December 2, 2013 – New York – AJC welcomes the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) decision to invite Israel to become a member of the regional group at the UN in Geneva.
“Bravo to WEOG! This step ends the shameful anomaly whereby Israel was the only UN member state not fully integrated in the world body’s regional grouping system in Geneva, headquarters of the Human Rights Council,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris. “We thank those WEOG countries, including, notably, the United States, that led the successful effort.”
The decision in Geneva comes 13 years after WEOG admitted Israel as a member at UN headquarters in New York. AJC conducted a multi-year campaign to secure that result, engaging in scores of private meetings with the leaders of WEOG member states, as it has in the more recent effort focused on Geneva.
After Israel was admitted to WEOG in New York, both U.S. Ambassador to the UN Richard Holbrooke (1999-2001), whose leadership was critical, and Israeli Ambassador to the UN Dore Gold (1997-1999) publicly acknowledged AJC’s key role.
Moreover, the New York Times noted that AJC, which “had led the campaign” using “quiet diplomacy at the UN and European capitals,” still insisted that the “fight is not over” so long as Israel’s WEOG membership was confined to New York.
“The overall objective is to achieve permanent and equal status for Israel in the regional system, consistent with the UN Charter’s promise of equal treatment for all member states,” said Harris at the time. “We look forward to similar WEOG acceptance of Israel in other UN centers outside New York.”
Reflecting on the latest WEOG admission, Harris said, “Now that this important step in Geneva has been taken, another pressing issue awaits there.”
“The UN Human Rights Council permanent agenda assigns a separate item to Israel, judging it guilty unless proven otherwise, while the other 192 UN member states, including serial human rights offenders like Iran, Syria, North Korea and Sudan, are all lumped together under a different heading,” Harris added.
Harris stressed that “it is long overdue for Israel to be treated equally, and not in such a discriminatory fashion. We look to WEOG -- and others who value the principle of equality -- for leadership in reversing this.”