UN Corruption in 2013: Top 10 Worst Decisions

UN interpreter caught saying 9 resolutions on Israel are “too much.”

— by Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch

When the U.N. gives credit to oppressive regimes, millions of human rights victims pay the price.

2014 begins tomorrow with China, Cuba, Russia and Saudi Arabia taking their new seats on the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Instead of elevating and legitimizing dictatorships, the U.N. should be advocating for the release of their political prisoners.

After the jump: Blaming the U.S. and Israel for the Boston Marathon bombings, questionable appointments of Iran and Syria, and blaming Israel for most of the world’s troubles in the top-10 worst decisions list.

  1. UNESCO — which has condemned no other country but Israel, and which was silent as Hamas bulldozed a world heritage site to make a terrorist training campallowed Syria to sit as a judge on UNESCO’s human rights committee.
  2. The U.N. chose Zimbabwe, a regime that systematically violates human rights, to host its world tourism summit.

    UN human rights expert, Richard Falk.
  3. The U.N. Human Rights Council elected slave-holding Mauritania to be its vice-president.
  4. The U.N. Economic and Social Council, which oversees the U.N. women’s rights commission, elected genocidal Sudan as its vice-president.  
  5. The U.N. Conference on Disarmament last May made Iran its president.  
  6. The U.N. Special Committee on Decolonization, charged with upholding fundamental human rights and opposing the subjugation of peoples, elected the murderous Syrian regime to a senior post.
  7. U.N. human rights expert Richard Falk blamed the Boston Marathon terror bombings on “the American global domination project” and “Tel Aviv.”
  8. The U.N. General Assembly elected China, Cuba, Russia, and Saudi Arabia to the U.N. Human Rights Council. The dictatorships will take their new seats on January 1, 2014.
  9. The same U.N. General Assembly adopted 21 condemnatory resolutions against Israel, compared to 4 on the rest of the world combined.
  10. The U.N. Human Rights Council elected Hezbollah supporter Jean Ziegler, founder and recipient of the Muammar Qaddafi Human Rights Prize, as a top adviser.

Milestone Victory Against Bigotry

— by Hillel Neuer

After decades of being excluded from all of the UN Human Rights Council’s regional groups in Geneva, Israel will be formally invited to join the Western group on Monday.  This is a historic, milestone victory for the cause of equality, a memorable step forward in the long struggle ahead against injustice at the United Nations. UN Watch salutes Israel on its diplomatic achievement, and expresses special gratitude to Canada, the UK, France, Germany and the US for playing a key role in ending one form of bias within the pattern and practice of anti-Israel prejudice at the UN.

More after the jump.
For two decades UN Watch fought publicly and privately to overturn the blatantly discriminatory practice whereby the Jewish state was segregated -— in direct violation of the UN Charter’s equality guarantee — into a category of its own, the only nation excluded from a regional group. It’s gratifying to see this victory today.  Contrary to several news reports, admission to WEOG in Geneva is unrelated to membership on the 47-nation council. And regrettably it will not detract from the Arab states’ continued ability to target Israel in resolutions, urgent sessions and a special agenda item.  Rather, WEOG admission will allow Israel to participate together with all 192 other UN member states in receiving regular briefings, and to have its small say in the selection of council investigators, known as special rapporteurs. More than anything, what regional group admission means for Israel is a sign of equal treatment — the removal of a symbol of bigotry and of an ugly stain upon the reputation of the UN.

Hillel Neuer is the executive director of UN Watch.  UN Watch is a Geneva-based human rights organization founded in 1993 to monitor UN compliance with the principles of its Charter.

UN Interpreter Caught Saying 9 Resolutions on Israel “Too Much”

(UN Watch) A U.N. interpreter was caught admitting the U.N. unfair treatment of Israel yesterday, as the U.N. General Assembly adopted nine resolutions condemning Israel, and none on the rest of the world.

U.N. Interpeter (unaware her mic was on): I mean, I think when you have five statements, not five, like a total of ten resolutions on Israel and Palestine, there’s gotta be something, c’est un peu trop, non? [It’s a bit much, no?] I mean I know… There’s other really bad shit happening, but no one says anything, about the other stuff.

(Chair and delegates laugh.)

Interpreter: Apologies.

Secretary: I understand there was a problem with interpretation?

Interpreter: The interpreter apologizes (audible gasp).

