Obama seeks seat on UN Human Rights Council

The internationalization of American foreign policy continues as the Obama administration continues its embrace of the United Nations. The Washington Times reports that the administration is exploring the possibility of becoming a member of the Orwellian-named UN Human Rights Council:

The Obama administration is weighing a bid to join the U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC), a decision that would reverse Bush administration policy and underline a more favorable U.S. attitude toward international organizations.

Susan E. Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, has discussed joining the organization with fellow ambassadors at U.N. headquarters in New York.

"The U.S. is very interested in joining the Human Rights Council," an ambassador from one European country quoted Ms. Rice as saying.

  "My expectation, although I have no inside knowledge of this, is that the Obama administration will reverse that policy," Mr. Wood told reporters.

"It's hard to improve [the HRC] from the outside," Mr. Wood said.

The Human Rights Council was established in 2006 amid a push by the United States to reform its discredited predecessor, the U.N. Human Rights Commission.

Many countries criticized for human rights violations - including China, Cuba, Egypt, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia - have since won election to the council.

Until now, the United States has not sought a seat on the Geneva-based HRC, citing the poor rights records of many of its members.

 Even the Council of Foreign Relations has found many faults with this discredited body:

 …the new UN Human Rights Council continues to face the same criticisms that plagued its predecessor, the Commission on Human Rights. Experts say bloc voting, loose membership standards, and bias against Israel are keeping the two-year-old council from living up to expectations as a responsible watchdog over global human rights norms. It is earning a failing grade from a broad range of groups, including human rights advocates, international law experts, and democracy activists.

The UN Human Rights council has become a farce: focusing its anger and animus on Israel , with frequent disparagement of America thrown in. The council recently appointed Richard Falk as a special rapporteur on the situation of the  Palestinian human rights in the West Bank and Gaza. Falk has made a career of demonizing Israel (he compares it to Nazi Germany and has condoned mass murder bombings by Palestinians). That is just one tiny example of what the focus of the Human Rights Council has been since its creation. Falk also adheres and promotes the view that the US government carried out 9/11.

The Obama administration justifies the imprimatur of respectability it appears ready to bestow on the Council by arguing that it hopes to reform the Council from within. This is somewhat ironic since the Council was created in an effort to ‘reform” a previous incarnation, The United Nations Commission on Human Rights, which was also corrupted by anti-Israel obsessions. Hope over experience, I suppose.

Next up-attending the Durban II conference against racism (a banner for this event is on the webpage of the Human Rights Council)?

The first conference became an anti-Semitic hate-fest reminiscent of Nazi Germany. The second one promises a repeat performance. The prospect of an Obama administration granting respectability to such an event was first broached by Anna Bayefsky who noted that Obama Democrats worship at the shrine of multilateralism.

Bayefsky, from August, 2008:

Just before the summer recess, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs produced an enlightening, tangible example of multilateralism Barack Obama-style. The Committee recommended House Resolution 1361 concerning the forthcoming United Nations anti-racism conference known as Durban II. In one and the same breath, it acknowledged the anti-semitism embedded in the 2001 Durban Declaration, and then refused to support a boycott of the follow-up conference intended to implement it. For the overwhelmingly Democratic sponsors, denying legitimacy to the United Nations isn’t on the radar screen — no matter what.

Durban II — known formally as the Durban Review Conference — is scheduled for April 2009 in Geneva. HR 1361 admits the problem: “Whereas . . . the “Durban Declaration . . . wrongly branded Israel’s treatment of Palestinians as racist.” In other words, it included a form of that old U.N. canard, Zionism is racism.

Bayefsky followed up with a later article , noting that a group of influential observers (including many Obama supporters) released a full-page ad urging Barack Obama to announce the US will not attend Durban II.

Again, Bayefsky:

The conference, the ad said, far from combating racism, will fuel hatred of Israel and encourage anti-Semitism. Israel itself will not be in attendance, and foreign minister Tzipi Livni has called for American support.

Meanwhile, the congressional black caucus and human-rights groups around the country are urging Obama to attend and legitimize Durban II, which will take place in Geneva in April 2009. A decision is expected shortly, and in making it, Obama would do well to remember the moral leadership Democrats have shown in facing down U.N.-driven hatred of Israel in the past.

 Durban II is a debate in which no self-respecting anti-racist should participate.

In contrast to so many items on the incoming administration’s doorstep, this issue does not turn on dollars and cents. It is a call for moral leadership, nothing more and nothing less. On September 8, 2001, anti-Semites, violent extremists, and their political enablers took heart at the adoption of the Durban Declaration. In the week of April 20, 2009 such figures will meet again to foster the implementation of that very declaration. For the sake of the day after, Durban II is no place for the United States.
Stay tuned. Undoubtedly, should the administration decide to participate, it will do so to “reform” Durban II. I think that view would be akin to putting lipstick on a pig.