The permanent anti-Israel bias in the UNHRC’s permanent Agenda Item 7

Useless UN

UN – Useless Nations

The UN Human Rights Wrongs Council has a standing Agenda Item Number 7 in which “Israel’s human rights abuses” are discussed. The very title of the Agenda item invites the inevitable biased conclusion.

Continuing their previous approach, the United States decided to boycott the UNHRC session in which Agenda Item no. 7 was debated. The State Department’s objections read as follows:

The United States strongly and unequivocally opposes the existence of the UN Human Rights Council’s Agenda Item Seven: “Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories.” Today’s actions in the Council are yet another reminder of that body’s long-standing bias against Israel. No other nation has an entire agenda item dedicated to it at the Council. The continued existence of this agenda item is among the largest threats to the credibility of the Council.

As an expression of our deeply-held conviction that this bias must be addressed in order for the Council to realize its legitimate purpose, the United States decided not to attend the Council’s Item Seven General Debate session. It does not serve the interests of the Council to single out one country in an unbalanced matter. Later this week, the United States will vote against every resolution put forth under this agenda item and is encouraging other countries to do the same.

The United States envoy to the Human Rights Council, Erin Barclay, set out the US’s position already at the beginning of March:

Even more encouragingly, the United States has given warning that in the absence of reform at the HRC, they might reconsider their participation in the Council altogether:

America is one of the council’s 47 member-states, but the Trump administration has warned that it could reconsider its participation unless a number of changes are made, including changes in the UNHRC’s treatment of Israel.

The US also pledged to vote against five anti-Israel resolutions the council is expected to pass later this week. The UNHRC will also likely approve seven resolutions regarding human rights abuses in seven other countries, including Syria and Iran.

The UN Human Rights Council is mandated to dedicate Agenda Item Seven to a discussion on human rights abuses in Israel at every session.

It is the only country against which there is such a mandate; all other human rights abuses, including those by Syria and Iran, are examined under Agenda Item Four.

“Today’s actions in the council are yet another reminder of that body’s long-standing bias against Israel. No other nation has an entire agenda item dedicated to it at the council,” the State Department said. “The continued existence of this agenda item is among the largest threats to the credibility of the council. As an expression of our deeply held conviction that this bias must be addressed in order for the council to realize its legitimate purpose, the United States decided not to attend the council’s Item Seven General Debate session.”

The HRC was too much even for the Obama Administration in the end:

Under former president George W. Bush, the US refused to participate in all council debates, but former president Barack Obama believed it was important for the United States to engage the council.

The US held a UNHRC seat for six of Obama’s eight years in office.

Under his administration, the country always voted in support of Israel and in the last few years, it also refrained from participating in Agenda Item Seven debates.

The EU and most Western countries have followed suit. Israel’s Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Aviva Raz Shechter, who also boycotted the session, said: “The Human Rights Council is obsessed with Israel and continues to lose its standing.”

Standing up for Israel, in place of the Israeli envoy who was also boycotting the debate, were stalwart pro-Israel organizations.

Here is World Jewish Congress Representative Gabriel Rosenberg on the blatant bias in retaining Agenda Item 7:

And here is UN Watch’s unrelentingly persistent Hillel Neuer, addressing those benighted dictatorships and Arab states who condemn Israel for apartheid while they themselves are the greatest perpetrators of apartheid. “Where are your Jews?” he asks them pointedly:

Kol hakavod to the WJC and UN Watch, and kudos too to the State Department as well as other Western countries who boycotted the event. It is very encouraging to note that they can see the evil bias in this permanent agenda item which exposes the ludicrous, not to say outrageous, hypocrisy of the Human Rights Council.

Which then begs the question why do these countries – and I include Israel in this – even belong to the HRC any more? Why not disband it? Or simply set up a parallel Human Rights Council which will actually concern itself with real human rights abuses. They could do worse than start with the human rights abuses of the other participating members of the HRC.

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10 Responses to The permanent anti-Israel bias in the UNHRC’s permanent Agenda Item 7

  1. Pingback: The permanent anti-Israel bias in the UNHRC’s permanent Agenda Item 7 – 24/6 Magazine

  2. Reality says:

    At long last and only because of the US other countries too may take a stand.Why do they have to wait for the US?Why,under the Obama administration were other countries too scared to stand up against item 7?

