“Differing weights and differing measures—the Lord detests them both.” (Proverbs 20:10)
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called to account the members of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on March 2 for undue “obsession” with Israel, a move that angered the Palestinian Authority (PA).
Speaking before the UNHRC in Geneva, Kerry warned, “It must be said the [UNHRC’s] obsession with Israel actually risks undermining the credibility of the entire organization”.
In what amounted to a strong defense of the Jewish state, Kerry called for a “balanced approach” by the weightiest international authority on human rights, which currently comprises 47 member nations, including notorious human-rights abusers China, Cuba, and Saudi Arabia.
Kerry listed some of the successes of the HRC, such as protective resolutions for LGBT persons, encouraging change in Sri Lanka and Burma, and establishing foundations to bring about justice by spotlighting violations in Syria, Iran, and North Korea.
Kerry reiterated the US’s commitment to support progress through the UNHRC in order to save lives and expand freedoms.
The organization’s greatest roadblock to making progress is self-inflicted—that is, “the HRC’s deeply concerning record on Israel. No one in this room can deny that there is an unbalanced focus on one democratic country [Israel],” Kerry said.
Every year, 5–6 resolutions are issued against this free democratic nation in the Middle East.
“When it comes to human rights, no country on earth should be free from scrutiny but neither should any country be subject to unfair or unfounded bias,” Kerry told the council.
Kerry illustrated this undue criticism against Israel with the 2015 resolution proposed by President Assad of Syria that would condemn Israel’s actions in the Golan Heights, a geographic region partially under the control of Israel and partially under Syria.
Kerry stated it would be nonsense to consider the resolution “when thousands of Syrians are fleeing to the Golan and many are getting medical treatment there from Israeli physicians.”
“We will oppose any effort by any group or participant in the UN system to arbitrarily and regularly delegitimize or isolate Israel” Kerry said.
The next day, the Palestinian Authority accused Kerry of dealing with Israel as if it were “above the law,” claiming his statements go against the mission of the Human Rights Council. (JPost)
In its rebuke of Kerry, the PA Foreign Ministry accused Israel of daily “transgressions against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, West Bank and Jerusalem.” According to the PA, these transgressions include “settlements, the Judaization of Jerusalem, assassinations, releasing dogs against residents and children, the burning of [Jerusalem Arab teenager] Muhammad Abu Khdeir and the crimes in the Gaza strip.”
The final report of the UNHRC probe into Israel’s potential war crimes during last summer’s Gaza war was expected later this month, but investigators have requested an extension until June to give them more time to review all of the information received in recent weeks. (JPost)
This request comes a month after the commission chairman, William Shabas, resigned when it became public that he worked for the PA as a paid consultant. His notoriously public bias against Israel is also well documented.