A View from Israel: Dismantle the UNHRC

The UN, particularly the Human Rights Council, is notorious today for its anti-Israel bias.

UNHRC 521 (photo credit: Reuters)
(photo credit: Reuters)
Israel has a problem and it’s called the United Nations.
The UN, particularly the Human Rights Council, the successor to the failed UN Commission on Human Rights, is notorious today for its anti-Israel bias.
This past week alone, the UN has come under scrutiny for adding fuel to the proverbial Middle East fire.
On Monday, the US slammed the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva for its biased treatment of Israel.
On the same day, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu blasted the council for facilitating an event featuring a Hamas politician. Ismail al-Ashqar, a Hamas parliamentarian from Gaza, spoke at an NGO event in the Geneva building.
Last week, Kuhlood Badawi, a field officer for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, posted a photo on Twitter leading followers to believe that a dead child in the photo was killed by recent Israeli missile fire when, in fact, the child had been killed in a car accident unrelated to Israel in 2006.
Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor expressed outrage at Badawi’s conduct and called for her dismissal, but so far the UN has shown no sign that it will fire her.
Notably, and to the UN’s credit, a recent UN report on Palestinian state-building did acknowledge that the problems the Palestinians are having managing their budget “may undermine its track record as a system that meets the requirements of a well-functioning state.” The report also acknowledged that the current divide between Hamas and Fatah contributes to the failure of state-building efforts.
Unfortunately, this type of criticism, which does not fault Israel for Palestinian problems, is truly rare. The fact that it is an exception to the usual anti-Israel chorus demonstrates that the UN has lost legitimacy.
THE PROBLEM with the UN today is that it is not fulfilling the objectives it was originally created for. It is clear that the intention over the years of an intergovernmental organization was to promote peace in an unbiased fashion – not to unilaterally create states. The forerunner of the League of Nations, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, was formed by peace activists in 1889. Its aims were to encourage governments to solve international disputes by peaceful means.
The League of Nations was founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended World War I. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace. Its primary goals, as stated in its covenant, included preventing war through collective security and disarmament, and settling international disputes through negotiation and arbitration.
The League of Nations lacked an armed force of its own and depended on the Great Powers to enforce its resolutions, which they were unwilling to do. Its two most important members, Britain and France, were reluctant to use sanctions and even more reluctant to resort to military action. Immediately after the First World War, pacifism became a strong force among both the people and the governments of the two countries and the league’s resolutions were deemed irrelevant.
The UN was founded in 1945 after the Second World War when it became clear that the League of Nations had failed in its objective to prevent war. The aim was to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations and promote social progress, better living standards and human rights.
The Tehran Conference, a strategy meeting held between Joseph Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill in 1943 at the Soviet Embassy in Tehran, was the first of the World War II conferences held between all of the “Big Three” Allied leaders and likely acted as a seed from which the UN would grow.
Today, the UN has placed the Arab-Israeli conflict at the top of its agenda and blatantly ignores human rights abuses around the world.
ON TUESDAY, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay wrote an op-ed in this paper in which she made references to “occupied Palestinian territory” and “Israel’s occupation of Palestine.”
The question is, if Palestine doesn’t yet exist, how is Israel occupying it? Clearly, Pillay and her colleagues at the UN have a pro-Palestinian agenda. They seek not to fulfill the council’s mandate but rather to create a Palestinian state.
The problem is, since when is it the UN’s responsibility to ensure that any group of people ends up with a state of their own? The mandate of the UNHRC includes “preventing human rights violations, securing respect for all human rights, promoting international cooperation to protect human rights, coordinating related activities throughout the United Nations, and strengthening and streamlining the United Nations system in the field of human rights.”
None of this calls for the creation of a Palestinian state.
The UN has long overstepped the red line and has demonstrated its total partiality when dealing with the Arab-Israeli conflict.
The UNHRC must be disbanded. There is no place in the 21st century for those who drive a wedge between parties and favor one side while remaining largely indifferent to the concerns of the other. There is no excuse for the public to empower those who seek to instigate discord and incite violence.
The council created to address human rights does nothing to further its proliferation.
As Netanyahu said in his speech Monday, “I have one thing to say to the UN Human Rights Council: What do you have to do with human rights? You should be ashamed of yourselves.”
It is unrealistic to believe that the UN itself could be disbanded or even reformed, at least at this point, but it is not far-fetched to call for the disbandment of the UNHRC. It has destroyed its own integrity and should therefore cease functioning. Perhaps its successor would truly be concerned with human rights abuses and not the denigration of Israel.