Israel and the UN Kangaroo Court

Human Rights Council

Last week’s consideration of the one-sided Goldstone Report has once again shown the fecklessness and bias of the Human Rights Council. Israel’s indictment by that body should come as no surprise to anyone who knows the UN. Israel simply cannot receive a fair hearing for any accusations placed against it there. As such, the Human Rights Council, and to be more accurate, the entire UN system is rigged against Israel making the process a kangaroo court.

In June 2008, while decrying the US refusal to continue its engagement with the Human Rights Council, Human Rights Watch, could not avoid pointing out these important facts about the Council explaining, “In its first two years, however, the Human Rights Council has failed to address more than 20 human rights situations that require its attention, eliminated human rights monitoring in places desperately in need of such scrutiny, and adopted a long stream of one-sided resolutions on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories which failed to consider the roles and responsibilities of the Palestinian authorities and armed groups.”
Moreover, according to the Democracy Coalition Project study, “Human Rights Council Report Card, 2007-2008,” while “the Council considered numerous country situations throughout the year, it acted only on a few. It failed to effectively address several unfolding human rights crises, such as Zimbabwe and Tibet, or speak forcefully on ongoing situations as urgent as Darfur. The Council discontinued the mandates on the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Group of Experts on Darfur, two areas of the world where gross and systematic human rights violations continue to take place.”

Since its inception, the Council has held 12 Special Sessions, with six directed at Israel. This sounds frighteningly familiar to the Council’s predecessor, the UN Human Rights Commission. Between 2001 and when it was disbanded in 2006, the UN Human Rights Commission passed 26 resolutions and one decision that were critical of Israel. The situations in North Korea, Burma, and Sudan warranted a combined total of 11 resolutions and decisions during the same period.

Let’s look at the “special attention” the Council has given Israel in the past few years. Here are the first twelve sessions of the Council and the results of their meetings.

• 1st Special session of the Human Rights Council, July 5-6 2006, yielded a resolution S-1/Res.1: Human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory

• 2nd Special session of the Human Rights Council, Geneva, August 11, 2006 yielded a resolution S-2/1: The grave situation of human rights in Lebanon caused by Israeli military operations

• 3rd Special session was on Israeli military incursions in Occupied Palestinian Territory, November 15, 2006

• 4th Special session of the Human Rights Council was on the human rights situation in Darfur, December 12- 13, 2006

• 5th Special session of the Human Rights Council was on the human rights situation in Myanmar: October 2, 2007

• 6th Special session of the Human Rights Council focused on alleged rights violations emanating from Israeli military incursions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including the recent ones in occupied Gaza and West Bank town of Nablus, January 23-24, 2008

• 7th Special session of the Human Rights Council was on “The negative impact on the realization of the right to food of the worsening of the world food crisis, caused inter alia by the soaring food prices”, May 22 2008

• 8th Special session of the Human Rights Council: The situation of the human rights in the East of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, November 28, 2008

• 9th special session of the Human Rights Council: “The Grave Violations of Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory including the recent aggression in the occupied Gaza Strip,” January 9, 2009

• 10th special session of the Human Rights Council: “The Impact of the Global Economic and Financial Crises on the Universal Realization and Effective Enjoyment of Human Rights” – Friday, 20 February 2009

• 11th special session of the Human Rights Council: “The human rights situation in Sri Lanka,” May 26-27 2009

• 12th Special Session of the Human Rights Council: “The human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and East Jerusalem,” October 15, 2009 (The Goldstone Report condemning Israel was considered and a recommendation was passed endorsing it.)

Once again, the Council’s preoccupation with Israel is evident. For many years before its abolition, the Commis¬sion on Human Rights had a separate agenda item focusing solely on alleged violations of Israel—namely, Item 8, “Question of the violation of human rights in the occupied Arab territories, including Palestine.” This allowed multiple resolutions against Israel, while no other country could have more than one resolution run against it each year. No other country beside Israel had an agenda item exclusively scrutinizing it. This shameful tradition of bias and has been continued by the UN Human Rights Council.

According to the U.S. State Department Report on Global Anti-Semitism of March 13, 2008, “This new institution has proven to be even more prone to protect serious violators of human rights and more prolific in its criticism of Israel than its predecessor. The Council adopted 15 anti-Israel resolutions or decisions in its first 16 months (ending September 30, 2007).”

If one looks at the composition of the Council, it’s easy to see why it is impossible for Israel to be judged fairly. Again, according to the Democracy Coalition Project study, “In addition to these regional groups, there are several cross-regional blocs active at the Council that represent geopolitical alliances, including the European Union (EU), the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the Group of Arab States [5 states], and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). The OIC, with 15 members on the Council during the 2007-2008 cycle, carried more weight than any of the single regional groupings. The OIC frequently spoke and voted as a group, and was joined in its positions on many issues by the African Group, as well as Cuba and Nicaragua.”

Also, they added, “The current style of “bloc” politics at the Council has led to negotiations among regional and cross-regional groups that are increasingly conducted behind closed doors and pursue consensual outcomes. In many cases, this has prevented states from speaking independently and clearly on serious human rights concerns.” Finally, the report states, “The OIC generally supported the African line on opposing country scrutiny with one major exception, the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”

The UN system has been turned into a weapon by terrorist states to incite violence and hatred specifically against Israel and generally against the West. Because of this, Israel cannot and will not receive a fair hearing there. As long as we continue to support this corrupt process, we will see more and more of this abuse. A good start would be to end the UN’s kangaroo court we call the Human Rights Council.

Cutting Edge commentator Gregg J. Rickman, Ph.D, served as the first U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism from 2006-2009. He is a Senior Fellow for the Study and Combat of Anti-Semitism at the Institute on Religion and Policy in Washington, DC; a Visiting Fellow at The Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut; and a Research Scholar at the Initiative on Anti-Semitism and Anti-Israelism of the Institute for Jewish & Community Research in San Francisco.