Obama Strikes Out at the UNHRC

Leo Rennert
The UN Human Rights Council, packed with repressive dictatorships, has paid scant attention to real human-rights abuses like use of security services to mow down peaceful protesters in places like Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain and Syria.  Such admonitions are definitely not the focus of this misnamed UN agency.

Instead, while innocent blood flowed through the Arab world, the Council spent two full days -- March 25 and 26 -- in adopting six anti-Israel resolutions.  That's a new record for the number of condemnatory UNHRC resolutions on a single country.

Actually, there was never was any doubt that these resolutions would be adopted by lopsided margins.  UNHRC counts among its members such paragons of human rights as Bahrain, China, Cuba, Egypt, Pakistan, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

On four of the six resolutions, the United States cast a sole negative vote -- a clear indication of the failure of President Obama's rationale for rejoining the Council, which his predecessor, George W. Bush, had boycotted.  Obama claimed that an active U.S. presence on the Council would bear fruit by turning it away from its exclusive obsession against Israel.  America's galling isolation during the roll calls proved otherwise.

The most disputed resolution -- if one can call it that -- accuses Israel of grave human rights violations in the "Occupied Palestinian Territory," which UNHRC defines as every square inch of Gaza, the entire West Bank and all of East Jerusalem. In other words, this is a resolution that totally bypasses peace negotiations and arrogates to UNHRC the right to redraw Israel's borders so as to include Judaism's holiest sites -- Temple Mount and the Western Wall -- within a Palestinian state.   The resolution passed on a vote of 31 in favor, nine against and seven abstentions.  Joining the U.S. on the "no" side were Belgium, France, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, and Britain.  Obama diplomacy was swamped by more than a 3-to-1 margin.

Not only did the usual anti-human-rights caucus garner lopsided majorities for all six resolutions, many Western democracies cravenly cast abstention votes in a public show of cowardice in the face of a new UN low when it comes to genuine defense of real human-rights violations.

For example, on a resolution on the Golan Heights -- referred to as the "occupied Syrian Golan" -- Israel is depicted as a gross violator of human rights because its residents can gain Israeli citizenship or receive Israeli identity cards.  Which is rich when you consider that across from the Golan, a Syrian tyrant presides over a bloodbath of his own people without UNHRC uttering a peep of protest.

Nevertheless, the U.S. delegation cast the sole "no" vote on this resolution, while 15 countries abstained,  among them such purported democracies as Belgium, France, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway and Britain.

The scorecard for this two-day UNHRC anti-Israel frenzy is quite clear: George W. Bush has been proved right in his assessment that UNHRC is unredeemable anti-Israel and AWOL on real human-rights abuses, while his successor was wrong in presuming that he could reverse UNHRC's descent into al-out betrayal of human rights.
The UN Human Rights Council, packed with repressive dictatorships, has paid scant attention to real human-rights abuses like use of security services to mow down peaceful protesters in places like Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain and Syria.  Such admonitions are definitely not the focus of this misnamed UN agency.

Instead, while innocent blood flowed through the Arab world, the Council spent two full days -- March 25 and 26 -- in adopting six anti-Israel resolutions.  That's a new record for the number of condemnatory UNHRC resolutions on a single country.

Actually, there was never was any doubt that these resolutions would be adopted by lopsided margins.  UNHRC counts among its members such paragons of human rights as Bahrain, China, Cuba, Egypt, Pakistan, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

On four of the six resolutions, the United States cast a sole negative vote -- a clear indication of the failure of President Obama's rationale for rejoining the Council, which his predecessor, George W. Bush, had boycotted.  Obama claimed that an active U.S. presence on the Council would bear fruit by turning it away from its exclusive obsession against Israel.  America's galling isolation during the roll calls proved otherwise.

The most disputed resolution -- if one can call it that -- accuses Israel of grave human rights violations in the "Occupied Palestinian Territory," which UNHRC defines as every square inch of Gaza, the entire West Bank and all of East Jerusalem. In other words, this is a resolution that totally bypasses peace negotiations and arrogates to UNHRC the right to redraw Israel's borders so as to include Judaism's holiest sites -- Temple Mount and the Western Wall -- within a Palestinian state.   The resolution passed on a vote of 31 in favor, nine against and seven abstentions.  Joining the U.S. on the "no" side were Belgium, France, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, and Britain.  Obama diplomacy was swamped by more than a 3-to-1 margin.

Not only did the usual anti-human-rights caucus garner lopsided majorities for all six resolutions, many Western democracies cravenly cast abstention votes in a public show of cowardice in the face of a new UN low when it comes to genuine defense of real human-rights violations.

For example, on a resolution on the Golan Heights -- referred to as the "occupied Syrian Golan" -- Israel is depicted as a gross violator of human rights because its residents can gain Israeli citizenship or receive Israeli identity cards.  Which is rich when you consider that across from the Golan, a Syrian tyrant presides over a bloodbath of his own people without UNHRC uttering a peep of protest.

Nevertheless, the U.S. delegation cast the sole "no" vote on this resolution, while 15 countries abstained,  among them such purported democracies as Belgium, France, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway and Britain.

The scorecard for this two-day UNHRC anti-Israel frenzy is quite clear: George W. Bush has been proved right in his assessment that UNHRC is unredeemable anti-Israel and AWOL on real human-rights abuses, while his successor was wrong in presuming that he could reverse UNHRC's descent into al-out betrayal of human rights.