The human rights smoke screen

The human rights smoke screen

Contrary to what you may have heard, the United Nations did not name Israel as the world’s top violator of human rights. Nonetheless, the world body and its commissions and councils remain disproportionally focused on and critical of the Jewish state.  

On March 18, the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women passed a resolution blaming “the Israeli occupation” for the lack of advancement of Palestinian women in their society. The vote on the resolution, sponsored by the Palestinian Authority and South Africa, passed 27 to 2 with 13 abstaining. The two votes against the resolution were Israel and the United States. The abstentions were countries from the European Union.

Meanwhile, the U.N. Human Rights Council concluded its 31st session after adopting 37 resolutions. One called on Myanmar “to end all remaining human rights violations.” Another extended “the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran.” A third concerned the “human rights situation in the Syrian Arab Republic,” and a fourth condemned “in the strongest terms the long-standing and ongoing systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations committed” in North Korea.

In contrast to one resolution each for four world leaders in human rights abuse, five separate resolutions were directed against Israel. One castigated the Jewish state for “human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan,” while another endorsed “the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.” The other three lambasted the “human rights situation” in the “occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem,” cried for “justice” in East Jerusalem and excoriated Israel for its settlements in the Golan and areas east of the so-called Green Line.

Frankly, the imbalance of these resolutions comes as no surprise. Although we have come a long way since the days of “Zionism equals racism,” and the audience Israel faces at the United Nations today is not as vicious as it was decades ago, the anti-Israel bias remains. The fact that Israel’s alleged misdeeds are considered by the United Nations to be on par with the severe human rights violations in North Korea, Iran, Syria and Myanmar makes clear that the analysis is flawed and makes it difficult to take the accusations seriously. Moreover, the same reports’ repeated failure to call out the miserable record of the Palestinian Authority in addressing political dissent within its jurisdiction raises further question about the honesty of the reports.

While it is comforting that the United States can still be counted on to speak truth and to act as Israel’s friend in such votes, it remains very disconcerting that the Jewish state has a world of enemies beholden to the same tired tropes of blaming the Jews for the miseries of the Middle East.

When will it end?