One of the many questionable foreign policy decisions made by the Obama administration was to join the United Nations Human Rights Council. The Obama administration reversed the Bush administration’s policy of ignoring the council, which tolerates unsavory regimes and affords them influence over the body’s decision making. It is this very same council, made up of mostly repressive regimes, that currently sits in judgment of Israel. The council saturates the media with reports of alleged Israeli sins, including a condemnation of Israel for the Turkish flotilla incident, and the Goldstone report which blamed Israel for Gaza turmoil in 2008.
Of the 47 countries represented on the U.N. Human Rights Council, 13 are African (none of which are democracies), 13 Asian, (only Japan , S. Korea, and Thailand could be categorized as democracies), 8 Latin American and Caribbean (including non-democratic Cuba), 6 East European (including non-democratic Russia and Moldova) and 7 Western (free and open democracies). There are also 13 Muslim majority states and 6 Arab states, (needless to say – not democratic). As all U.N. agencies elect members who are part of a regional group, Israel has no chance of being part of this, or any council. Therefore, amongst the “paragons of virtuous human rights observing countries” on the council are China, Cuba, Jordan, Libya, Pakistan, Qatar, and of course, the “most virtuous,” Saudi Arabia. The Vice President of the U.N. Council on Human Rights is Rodolfo Reyes Rodriguez of the “great democracy” of Cuba. In sum, of the 47 states that make up the council, only 20 could be considered democracies who respect human rights. The 27 others represent a variety of repressive governments.
The Geneva-based Human Rights Council was established in March 2006 to replace the 60-year-old Human Rights Commission, which lost international credibility after countries with abysmal rights records, such as Sudan and Zimbabwe, were allowed to join and, subsequently thwart criticism of their actions.
The Obama appointed U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice, justified the administration’s decision to join the council by declaring that: “Those who suffer from abuse and oppression around the world, as well as those who dedicate their lives to advancing human rights, need the council to be balanced and credible.” She said the United States seeks election to the body “because we believe that working from within, we can make the council a more effective forum to promote and protect human rights.” Contrary to Ambassador Rice’s assertion, many of the member countries are oppressors who abuse their people. Furthermore, these oppressive, non-democratic countries are a majority in the council – so how can any legislation emerge that could correct the abuses they enacted?
A Fox News report by Anne Bayefsky (9/16/10) revealed that the Obama Administration attended the sham/shameful 9/15/10 UN Human Rights Council session, where Israel was banned from the room. This didn’t seem to bother the U.S. Ambassador to the Council, Eileen Donahoe, who chose to attend and fully participate in a meeting that “deliberately excluded anyone representing the Jewish State.” As Bayefsky reported, the Obama administration became “a willing participant in the U.N.’s imposition of an apartheid-style ban on representatives of the State of Israel.” This runs counter to the promises made by the administration, which asserted that by joining the council, the United States would not become part of the problem.
According to Bayefsky:
Israel is the only U.N. state not permitted to be a full member of any of the U.N.’s five regional groups. Throughout the Human Rights Council sessions, these groups hold key planning meetings in which countries negotiate and share important information behind closed doors. Even the Palestinian Authority, though not a state, is permitted into the Asian regional group. Israelis are allowed into the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) in some parts of the U.N. But WEOG members have chosen to exclude them totally in all of their meetings associated with the Human Rights Council. Rather than refusing to participate until such outrageous discrimination comes to an end, Obama administration representatives walked through the door slammed in the face of Israelis and made themselves comfortable.
The Obama administration was privy to the council’s outrageous June 2, 2010 condemnation of Israel on the flotilla probe sponsored by the council’s Islamic and Arab states. The outcome was clearly predetermined. Israel was condemned “in the strongest terms,” as guilty of committing an “outrageous attack.” No mention was made of the flotilla organizers’ Jihadist intentions and actions.
And, at the Goldstone follow-up committee created on March 25th by a one-sided resolution also sponsored by the Arab and Islamic states, Israel was attacked while nothing was said about Hamas terrorism. Seventeen members refused to support the resolution, including Britain, France, Belgium, Italy, and the Netherlands. This time, the U.S. joined the opposition to the resolution.
Since its creation in 2006, the UN Human Rights Council has passed 40 resolutions – 30 of which have criticized Israel. Of the 10 emergency debates dealing with offending countries, 7 were against Israel. Even U.N. General-Secretary Ban Ki-Moon found such actions offensive and, in a June 20, 2007 speech, he noted the council’s anti-Israel bias and the shameless, discriminatory treatment of Israel. It is nothing short of bitter irony that the Sri Lankan regime killed 20,000 civilians, while it was being praised by the council for the “promotion and protection of human rights.” Israel is repeatedly condemned while the world’s worst violators of human rights: Iran, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, Syria, and Zimbabwe, literally get away with murder. U.S. taxpayers who pay 20% of the operating budget to ensure against such abuses are being snookered.
The lessons of the Nazi Holocaust which prompted the establishment of the Human Rights Commission have obviously been lost on the Western democracies and the Obama administration. The current U.N. structure and membership is overflowing with corruption, injustice, and incompetence, and the Human Rights Council is probably the worst of its agencies. The U.N. Peacekeeping operations in Zaire and Lebanon are abysmal failures. In Rwanda, Somalia, Bosnia, and Kosovo, the U.N. failed to prevent bloodshed and genocide. It took NATO to bring peace to Bosnia. The Human Right Council is morally offensive and it disgraces America to support it and partake in its proceedings.
Just as it is impossible to make peace between a dictatorship and a democracy, the overwhelming influence of non-democratic states on the U.N. makes it impossible to carry out its mission of bringing peace and serving humanity. The treatment of Israel, like a “canary in the mine,” is a barometer of the U.N.’s standing.
It is therefore imperative that the U.S. withdraw its membership from the U.N. After 65 years of near complete failure, the U.S. and its democratic allies must create a new institution: a United Democratic Nations.
Given its shameless bias against Israel and preoccupation with the protection of evil regimes, American tax-payers must once and for all say no to American participation in the U.N. Human Rights Council as President Bush did. Moreover, it is time to permanently move away from the charade called the U.N.