The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is only 8 years old — a baby really in the grand scheme of things. There are 47 members elected by the UN General Assembly.
The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and make recommendations on them. It has the ability to discuss all thematic human rights issues and situations that require its attention throughout the year. It meets at the UN Office at Geneva.
I know very little about the UNHRC but I know that Israeli officials despise it.
In 2012, Israel became the first nation to boycott the UNHRC after it learned the Human Rights Council was going to probe how Israel’s illegal settlements were infringing on the rights of Palestinians. Israel wasn’t much too pleased either when the UNHRC endorsed the Goldstone Report in 2009 (that’s another blog post, or two, or three)!
Israeli officials reject any critique directed at their state, preferring to play the anti-Semitic card, or just turn away and pretend they don’t hear it. That makes it quite challenging for the community of nations trying to send a message to Israel. “Clean up your act — end the occupation!”
Reminds me of a young child receiving a scolding from the adults in the house, but is too immature to process the critique and prefers to run from the room with his hands over his ears, screaming “No! No! No!” (Too bad there’s not a “time out” corner where the UNHRC could quietly send Israel for a cooling off period.)
UNHRC probably has no power or leverage to accomplish anything, but a quick look at its website reveals the numerous attempts it has made over the years to raise concerns about Israel’s human rights violations. Take a look here.
On March 28 this year, the members of UNHRC passed 4 resolutions condemning Israel’s violations of international law. One resolution pertained to Palestinians’ right of determination. It passed 46 to 1.
Another resolution addressed Israeli settlements in the Palestinian occupied territories. It passed 46 to 1.
A third resolution pertained to human rights violations. It passed 46 to 1.
And the final resolution focused on Gaza. It passed 46 to 1.
There’s a pattern here . . . 46 to 1.
The lone NAY vote came from the United States, on all four resolutions! (Links to each can be found here.)
This pattern is not unusual. The U.S. frequently casts the lone veto on the Security Council on any measure that criticizes Israel.
The U.S. has an incestuous relationship with Israel. The U.S. enables Israel to continue the occupation and its destructive behavior. The U.S. shields Israel (or tries to) from the opprobrium of the community of nations. And the moral leadership of the U.S. suffers with this unholy alliance.
Good friends don’t let friends commit war crimes.
Good friends don’t let friends violate international law.
The U.S. needs to be a good friend to Israel, not its sycophant.