Even the (Israeli) Left agrees: UN 'human rights council' beyond the pale
Nachman Shai made a name for himself as the IDF spokesperson during the first Gulf War in 1991, warning Israelis to go cower in their 'sealed rooms' while Iraq attacked Israel with SCUD missiles. Shai recently switched from being a Kadima MK to being a Labor party MK, which means he is clearly now part of the Left. Haaretz, Israel's Hebrew 'Palestinian' newspaper, published this op-ed
by Shai in Sunday's editions. Note that even the Israeli Left recognizes that the United Nations' 'human rights council' is beyond the pale. Take that, New York Slimes
. This is from the first link.
I mention my party affiliation because I want it to be very clear
that this ought not be, and for the most part is not, a partisan issue
within Israel. While the Netanyahu government has made many foreign
policy errors, and in my view helped weaken our position and deepen our
international isolation, the UNHRC is quite another matter. The UN Human
Rights Council represents the very depths to which an unrepresentative,
undemocratic international body can sink.
Kofi Annan said in 2005 that
the “credibility deficit” of the Council’s predecessor, the Commission
on Human Rights, was “cast[ing] a shadow on the reputation of the United
Nations system as a whole.” I wholeheartedly agree, and would
characterize its latest incarnation in much the same way.
Although having been reconstituted and renamed only six years ago
because of the total illegitimacy of its predecessor, the Council
immediately relapsed into its old ways. Despite changes to the structure
and governing rules of the Council, it is a body that privileges and
grants immunity to the worst human rights violators on Earth. For
example, only last week, it voted in Sudan - Sudan! - as its vice
president. UN Watch’s Hillel Neuer called this “like naming Jack the Ripper to head a women’s shelter.”
Because of UNHRC processes, the “universal periodic review” essentially
acts as a rubber stamp on the behavior of the very worst human rights
violators. China, North Korea, and countless other nations whose human
rights records make Colonel Gaddafi look like Mother Theresa, routinely
get a pass from the Council. Syria, which is estimated to have murdered
over 60,000 people over the past couple of years, rarely finds itself in
the Council’s spotlight.
But if an alien descended from the heavens and looked in on the UNHRC’s
agenda, they would immediately conclude that one country above all
others is the most grotesque human rights violator of all time. And it’s
not Syria, Iran, North Korea or even the Council’s venerable vice
It is Israel, the Middle East’s only democracy, that is the only
country in the world that the UNHRC deems worthy of a standing agenda
item. Perhaps even more incredibly, almost 40 per cent of all UNHRC
resolutions condemning a specific country have been directed against the
There are appropriate times and occasions for engagement with
international bodies, and there are also times for saying, “Enough!”
This is one of those times. Israel quite rightly will not engage in a
process that is effectively a rubber stamp for the Sudans of this world.
And we will not engage in discussions about a report calling,
outrageously, for sanctions against our country, by a body whose vice
president is the representative from Sudan.
I would say that if the Obama administration or the New York Times think there's any support in Israel for engaging with the 'human rights council,' reading Dr. Shai ought to convince them otherwise.
Labels: United Nations Human Rights Council, universal periodic review