Earlier today, Israel became eligible to join the UN Human Rights Council. Despite some misunderstood reporting in the media, it has not become a member. But Prime Minister Netanyahu decided to assert himself and threatened that Israel would pull out of the organisation altogether unless Israel was assigned to a “regional group”, meaning it would be allowed to vote and stand up to the Council’s perceived frequent bullying. This admittedly adds to my shock from a few weeks ago when I learned that other countries such as China, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, and Russia joined the main council body.
This is perhaps more shocking than a country like Saudi Arabia joining in that the UNHRC is often denounced by critics as being the UN’s most biased organisations, in having condemened Israel 46 times (over 5 years). That is, having condemned none of the aforementioned human rights abusing nations at all. The UNHRC was also the body that appointed judge Richard Goldstone to write the now-infamous Goldstone Report which accused Israel of committing warcrimes and was mostly reneged on in 2011. The organisation has constantly failed to appoint Israel to any “regional group” so there was no chance of Israel ever joining the organisation or defend itself against criticsms that come from the Council. Today, the Organiation admitted Israel into the “Western Group” and with that, Israel is now eligible to ascend to the council. (This does remain unlikely as Israel is not exactly the darling of the EU or Turkey)
Israel’s ignoring of resolutions can be justified in that I, as a guy, do not listen when my mother nags me. An International Organisation’s nagging of a nation is perhaps the geopolitical equivalent of this. Being condemned 46 times more than China, Saudi Arabia or any countries that are synonymous with totalitarianism and autocracy does not reflect badly on Israel. It does, however, make the organisation look comically biased and therefore as losing credibility in the eyes of Israel and in the eyes of anyone who looks closely at what the council does.
The UNHRC, which has spent more time condemning Israel than dealing with genuine human rights issues such as Syria, Iran, China, Russia, or even North Korea, surprised me more today than when it decided to admit some of the World’s most extreme human rights abusers. After all, Israel unlike China, Russia, or Saudi Arabia is a country with democracy, gay rights, freedom of speech and expression, freedom of protest. It doesn’t even crucify people, for goodness’ sakes! Now who will they condemn instead, Sweden?