The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


In his recent speech at the UN, President Obama suggested that the US has turned a new page and is now a viable member of the world community after our long walk in the wilderness while George W. Bush was in office. Among the laundry list of things his administration has done to soften our image throughout the world is active participation of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). That’s the same UNHRC whose membership list includes a ‘who’s who’ of human rights violators and brutal dictatorships. But no matter, the council name incorporates "human rights" and that will surely cause the world to like us, really like us.

In an article at the UK’s TimesOnLine, Ron Prosor, Israel’s Ambassador to the UK comments:
In the history of international organisations it is hard to conceive of an institution less fit for purpose than the absurdly titled UN Human Rights Council.

Since its inception in 2006, the UNHRC has included such champions of liberal values as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Cuba. There is no doubting the comic value of such membership. Analogies spring to mind of Jack the Ripper leading a disciplinary inquiry at Scotland Yard, or Dr Harold Shipman chairing a panel discussion on medical care for the elderly. Yet for Israel, on the receiving end of this surreal hypocrisy, it is no laughing matter.

I suspect that our President would argue that by participating, we can change UNHRC thinking, mold their biased reports, and “reform” their approach. For a smart guy, it seems that Barack Obama is chronically naïve. The alternative to that characterization is that he agrees with the council’s findings, to wit:
The latest example of its hypocrisy is the 575-page Goldstone report into the Gaza conflict at the beginning of this year. Israel, a democracy with an unquestionably free press and meticulously independent judiciary, faces a threat from terrorism unique in its intensity. Yet its obligations to defend its citizens from terror are being scrutinised, delegitimised and condemned by states in which the routine price of dissent is imprisonment without trial, torture or execution.

It is impossible to escape the obsession of the Human Rights Council (and I chuckle every time I write its name) with Israel. In three years, it has issued 25 resolutions against individual states: 20 of them targeted Israel. Basic maths suggests that Israel, a tiny democracy permanently threatened by dictatorships and terrorists, is guilty of 80 per cent of the world’s human rights offences. This is ridiculous, as is a human rights body with member states that still view public beheadings as a wholesome leisure activity.

In his speech to the UN, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chastised an assembly that is perfectly willing to listen to and applaud people like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Mouamar Quadafi. He asked: “Have you no shame?”

I think that’s a reasonable question to ask an administration that brags about its participation in the UNHRC.