Full resolution list after the jump.
Under Agenda Item 51 (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East):

Assistance to Palestine refugees (A/C.4/68/L.12) – Vote: 164 Yes, 2 No, 6 Abstain
“Expressing grave concern at the especially difficult situation of the Palestine refugees under occupation, including with regard to their safety, well-being and socioeconomic living conditions…”

Persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 and subsequent hostilities (A/C.4/68/L.13) – Vote: 162 Yes, 6 No, 5 Abstain
“Reaffirms the right of all persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 and subsequent hostilities to return to their homes or former places of residence in the territories occupied by Israel since 1967…”

Operations of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (A/C.4/68/L.14) – Vote: 164 Yes, 6 No, 3 Abstain
“Gravely concerned about the extremely difficult socioeconomic conditions being faced by the Palestine refugees in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, particularly in the refugee camps in the Gaza Strip, as a result of the continuing prolonged Israeli closures…”

Palestine refugees’ properties and their revenues (A/C.4/68/L.15) – Vote: 163 Yes, 7 No, 3 Abstain
“Reaffirms that the Palestine refugees are entitled to their property and to the income derived there from, in conformity with the principles of equity and justice…”

Under Agenda Item 52 (Report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practice Affecting the Human Rights of Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories):

Work of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories (A/C.4/68/L.16) – Vote: 88 Yes,  8 No, 73 Abstain
“Deplores those policies and practices of Israel that violate the human rights of the Palestinian people and other Arabs of the occupied territories…”

Applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the other occupied Arab territories (A/C.4/68/L.17) – Vote: 160 Yes, 6 No, 5 Abstain

“Demands that Israel accept the de jure applicability of the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, and that it comply scrupulously with the provisions of the Convention…”

Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the occupied Syrian Golan (A/C.4/68/L.18) – Vote: 158 Yes, 6 No, 8 Abstain
“Reaffirms that the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan are illegal and an obstacle to peace and economic and social development…”

Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem (A/C.4/68/L.19) – Vote: 156 Yes, 8 No, 7 Abstain
“Expressing grave concern about the continuing systematic violation of the human rights of the Palestinian people by Israel, the occupying Power…”

The occupied Syrian Golan (A/C.4/68/L.20) – Vote: 159 Yes, 1 No, 11 Abstain

“The Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the occupied Syrian Golan was null and void and without international legal effect and demanded that Israel, the occupying Power, rescind forthwith its decision…”

Time for U.N. to Remove Notorious Agenda Item on Israel

— by Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch

Israel has decided to return to the U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC) — a 47-nation body that in two weeks will welcome back China, Cuba, Russia and Saudi Arabia as members — in time for a scheduled review of the Jewish state’s record this Tuesday.

Now is the time for the council to show good faith on its part — starting with the removal of its notorious agenda item on Israel, the only provision of its kind focusing on a specific country at every meeting. Not even gross abusers like China, Sudan, or Syria, nor any other country in the world, is subjected to this kind of treatment.

The Israel-only agenda was criticized by the U.N. secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, upon its adoption in June 2007. Mr. Ban “voiced disappointment at the Council decision to single out Israel as the only specific regional item on its agenda, given the range and scope of allegations of human rights violations throughout the world.”

More after the jump.

Courtesy of Yaakov “Dry Bones” Kirschen.

Under that item, in its last session in March, the Council adopted six resolutions condemning Israel, and only four on the rest of the world combined: one each on Syria, Iran, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. The plight of the vast majority of the world’s victims of gross and systematic violations — from China to Saudi Arabia, Cuba to Zimbabwe — failed to merit a single resolution.

Israel is the only U.N. member state excluded from the regional group system at the council. European Union states should immediately enable Israel to join the Council’s Western group, to which it was admitted at the U.N. in New York over a decade ago, and end this violation of basic equality and due process.

Moreover, the Council’s permanent investigator on Israeli violations is mandated by the Council to examine only Israel, and not Hamas, Fatah, Islamic Jihad, or any other Palestinian actor. It is the only country mandate that examines the actions of only one side, and presumes them to be violations.

The one they chose for the job, Richard Falk — who reports to the General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, on the same day as Israel is scrutinized by the HRC in Geneva — endorses Hamas, praises 9/11 conspiracy theorists, and was just condemned two weeks ago by Ban, the U.S., the U.K. and Canada, for implying the Boston attacks were somehow the fault of the U.S. and Israel.

The U.N. must stop violating its own charter guarantee to respect the equal rights of nations large and small, and the HRC must respect its own principles of universality, impartiality, objectivity and non-selectivity.

Quotes and key facts on HRC treatment of Israel:

  • U.N. secretary general, Kofi Annan, said on 25 March 1998:

    Israel [is] the only Member State that is not a member of one of the regional groups… This anomaly should be corrected. We must uphold the principle of equality among all United Nations Member States.

