Erdan tears up UNHRC report at UN General Assembly - watch

'It's always open season on Israel at the [UN] Human Rights Council," Erdan told the UN General Assembly in New York

 Ambassador Gilad Erdan tears up a UNHRC report at the UNGA. (photo credit: ISRAEL MISSION TO THE UN)
Ambassador Gilad Erdan tears up a UNHRC report at the UNGA.
(photo credit: ISRAEL MISSION TO THE UN)

To illustrate his disdain for the United Nations’ bias against Israel, Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan dramatically tore up a report by the organization’s UN Human Rights Council during an address at the UN General Assembly on Friday.

“It’s always open season on Israel at the Human Rights Council,” he told the General Assembly in New York.

Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan's speech at the UN General Assembly, October 31, 2021. (Credit: ISRAEL MISSION TO THE UN)

Since the council’s inception in 2006, it has issued 142 condemnations against UN member states, including 95 against Israel, Erdan told the General Assembly as it debated an annual report by the council summing up its actions.

This included the passage of four resolutions against Israel. A special session was also held during which the UNHRC voted to open a permanent probe against Israel’s alleged human-rights abuses in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and within sovereign Israel. Israel is the only country targeted with such an open-ended investigation.

To help put the issue in perspective, the UNHRC had issued 35 condemnations against Syria and 10 against Iran, Erdan said.

 Ambassador Gilad Erdan at the UN General Assembly (credit: ISRAEL MISSION TO THE UN) Ambassador Gilad Erdan at the UN General Assembly (credit: ISRAEL MISSION TO THE UN)

“The voices of the victims of the terrible crimes against humanity that we have already seen in the first decades of this century cannot be heard over the obsession of the so-called Human Rights Council with targeting Israel,” he said, adding: “The suffering of the victims of humanity’s greatest crimes goes unnoticed. Shame on you, shame on you, shame on you!”

Erdan said the UN had a history of anti-Israel bias and cited the infamous 1975 General Assembly resolution declaring Zionism to be racism, which was revoked in 1991.

When it was passed in 1975, former ambassador to the UN Chaim Herzog famously tore up the document in his speech to the UN General Assembly.

In recalling that moment, Erdan said: “It was on this stage, at this very body, that the very right of the Jewish people to have a national home was itself declared to be racist. A decision that was justly overturned. A decision that Israel’s ambassador at the time, Chaim Herzog, tore up before the United Nations.

“And this is exactly what should be done to this antisemitic, distorted, one-sided report. For just as that 1975 resolution, equating Zionism with racism was itself a gross form of anti-Jewish racism, which has no place in this international body, so too, the Human Rights Council’s obsessive anti-Israel bias, embodied, once again, by this report, should have no place in anybody concerned with human rights, security or peace.

“Its only place in the dustbin of antisemitism, and that is exactly how we shall treat it,” Erdan said as he tore up a copy of the report into four pieces and then walked away from the podium.

UNHRC President Nazhat Shameem, Fiji’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, was in New York for the UN General Assembly debate.

At a press briefing with reporters later in the day, she defended the UNHRC against charges of anti-Israel bias. She also pushed back against queries about the inclusion of abuser states on the 47-member Human Rights Council.

“There was no country in the world with a perfect human-rights record,” Shameem said. “If we were to say that the UNHRC is only for countries that have no violations of human rights, I am not sure that we would be left with anyone at all.”

Regarding UNHRC debates, she said Israel has been a constructive and helpful partner.

“We have heard Israel’s voice on a number of constructive matters,” she said.

The UNHRC has had 420 country-specific resolutions, including 92 on Israel, Shameem said. She did not elaborate on the UNHRC’s disproportionate focus on Israel but said it has had many productive conversations on many matters.