the conflicts? Probably never

    • ziontruth

      "…and ethnic cleansing…"

      Funny you should condemn ethnic cleansing, JohnVolkswagenBug. According to your beloved U.N., ethnic cleansing not only isn't a crime at all, it's even a good, holy duty:

      UN: Israel Must Withdraw From Judea, Samaria — "Israel … must immediately initiate a process of withdrawal of all settlers …"

      If that's not a call for ethnic cleansing—emptying an entire region of all members of a particular ethnos—then nothing can be called ethnic cleansing.

      And if you say, "That's different, because we're talking about settlers. It's the moral thing to get settlers out of any land they occupy," then welcome to the club, my club, where I call for all the ACJTs, the Arab-Colonized Jewish Territories (Judea and Samaria, Gaza, the Golan Heights and Transjordan), to be ethnically cleansed of all the Arab colonists squatting on it, stealing land from the only nation it belongs to, the Jewish nation.

    • Indioviejo

      "The Jewish State must be made to recognize". It is a good thing that Israel can not be made to recognize anything detrimental to their lives. You can 'bray' all you want or you can join Hamas, Al-Qaeda, and other such offsprings of Arab "civilization" and bring it on. You have a choice.

    • Mary Sue

      Recognize genocidal terrorists? Are you NUTS?

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "Israel defines itself as a Jewish state and will never accept a non apartheid democracy with a Jewish minority."

      Define apartheid. The definition seems to have changed a lot since liars started using it to describe Israel.

  • κατεργάζομαι

    The United Nations is a corrupt Hhore house of master manipulators.

    There's an old song called, "The Old Gray Mare… [She Ain't What She Used To Be]." Well, the U.N. ain't what it used to be either!

    The organization so nobly conceived has turned into a veritable cesspool, a den of anti-Semitism cloaked in anti-Zionism… in short, an international Horehouse!

    • Indio Viejo

      Sorry to say I think they were a cesspool from inception. Liberal/progressive idealism as usual, errs on the rosey side but is incapable of self criticism, so the malignancy just grew to this monstrously dysfunctional union of bad people.

  • directedby1

    Canada has not participated in this farce since its inception. We'd had enough with the old HRC. Bush was right to pull out. Of course pathetic little con-man Soetoro betrays America again, insisting on US participation …

  • Rostislav

    "pressured Israel to participate for the sake of the reputation of the UN” – fantastic! To hear that this Dictators United gang still enjoys some kind of reputation is simply breathtaking. But even more breathtaking are Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe's words “the Universal Periodic Review has been a valuable mechanism….” – really?! Can the lady give us at least one example of this valuability (I mean not in the spent dollars of taxpayers, but in the practical fight with human rights abuses by authoritarian regimes)? Rostislav, Saint-Petersburg, Russia

  • Chanameel

    Obama lead 50,000 muslim men in a Day of Prayer in September 2009.
    This was an occult rite of "Surrender to Islam" and determines the "Future Destiny of America."
    Have you noticed how the media has embraced Islam as a religion of peace?
    The media always critisizes Christianity and Israel but never Islam.
    Bill Clinton said before Obama was re-elected that he needs 4 more years to complete his goals.
    That would be to Islamisize America.
    The Health Care Act was his first "Dhimmi Tax" on American citizens.
    You know what happens to people when they don't convert to Islam…

    • Indio Viejo

      I suspect it will be easy for our elites in both Parties to profess Islam because they will have dictatorial powers over "We the people". Our military will comply because they are part of the ruling class. It is just a thought, but in a country which has turned its back on the Judeo-Christian principles which made it great, anything is possible.

  • clique

    If the Israeli Government considers the UNHCR as a despicable, biased, anti-Israel organ, why did it support the candidacy of prof. Yuval Shany as a member of the Committee? He was chosen last September, by the way, several months after Israel decided to "sever" ties with the UNHRC: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4278437….

    No one plays the hypocrisy game like Israel.

    • stern

      See, this is where your anti-Israel bias blinds you to logic. Don't you think it makes sense to try and get a friendly face onto a panel that has a history of demonizing you? It's called "working on the inside to effect change".

      But that's where you Jew haters are so consistent. Israel fires back at rocket launchers – not allowed. Israel builds a fence to keep out suicide bombers – not allowed. Israel tries to explain its position in world media – not allowed, disparagingly called Hasbara, when the word simply means "explanation". And with this, Israel attempts to restore some balance to a notoriously unbalanced body and yup, you guessed it – not allowed.

      Better stick to your own clique, where you won't be called out for your lack of logic, reason or sanity.

    • Gee

      Actually Israel is not a member of it. They are not allowed due to Islamic racism

  • mickeyobe

    Good for Israel. It is about time the UNHRC was consigned to the trash bin where it belongs.

    Now Israel's next step should be to boycott the United Nations which is even more deserving of ostracism than the UNHRC.

  • BMS

    Hats off to Israel. Does the UN exist for any reason other than to continually condem Israel?

    • Raymond in DC

      It exists to provide legitimacy to regimes that don't deserve it, and to provide jobs and 5-star travel for the well-connected of the Third World. It also allows "progressives" from the West to convince themselves they're working for "world peace".

  • Gee

    The UPR is mandatory for members of the UNHRC – Israel is not allowed to be a member – hence there is no such requirement for Israel

  • SCREW SOCIALISM

    The UN has been HIJACKED by the same cult that hijacked 4 passenger planes on 9/11.

  • Ghostwriter

    All the UNHRC seems to do is bash Israel. Why should it even be there?

  • imperitus

    Can someone explain to me what benefit Israel derives by staying in the UN?

  • wccanother yoke

    WhAT is this claptrap UNHRC POINT OF VIEW with the burning of churchesand homes in Pakistan and all that is going on in the middleeast killing of there own innocent people.Why is there not a voice for them.The Arabs in Isreal are treated a hell of alot better there are ,are they not ,come on boycotters gat the hell over to Syrea and you will see first hand how people are treated when they go up against real tyrants