(Washington, D.C., April 1, 2014)—B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
Of the 42 resolutions the council passed dealing with a broad spectrum of human rights issues, 10 dealt with reprimanding specific countries and five of those were aimed at Israel. The United States showed principled leadership as the only country to vote against the anti-Israel resolutions, while European members of the council voted in favor of all but one such motion. Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, France, the Czech Republic, Romania, Austria, Estonia and Ireland all voted for the anti-Israel resolutions. These countries did so despite the appropriate abstention by most of them from anti-Israel criticism falling under “Item 7,” the only standing component of the council agenda dedicated to scrutinizing a single country, Israel.
A week prior to the votes, B’nai B’rith representative to the U.N. in Geneva Klaus Netter spoke before the UNHRC to address the council’s continued obsession with Israel and to encourage Israel’s fellow Western European and Others Group (WEOG) members to refuse engagement with the discriminatory “Item 7.”
“Allow me to use this occasion … to urge all countries represented here, but in particular those of the WEOG, to ignore Item 7, as the latter already did during the last session. In this manner, WEOG helped to highlight the illegitimacy of Item 7, which stands out as the most blatant example of this council’s selectivity,” Netter said.
The UNHRC’s one-sided decisions and willful ignorance were further exacerbated with the passage of a Syria-sponsored resolution condemning Israeli presence on the Golan Heights and treatment of the Syrian population. Effectively, the council ignored the fact that Israel has treated wounded Syrians and delivered the babies of others caught in the bloody Syrian civil war that has left more than 150,000 dead.
Another point of contention that B’nai B’rith continues to monitor is the appointment of a new U.N. special rapporteur on the Palestinian territories, a position previously held by Richard Falk. The selection of Falk’s replacement was deferred at the end of the council’s just-concluded session and B’nai B’rith remains acutely concerned with a number of candidates being considered, including Goldstone Report coauthor Christine Chinkin.
In his statement to the council, Netter addressed this subject, saying that while “the post in question is inherently discriminatory, focused on Israeli actions alone, we hope that every effort will be made not to repeat the mistake made in the selection of the last special rapporteur, whose notorious and scandalous bias was an impediment to the pursuit of peace itself.”