UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. (US Mission Geneva/Eric Bridiers/Flickr) (US Mission Geneva/Eric Bridiers/Flickr)
UN Human Rights Council Opens in Geneva

As the UN Human Rights Council met in Geneva last week for its annual round of Israel bashing, the Jewish State lashed out at the group’s hypocrisy and failure to address real human rights issues.

By Shimon Bar Lev, United with Israel

Israel says that the so-called United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is about political bias and has nothing to do with human rights. That’s the view of Aviva Raz Shechter, Israel’s ambassador to the Geneva-based, 47-member Human Rights Council, who says there is an “unparalleled number of one-sided, biased and political resolutions” against the Jewish State.

Shechter told the Council that the “automatic majority is not only the unfair treatment of the State of Israel, but also to the deficiencies of the Council itself and its agenda.”

‘No Connection to Facts on the Ground’

International law expert Alan Baker of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs told United with Israel (UWI), “The UNHRC is the most biased of all UN groups. It’s controlled by states that are the antithesis of human rights. They use automatic majorities to single out and discriminate against Israel in the vilest manner. There are areas of the world with the most terrible situations of mass murder, and slavery and their human rights records are never discussed. Israel is covered every year in the UNHRC as an ‘annual agenda item,’ with no connection to facts on the ground.”

The Council regularly takes a strong position bashing “settlements” – referring to Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria – and Israel’s allegedly poor treatment of Palestinians.

Shechter told the Council that Israel has always stood up for human rights and “done so while facing serious threats to its security, and while needing to integrate diverse communities and religious groups.”

In 2017, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley echoed Israel’s position, saying there was a “chronic anti-Israel bias” in the UNHRC. Haley used Venezuela’s real human rights violations as an example of the bias. She noted that the Council pursued five resolutions against Israel in its March 2017 session but none against the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

“Venezuela should voluntarily step down from its seat on the Human Rights Council until it can get its own house in order. Being a member of this council is a privilege, and no country who is a human rights violator should be allowed a seat at the table,” Haley said.

‘Nobody Takes the UNHRC Seriously’

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has reportedly been considering a US withdrawal from the Council. In a statement, spokesperson Mark Toner had called the permanent agenda item on Israel “among the largest threats to the credibility of the Council.”

Baker told WIN that it may be very difficult to change the way the UNHRC operates. “The UNHRC is a leftover from the UN Committee on Human Rights that was disbanded by former Secretary General Kofi Annan precisely because it was so biased against Israel. Structurally, nothing can be done to change the situation unless powerful states take it seriously enough to initiate change. That is unlikely. The Europeans are moved by political interests and not by what is just or logical. The UNHRC has become a disgrace to the UN charter that insists that countries not be targeted unjustly.  Fortunately, nobody takes the UNHRC seriously,”  Baker said.

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