    • anneinpt says:

      I think that other countries did boycott item 7, and even the US in Obama’s last 2 years. But all of this is still not enough to get the item 7 dropped. The UNHRC should be disbanded or another parallel institution for democracies only established.

  3. Brian Goldfarb says:

    Not sure if this is right place to post this, but your reactions are welcome as to the content. SPME (Society for Peace in the Middle East – a US pro-Israel academic organisation) has a lightly edited version of the following article – originally in the Jerusalem Post – by Illan Troen, President of the Association of Israel Studies and a Prof at Brandeis, as well as a visiting Prof at Ben Gurion Uni

    In it, he says:
    “Israel must not become an isolated entity open only to those who ascribe to official policy.”

    in the course of querying the new Israeli law giving the power to stop advocates of BDS and other enemies of Israel from entering the country, Troen also says that while terrorists and suchlike clearly should be barred from entry, those who merely (my gloss) propose the destruction of Israel by delegitimising it and crippling it economically and intellectually should not be barred.

    I couldn’t find a place to comment (although the SPME site does claim to welcome our them), but I would have repeated one I posted to a previous article here, to whit that all genuine parliamentary democracies reserve the right to exclude or deport those non-citizens whose presence was (in the words of the UK version) “not conducive to the public good”. I.e., they are bad news, get them out of here.

    I thought it was only enemies of Israel who held it to a higher standard. It seems that some of her “friends” do as well.

    Never thought I’d see something like this on the SPME site, at least not without an editorial comment of some sort.

    • anneinpt says:

      Brian, thanks for this article. I agree with you completely that those seeking to boycott Israel – i.e. cripple it economically, which is a form of terrorism after all – and those seeking to delegitimize it – which is a form of warfare – should not have an automatic right to enter the country.

      From reading the article I get the impression the author is one of those bleeding hearts who is so open-minded his brains fell out. He is so eager to “virtue-signal” and to show that “we are better than those benighted nations” that he is endangering his very own society.

      Regarding leaving a comment there, if you click scroll right to the very bottom, below the adverts, (and maybe click on the words “no comments” to open it up), you will see a comment box.

  4. Israeli Christian says:

    Boycotting UN is not a solution, we should fight back. What are US allies (NATO countries, Japan, Korea etc.) and other Christian countries doing in the UNHRC council, why are they not voting against. They expect US protection against their enemies and now when they should help their ally Israel and vote against these anti-Israeli and antisemitic resolutions, they abstained or vote for. NO, this has to stop. They should vote against every resolution that even mentions Israel. The enemies clearly have only one goal: to delegitimise Israel so that they can more easily destroy it.

    • anneinpt says:

      You make an wxcellent point IC. But how do we go about persuading them to side with Israel? Why do they always vote against Israel even though they know it’s all lies?

      • Israeli Christian says:

        I wrote on other forums so I don’t want to repeat myself but here are some new points:
        1) By approaching each country individually and persuading them on direct communication outside of UN. Most countries’ foreign policy is on auto-pilot on this topic and it takes time to change it. Find the countries’ background (comunist, liberal, Christian) and use proper arguments: facts on the ground, exodus of Jews from Muslim countries into Israel etc., some good parallels in their own situation (you will find planty of allies on the edges of Muslim world; also e.g. when in Spain compare with Basque country, when in India situation with Pakistan etc)
        2) Being more diplomatically active – I know US is the first 5 points of importance for Israeli foreign policy, even if it’s 20 than still the 21. point should be other countries – gain in quantity of support (US is the quality). Not much can be done about Muslim countries but the rest of the world has no reason to vote against these horibble resolutions
        3) Including issue of voting against ALL anti-Israel resolutions in UN into US foreign policy – with no buts of ifs, when ever US Secretary of State meets a representative of a country that wants something from US the first thing on the agenda should be voting against resolutions in UN on Israeli topics.
        4) By using proper arguments – defend Israel from the perspective of Israelis with background in Arab countries and not the ones from Poland – for them Israel is the country where they are finally free from Muslim rule; Israel has so many moral arguments to defend its case that it would take me hours to write them all down, and these arguments would resonate in all communities and nations in the world and not just Jewish diaspora.

        The most important goal should be to take Israel-Palestine topic of the agenda in UN or in any other discussion: I know Jews want to think that they are special but there is so many other conflicts in the world with suppressed minorities, with their own holy sites and noone is talking about them. The same should happen with Israel: become just another boring country like Belgium.

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