Resources updated between Monday, June 13, 2016 and Sunday, June 19, 2016
June 14, 2016
This is my final Human Rights Council session. I will leave you with these observations:
- This Council's priorities are wide off the mark. An agenda item specifically dedicated to my country when the tragedies of Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Libya, to name but a few, are unfolding and producing a Tsunami of refugees about to engulf Europe? And you expect us to take you seriously?
- Politicized debates, biased resolutions, preposterous reports, discriminatory conduct and unfounded accusations characterize the attitude of this Council and of the OHCHR towards Israel. In its latest press release, following a terror attack in which 4 Israelis were murdered and dozens wounded, the OHCHR expressed deep concern on the cancelation of 83,000 permits granted to West Bank and Gaza residents to travel to Israel during Ramadan. It characterized the move as quote "amounting to prohibited collective punishment" unquote. Mr. President, the right to regulate entry of non-citizens into a country is an integral part of sovereignty which all states enjoy. Furthermore, the terms of existing bilateral Israeli-Palestinian agreements specifically affirm Israel's right to prevent or limit entry of persons into Israel from the West Bank and Gaza for security and safety considerations. Just one of many examples of double standards regarding Israel.
This Council has never cared for the human rights of Israelis;
This Council has lost its bearings;
This Council needs a moral compass;
This Council has an Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder regarding Israel;
This Council has not, does not and will not contribute to peace in our region.
Think about it, and call me if you change your minds. You can find me at 00-972-77-430 4703.
Thank you, Mr. President.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The United States congratulates Ambassador Danny Danon on his election to be Chair of the Sixth Committee, and we look forward to a very productive Sixth Committee under his leadership.
For any other country in these United Nations, today's election would have been an unremarkable affair. But Israel is rarely treated like any other country here. It matters not what committee or body or group Israel seeks to join here at the United Nations. In 2014, in the Fourth Committee, a vote was called on a WEOG-endorsed Israeli candidate for vice-chair. Last year, a vote was called in the Fourth Committee on Israel's candidature to serve on the Committee for the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. And now, a vote was called on WEOG's endorsed candidate in the Sixth Committee.
This pattern of bias needs to change. The United States is very disappointed that a vote was called on the WEOG-endorsed candidacy of the Israeli Permanent Representative.
The Sixth Committee has always selected its chairs by acclamation, and it should have done so today. Even a chair from Qadhafi's Libya was elected by acclamation. A vote should not have been called today.
We need a United Nations that is a model of equal treatment and non-discrimination. We need a United Nations that includes Israel, that brings Israel closer, not one that systematically pushes Israel away.
Israel has shown, time and time again, that it is has much to contribute to the international community, to the benefit of the United Nations and of the world. The Sixth Committee's work is critical to the progressive development of public international law. We look forward to working with the Sixth Committee under the leadership of the Israeli Permanent Representative, and are confident that Israel's Permanent Representative, like any other chairman of this committee, will serve with the utmost objectivity and commitment to international law and norms.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
June 13, 2016
Coinciding with Ramadan, the United Nation's top human rights body - the Human Rights Council - has been celebrating its tenth anniversary in Geneva starting on Monday. Council members like human rights stalwarts Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates, along with President Obama's delegation, will be singing the Council's praises - accompanied by a mandatory cacophony of rumbling bellies.
Here are four reasons that UN bosses & their government cohorts are celebrating - and human rights advocates and victims are not.
1. The Council is ground zero for rationalizing religious domination. To wit: At this session of the Human Rights Council, lunch has been cancelled for everyone. It's Ramadan. If Muslims can't eat, says the UN, neither can anybody else. Back in April, the Council's executive ("the Bureau") took the decision to ban lunch hour, behind closed doors, and the policy goes into effect on Monday. The decision reads:
" ... the Bureau took note of the efforts to address the concern raised by the OIC [Organization of Islamic Cooperation] Coordinator and members that the session collides with Ramadan. In order to facilitate the participation in the session of delegates who would be observing the fast during the month of Ramadan, the Bureau decided that on most days the working hours during the session would start from 10 am at the earliest and last until 6 pm at the latest, without breaks."
2. Actually protecting human rights is not a condition for membership on the Council. Members are elected annually by the General Assembly. The resolution governing the procedure says that when casting ballots, countries "shall take into account the contribution of candidates to the promotion and protection of human rights and their voluntary pledges and commitments made thereto."
The most recent elections to the Human Rights Council, which took place in the fall of 2015, illustrate how UN verbiage works. The sexist, xenophobic dictators who run the United Arab Emirates pledged: "The UAE has built a peaceful, tolerant, multicultural society in which people from all over the world live harmoniously together." Human rights basket case Burundi didn't even bother to make a pledge.
Both were elected. This year, a mere 38% of the Council's members are free democracies.
3. The Council has a Jewish problem. One-third of all its resolutions and decisions critical of a country for violating human rights are directed at just one state - democratic Israel. That's three times as many condemnations of Israel as its nearest competitor - hellish Syria' 10 times more than the Al Qaeda vacation spot of Libya and thirteen times more than the execution-per-capita capital of the world, Iran.
As for the millions of women experiencing modern slavery in Ramadan-compliant Saudi Arabia, the millions in Crimea "freed" by Russian tanks, and the billions in China who've never known civil liberties: zip.
4. The biggest and most important fan of the Council is none other than the United States. The Bush administration refused to join or to pay for the Council on the grounds that a human rights body where decision-makers don't respect human rights might not be in sync with American values. But the first major foreign policy decision in 2009 of President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was to jump on the UN bandwagon and throw taxpayer money at it.
Ever since, the administration's storyline is that the close affiliation of the world's leading democracy to the Council doesn't legitimize discrimination against Israel and antisemitism, or empower faux human rights experts. The current U.S. ambassador to the Human Rights Council, Keith Harper, advised Congressmen at a hearing on Capitol Hill as recently as May 17, 2016 not to worry about the entrenched anti-Israel agenda because the built-in bias "will be reviewed in 2021."
Maybe Council members believe the sounds of empty diplomat paunches will drown out the cries of the victims of intolerance in Tel Aviv and Orlando, Brussels and San Bernardino. They're wrong.