NYT, WaPo ignore Clinton condemnation of UN Human Rights Council's 'structural bias' against Israel

Leo Rennert
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Geneva on Feb. 28 for a major U.S. policy address to the UN Human Rights Council.

While Clinton welcomed the ouster of Libya from the Council -- on orders of the UN General Assembly -- her speech was more newsworthy on two other counts.

First, she called for creation by the Council of a special rapporteur to document human-rights abuses in Iran -- "Why do people have the right to live free from fear in Tripoli but not in Tehran?" she asked -- and second, she slammed the Council for its "structural bias against Israel."

This was a dramatic, public spanking of a Human Rights Council that has disgraced itself by its singular determination to demonize Israel, while ignoring real human-rights abuses in China, Russia, Burma, Iran, Cuba and, until last week, Libya.  Only four months earlier, the  Council  actually had heaped praise on Qaddafi's regime.

Here is what Clinton had to say about the abysmal behavior of the Human Rights Council vis a vis Israel:

"The structural bias against Israel -- including a standing agenda item for Israel, whereas all other countries are treated under a common item -- is wrong.  And it undermines the important work we are trying to do together.  As member states, we can take the Council in a better, stronger direction.

"The Council must apply a single standard to all countries based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  It cannot continue to single out and devote disproportionate attention to any one country."

Clinton's sharp denunciation of the Council's vendetta against Israel was doubly newsworthy; first, because she delivered it directly to its intended target at a plenary session of the Council, and, second, because it came from the foreign policy chief of the Obama administration, which has been more wont to blame Israel than to defend it on the world stage.  Prime Minister Netanyahu still has personal scars from withering Clinton criticisms to prove the point.

Yet, neither the New York Times nor the Washington Post devoted a single line to Clinton's condemnation of the "structural bias against Israel" by the UN Human Rights Council.

Nor did these two papers report still another newsworthy nugget in Clinton's speech in Geneva --her flat rejection of a long-standing campaign by Muslim countries to criminalize criticism of Islam.

While Jerusalem welcomed her defense of Israel to be treated equally with other UN members, there must have been lots of rumpled feelings in capitals throughout the Muslim world for her demand that the Council "move beyond a decade-long debate over whether insults to religion should be banned or criminalized.  It is time to overcome the false divide that pits religious sensitivities against freedom of expression."

Supporters of the First Amendment have been in the forefront of pushing back against Islamic efforts to criminalize criticism of passages in the Koran.  One would have thought that the Times and the Post, as self-styled First Amendment freedom-of-expression disciples, would take note of Clinton's remarks on this topic.  But they didn't.

It seems that at the Times and the Post, a high-profile expression of support of Israel and an equally high-profile rebuke to Muslim countries by the secretary of state of the United States don't rate as news that's fit to print.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Geneva on Feb. 28 for a major U.S. policy address to the UN Human Rights Council.

While Clinton welcomed the ouster of Libya from the Council -- on orders of the UN General Assembly -- her speech was more newsworthy on two other counts.

First, she called for creation by the Council of a special rapporteur to document human-rights abuses in Iran -- "Why do people have the right to live free from fear in Tripoli but not in Tehran?" she asked -- and second, she slammed the Council for its "structural bias against Israel."

This was a dramatic, public spanking of a Human Rights Council that has disgraced itself by its singular determination to demonize Israel, while ignoring real human-rights abuses in China, Russia, Burma, Iran, Cuba and, until last week, Libya.  Only four months earlier, the  Council  actually had heaped praise on Qaddafi's regime.

Here is what Clinton had to say about the abysmal behavior of the Human Rights Council vis a vis Israel:

"The structural bias against Israel -- including a standing agenda item for Israel, whereas all other countries are treated under a common item -- is wrong.  And it undermines the important work we are trying to do together.  As member states, we can take the Council in a better, stronger direction.

"The Council must apply a single standard to all countries based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  It cannot continue to single out and devote disproportionate attention to any one country."

Clinton's sharp denunciation of the Council's vendetta against Israel was doubly newsworthy; first, because she delivered it directly to its intended target at a plenary session of the Council, and, second, because it came from the foreign policy chief of the Obama administration, which has been more wont to blame Israel than to defend it on the world stage.  Prime Minister Netanyahu still has personal scars from withering Clinton criticisms to prove the point.

Yet, neither the New York Times nor the Washington Post devoted a single line to Clinton's condemnation of the "structural bias against Israel" by the UN Human Rights Council.

Nor did these two papers report still another newsworthy nugget in Clinton's speech in Geneva --her flat rejection of a long-standing campaign by Muslim countries to criminalize criticism of Islam.

While Jerusalem welcomed her defense of Israel to be treated equally with other UN members, there must have been lots of rumpled feelings in capitals throughout the Muslim world for her demand that the Council "move beyond a decade-long debate over whether insults to religion should be banned or criminalized.  It is time to overcome the false divide that pits religious sensitivities against freedom of expression."

Supporters of the First Amendment have been in the forefront of pushing back against Islamic efforts to criminalize criticism of passages in the Koran.  One would have thought that the Times and the Post, as self-styled First Amendment freedom-of-expression disciples, would take note of Clinton's remarks on this topic.  But they didn't.

It seems that at the Times and the Post, a high-profile expression of support of Israel and an equally high-profile rebuke to Muslim countries by the secretary of state of the United States don't rate as news that's fit to print.