  • On 12 December 1999, Anan remarked:

    The exclusion of Israel from the system of regional groupings [and] the intense focus given to some of Israel’s actions, while other situations sometimes fail to elicit the similar outrage… have given a regrettable impression of bias and one-sidedness.

  • In regard to Israel’s exclusion from a regional group, Anan said that “we must uphold the principle of equality among Member States. I shall keep encouraging all concerned to find a solution.”
  • The late U.N. high commissioner for human rights, Sergio de Mello, actively lobbied ambassadors in Geneva for the inclusion of Israel into the Western group.
  • On 15 March 2005, Anan spoke of the “need to correct a long-standing anomaly that kept Israel from participating fully and equally in the work of the Organization” by including Israel as member of the Western European and Others Group in Geneva.
  • Sir Robert Jennings, QC, former president of the International Court of Justice, wrote:

    Israel’s exclusion from the regional group system places the UN in breach of its fundamental obligations regarding sovereign equality and is thus illegal… The need now to redress it is urgent.

  • On 20 June 2007, the U.N. secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, criticized “the Council decision to single out Israel as the only specific regional item on its agenda, given the range and scope of allegations of human rights violations throughout the world.”

B’nai B’rith, UN Watch Denounce UN Boston Bombing Justifier

On April 21, Foreign Policy Journal published an article written by Richard Falk, United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) special rapporteur on the Palestinian territories, in which he associates the April 15 bombings that killed three and injured 170 others with America’s dealings overseas and an alleged willingness to act on behalf of the Israeli government. Falk was recently expelled by the Human Rights Watch organization, yet he retains his UN position. Yesterday, B’nai B’rith International issued the following statement on the subject:

B’nai B’rith International is outraged and disgusted by the latest anti-Israel comments of […] Falk, who took to the Internet over the weekend to blame the Boston Marathon bombings on the United States’ foreign policy and, more specifically, its “compliant ear” in regard to Israel. […]

We once again call for Falk’s removal from his position within the UNHRC. His latest string of inflammatory remarks-whether it be on the Internet or in one of his “reports” to the council-has no place in the United Nations and his continued presence at the UNHRC further undermines the credibility of the system.

He is a vigorous supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions anti-Israel movement and has a long history of outrageous statements and actions, including suggestions that the U.S. government may have been involved in the 9/11 attacks and his posting of an anti-Semitic cartoon on his blog.

Falk continues to be an embarrassment for the world body, and thus, should be removed from his post.

After the jump: UN Watch demands Ban Ki-moon’s condemnation.
In a letter sent yesterday to UN chief Ban Ki-moon and U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, the Geneva-based non-governmental monitoring group UN Watch demanded the condemnation of Falk:

Dear Mr. Secretary-General,

We write to express our outrage over yesterday’s statement by Richard Falk — a top official of the United Nations Human Rights Council — in which he justifies the Boston terrorist attacks as due “retribution” for American sins, warns of “worse blowbacks” unless America changes its foreign policy, blames “Tel Aviv” and exploits a moment of tragedy and mourning to advance a disturbing political agenda.

We urge you to condemn Mr. Falk, the UNHRC’s permanent investigator of Israel’s violations of the bases and principles of international law, for his affront to the memory of those who were killed last week, to the injured, and to the people of Boston. His remarks are a violation of your own policy that UN experts live up to the highest standards, which you set forth two years ago when you admirably rebuked Mr. Falk for spreading 9/11 conspiracy theories on his blog.

Falk’s Foreign Policy Journal article entitled “A Commentary on the Marathon Murders,” dated April 21, 2013, and annexed here, makes three ignominious points.

First, its thesis is that Americais to blame for last week’s atrocity. Falk approvingly cites comments justifying the Boston Marathon bombings as “retribution” for the actions of the U.S.military in Afghanistan,IraqandPakistan. “The American global domination project,” says Falk, bears responsibility for provoking “all kinds of resistance” in the post-colonial world. He calls for “courage” to “connect some of these dots.” Crystallizing his justification of the terrorist attacks, he writes: “Those to whom evil is done, do evil in return.”

Terrorism will target Americans until they reflect upon and change their action, says Falk. Lamenting a “taboo” on “self-scrutiny,” he predicts “adjustments” that will come either from “a voluntary process of self-reflection” or “through the force of unpleasant events.” America’s “military prowess” and “hard power diplomacy” make the country “a menace to the world and to itself.”

