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Israel Caves on its UN Human Rights Council Boycott

Such human rights stalwarts as Cuba, Pakistan, Algeria, Tunisia and 'Palestine' vilified Israel for refusing to submit to a UN Human Rights Council review of its human rights record.
The United Nations Human Rights Council

The United Nations Human Rights Council
Photo Credit: United Nations

It took less than a year and a half, but Israel has backed down from its position of refusing to submit its neck for the certain sharpened knife to fall: the Jewish State announced through its prime minister that it will appear before the United Nations Human Rights Council and will allow that much- and justly-maligned body pronounce on its human rights record as part of the Universal Periodic Review for all member nations.

The UPR was created by the same UN General Assembly resolution in March, 2006, which created the Human Rights Council. Through the UPR, each member state declares what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their own countries, and how they fulfil their human rights obligations. Of course, as far as the UN HRC and most of its member states is concerned, the process is designed to “ensure equal treatment for every country when their human rights situations are assessed.”

Except, of course, when it comes to Israel.

In March, 2012, Israel withdrew its participation from the UN Human Rights Council’s periodic review of human rights records of member states because it had habitually been singled out for unfair and utterly unbalanced review of its behavior, while its enemies have been treated with kid gloves despite years of relentless state-sponsored and state-supported terrorism against the Jewish State.

But after repeated public and relentless behind the scenes pressure, the boycott has ended.

That pressure included haranguing, vengeful floor statements at a meeting of the HRC on June 7, 2013, by representatives of many members states, including that of the United States, that Israel must cooperate with the Universal Periodic Review mechanism. There have also been reports of extra-body communications, such as a strongly worded communique directly from Germany warning of a dire diplomatic backlash unless Israel return to the fold.

And so, Israel indeed folded.

The statements by members at that June 7 meeting were remarkable given the human rights violators who had the temerity to insist that Israel bow its head before the HRC.

First, in an official statement, “Palestine” said it appreciated the efforts of the president of the HRC to “protect the Universal Periodic Review mechanism and the integrity of the Human Rights Council in the face of the unprecedented non-cooperation and non-compliance of Israel.” Palestine urged Israel to cooperate with the Human Rights Council and said that an exchange of letters was not sufficient to count as engagement. Palestine said it regarded the Universal Periodic Review deadline set by the President as final and binding.

And that universal supporter of human rights and all things good and fair, Cuba, condemned Israel for boycotting the Universal Periodic Review, and said that “the attitude of Israel was deplorable and unacceptable.”

Tunisia, as was the case with most of the Arab and Muslim groups, could not even bring itself to mention the name of the Jewish State, and instead merely “regretted the continuing attitude of the country under review,” referring to that state as engaging in “persistent non-cooperation.”  As far as Tunisia was concerned, the HRC should no longer even negotiate with the recalcitrant state.

Speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, Algeria claimed that its group was committed to the Universal Periodic Review’s “transparency, objectivity, equal treatment and non-selectivity.” The Arab Group also stated that the (unnamed) non-cooperating entity’s behavior was unacceptable, and stressed the importance of protecting the credibility of the HRC.

Pakistan, representing the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, charged Israel’s “persistent non-compliance” as a “serious breach of United Nations system expectations” and it too suggested that the UPR should go ahead as planned whether or not Israel chose to be present.

Israel’s announcement that it would participate in its review at the seventeenth session of the Working Group of the Universal Periodic Review, came less than 48 hours before that process is to begin, on Tuesday, October 29, in Geneva.

Israel is still prevented from joining the Human Rights Council because it is denied a place in any regional group of nations, and the geographic groups are the entities from which HRC members are selected.  Given its location, Israel should be a part of the Asian Nations Group, as are its neighboring states. But Israel is barred from belonging to that group because the Arab nations within that bloc oppose Israel’s membership.

Israel is relegated to membership in the WEOG, a catchall group for “Western Nations and Others,” but Israel’s membership even in WEOG is only for activities at the New York-based UN activities, not for those in Geneva, such as the HRC.

And yet this is the same global body that demands Israel adheres to the UN’s rules which it insists are guided by transparency and equal treatment for all. In just one week in March, 2012, the UN HRC passed five resolutions condemning Israel.  No other nation has received as many resolutions condemning it than has Israel.

About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.


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7 Responses to “Israel Caves on its UN Human Rights Council Boycott”

  1. Angela Horne says:

    this channel has videos of a fun Palestine, and Muslims who support Israel, reproduce it if you like…..http://www.youtube.com/user/SayNoToTheIlluminati

  2. Alan Kardon says:

    Suggest that all of these groups submit their (Cuba, Pakistan, Algeria, Tunisia and Palestine). Human Rights to the UN. See how "Human" they are?

  3. Here is yet another decision I disagree with Israel on. The United Nations Human Rights Council has been one of the greatest violators of human rights, specifically against Israel. Slander, anti Israel bias, and corruption have been the mainstay of not only this committee but the United Nations in general. The same holds true for the European Union, they will consistently badger Israel about settlements being the obstacle to peace. But, completely disregard the real obstacle to peace is Palestinian butchery and terrorism. For how many years did Israel have to put up with Richard Falk’s anti-Semitism and anti Israel decisions that were completely devoid of any truth. If these organizations ever decide or is forced to get cleaned up and hatred, prejudice, and bigotry are rooted out, then perhaps, it would be worth Israel’s time to reconsider involvement with these groups. But, I have seen no indication that this is going to happen anytime soon and until then, Israel would be better served to stay out of any involvement with these cesspools otherwise known as the United Nations and European Union.

  4. Well, the Arab and Muslim controlled United Nations seems to be as two faced as ever. Demanding of Israel and yet denying Israel full rights under the Carter of which it is supposed to operate under. Perhaps they should demand that the Muslim States recognize Israel as an nation and let them join the Asian Nations group. Then, there would be an equality that should have existed since 1948, that never has . Until that time, I feel as other Jews must world wide that all is unequal amongst the nation of the U.N..

  5. AC Stubbs says:

    Israel was vindicated after proving the Goldstone paper was a lie, they will be vindicated here too

  6. Yechiel Baum says:

    Shame! That money is better use to feed the Jewish poor and bringing more Jews to Israel than paying anti-Semites to curse us at the UN

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