Michael Dickson of Stand With Us, an organization that sent me on a 10-day trip to Israel as part of its Once in a Lifetime blogger contest, told FrontPage that Israelis are concerned about the U.S. membership in the Council.
“There is a profound worry that US participation on the Human Rights Council gives legitimacy to a body which is led by some of the worst human rights abusing nations in the world. The UNHRC is a sum of its parts and its politicized rulings have seen Israel singled out for unfair criticism; that should worry the US and everyone who really believes in human rights values,” Dickson said.
The Council is preparing for anti-Israel action as the U.S. submits its report. The body is planning to “implement” the Goldstone Report under the leadership of Christian Tomuschat, a former advisor to Yasser Arafat who has accused Israel of “ordering the systematic commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
The Obama Administration argues that it can best effect change by becoming part of the Human Rights Council. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice says that they believe that by “working from within, we can make the council a more effective forum to promote and protect human rights.” However, as the Heritage Foundation’s Brett Schaefer and Steven Groves have observed, the Council has not been positively influenced and is “virtually indistinguishable from its performance absent U.S. membership.”
This is partly because the Obama Administration has not even tried to use its place in the Council to confront human rights abuses. For example, as Noah Pollack mentions, the U.S. did not say a word when the Syrian representative claimed that Israeli children “sing merrily as they go to school, and I quote, ‘With my teeth I will rip your flesh. With my mouth I will suck your blood.’” The U.S. pays for 22 percent of the Council’s budget, yet has not brought any pressure to make sure its money doesn’t go for anti-American purposes.
By making the U.S. accountable to the U.N. Human Rights Council, the Obama Administration is going to allow the country to be condemned by the very body it is trying to legitimize and influence. It is not the interest of the U.S. to cater to an institution whose agenda is decided by undemocratic, oppressive regimes and it is even more unproductive to issue a report about America’s human rights for those same regimes to judge. The Human Rights Council is an institution that should be dramatically changed if not disbanded, not honored or funded by American tax dollars.
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