“How many canaries will have to die,” asks Falk, “before we awaken from our geopolitical fantasy of global domination?”

Second, Falk conjures up the sinister specter of another global menace by blaming the Boston bombings on the Jewish state: “[A]s long as Tel Aviv has the compliant ear of the American political establishment those who wish for peace and justice in the world should not rest easy.”

President Obama is accused of having delivered “a love letter to the Israeli public” during his recent trip there, and of practicing “obsequious diplomacy.” Falk predicts “worse blowbacks” if the U.S.does not change its Middle East policy.

Third, the essay alludes to the same 9/11 conspiracy theories that caused you and other world leaders to condemn him in 2011. Falk speaks of “holy war fevers espoused by national leaders, the media, and a vengeful public after the 9/11 attacks” which “embraced Islamophobic falsehoods.” This was exploited by Bush White House officials “openly seeking a pretext to launch a regime-changing war against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.” According to Falk, “[T]he 9/11 events, as interpreted and spun, provided just the supportive domestic climate needed for launching an aggressive war against the Baghdad regime.”

Excellency, Mr. Falk’s odious and preposterous remarks insult last week’s victims and discredit the cause of human rights and the founding principles of the United Nations. We urge you to speak out.


Hillel C. Neuer
Executive Director

Reprinted courtesy of Yaakov (Dry Bones) Kirschen www.drybonesblog.blogspot.com

Hamas Bulldozes World Heritage Site for Terrorist Training Camp‏

Previously-destroyed houses in the area

In an urgent letter sent today to UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova, UN Watch demanded immediate action to stop the Hamas bulldozing of a 3000-year-old Gaza harbor for use as a terrorist training camp, as reported today by Al Monitor Palestine Pulse. A copy was also sent to European Union foreign minister Catherine Ashton calling on the EU to take action.

The partial destruction of the ancient Anthedon Harbor — which includes the ruins of a Roman temple and archaeological remains from the Persian, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine eras-comes exactly one year after the area was nominated by new UNESCO member state Palestine as a World Heritage site.

Full letter after the jump.
UN Watch, an independent Geneva-based monitoring group, called on Bokova to bring the issue before the UNESCO executive board now meeting in Paris.

Although the biannual UNESCO meeting, which runs until April 26, lists five agenda items concerning Palestinian issues — which US Ambassador Killion has described as “highly politicized” and designed to “single out Israel” — there is currently no scheduled discussion to address the month-long Hamas bulldozing of the proposed heritage site. UN Watch’s letter as sent today to Ms. Bokova and Lady Ashton follows below:

Dear Ms. Bokova,

UN Watch is alarmed by the reported destruction by Hamas of parts of the ancient Anthedon Harbor in Gaza for use as a terrorist training camp. We urge you to bring the matter immediately before the UNESCO Executive Board, currently meeting at its 191st session in Paris, for protective action.

We note the tragic irony that this destruction by the rulers of Gaza comes exactly one year after the area was nominated by new UNESCO member state Palestine as a World Heritage site.

As you must know, earlier last month, despite criticism from nongovernmental organizations, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades of Hamas bulldozed a part of the Anthedon Harbor in northern Gaza along the Mediterranean Sea, according to yesterday’s report by Al Monitor Palestine Pulse.

Hamas damaged the harbor in order to expand its “military training” zone, which was initially opened on the location in 2002, according to your own UNESCO representative in Gaza, Yousef al-Ejla.

That the UNESCO executive has so far failed to place the Hamas destruction and cynical abuse of this site on its agenda underscores the tragic politicization and diversion of the agency’s mission to protect world culture and heritage.

According the current UNESCO session timetable, there are in fact four agenda items dedicated exclusively to Palestinian issues: Items 9, 10, 34, and 35, while Item 5 includes a fifth report on this issue. Israel is the only country in the world that is targeted for specific criticism in this session.

Previous UNESCO resolutions on these five items were rightly described by US Ambassador David Killion as “highly politicized” and designed to “single out Israel.” The extreme politicization even prompted Russia to successfully oppose discussion of these items, despite vehement Palestinian opposition, at the previous 190th session in October.

UNESCO’s admission of Palestine as a member state in 2011, which caused the organization to lose almost a quarter of its budget when the US suspended its contributions, was justified as a measure to help protect world heritage sites in Palestinian areas. Yet as Hamas turns a cultural heritage site into a terrorist training ground-the antithesis of culture-the silence of UNESCO now places the very credibility of the organization at stake.


Hillel C. Neuer
Executive Director