Posted on: June 26, 2007 Posted by: Mitchell Plitnick Comments: 1

For some more on this issue, check out the article on Muzzlewatch

On June 20, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon delivered a sharp rebuke to the United Nations Human Rights Council for “picking on Israel.” In this, he joined the US, Canada and the European Union.

The Human Rights Council made Israel the only nation in the world that would be a permanent item on the Council’s agenda, thus singling it out as a special case among all human rights violators. Ban’s criticism went largely unnoticed, and where it was it was often characterized as kowtowing to the Western powers.kofi_annan_saluda_ban_ki-moon.jpg

That critique is way off base.

Ban’s rebuke was absolutely correct. Of course, Israel’s list of human rights violations is long; this is inevitable when conducting a military occupation and is, among the many reasons for that occupation to end, by far the most important. But criticizing Israel’s human rights violations can only be just in the context of establishing and trying to enforce global human rights norms. Pretending that Israel’s human rights violations are somehow different and worse than many other countries’ is simply absurd and wrong.

Read the annual global reports from Amnesty International. No country gets a clean bill of health, and most countries have a pretty sad list of human rights violations. Many can certainly say pretty clearly that their record is better than Israel, although most of those are not engaged in an ongoing conflict. Many others can make no such claim. And many such violations by other countries are, like Israel’s, a major cause of regional de-stabilization. There is simply no justification for Israel receiving such singular treatment.

More importantly, such actions by the UN (and there is a long line of them from various UN bodies, just as there is a long line of Israeli violations of Security Council resolutions and other articles of international law) make it much more unlikely that the UN can play a positive role in resolving this conflict. Such involvement doesn’t happen without sovereign member states agreeing to it, with a few rare exceptions. In Israel, there is a strong mistrust of the UN, and actions such as this one only reinforce that mistrust.

As it stands, Israel has every reason to stick to its stance that only the US can be the outside mediator, for obvious reasons. For those of us who realize that a more impartial body than one that says it has a “special relationship” with one side in this conflict would better serve both parties, it is already an uphill battle. We hardly need UN bodies validating claims of anti-Israel bias with actions that actually DO reveal an anti-Israel bias.

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