March 28, 2014 – New York – AJC denounced the UN Human Rights Council for adopting today five separate resolutions condemning Israel. “This shameful annual exercise of excoriating Israel does nothing to advance the cause of Israeli-Arab peace –or of truth,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris. “Obsessively singling out one UN member, Israel, totally undermines the very credibility of this UN body.”
“Precisely when Israelis are seeking through negotiations a permanent, sustainable peace agreement, the Human Rights Council has once again seen fit to embolden those Palestinians who believe they can skirt the peace process and rely on international pressure on Israel,” Harris added.
Moreover, particularly galling – indeed, deserving of a Nobel Prize in Chutzpah – was the Human Rights Council resolution on the “Syrian Golan,” sponsored by the Assad regime, responsible for more than 150,000 deaths, millions of refugees and unlimited use of violence against innocent Syrians over the past three years.
“The robotic response of a majority of Human Rights Council members to the anti-Israel measures is appalling,” said Harris. “Only the U.S., to its everlasting credit, has demonstrated by action its principled commitment to the Council’s mission and to opposing this international diplomatic charade against Israel.”
Four of the resolutions that dealt with the Palestinians were adopted by a vote of 46 to 1. The resolution on the Golan passed by a vote of 33 to 1, with 13 abstentions. Only the U.S. voted no on all five resolutions.
“None of the world’s worst human rights violators, some of whom are the object of resolutions at this session, have their own stand-alone agenda item at this Council. Only Israel, a vibrant and open democracy, receives such treatment,” said Paula Schriefer, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, told the Council before the vote.
“Not only are the resolutions under this agenda item biased, but they work against our collective efforts to advance a peaceful resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict,” added Schriefer, who led the U.S. delegation to the 25th Session of the UN Human Rights Council. “This Council continually singles out Israel for criticism without acknowledging the violent attacks directed at its people, nor the obligations and difficult steps of both sides to resolve the conflict.”
Although the Human Rights Council, established in 2006, was supposed to be a substantial improvement over its predecessor, the Human Rights Commission, Israel remains the only UN member subject to separate scrutiny. Debate on Israel is handled in one agenda item, while the other 192 countries that are UN members, including some of the world' s worst human rights violators, are dealt with in another, single agenda item.
“Once again, the primary human rights organ of the UN has sabotaged its promise of fairness, a vow central to the UN Charter itself, and to the resolution creating the Human Rights Council,’ said Harris.
The UN General Assembly resolution establishing the Council in 2006 determined that “the Council shall be responsible for promoting universal respect for the protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction of any kind and in a fair and equal manner.”
David Harris is AJC Executive Director, Edward and Sandra Meyer Office of the Executive Director.