The Times of Israel reports that United States ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power is in Israel:
“Bias has extended well beyond Israel as a country, Israel as an idea,” she said of the UN and particularly the UN Human Rights Council.
“Israel is just not treated like other countries,” she added during a Q&A session, while also maintaining that there are legitimate criticisms of the Jewish state.
Israeli officials have long complained that the United Nations is biased against the Jewish state. Newly minted Israeli envoy Danny Danon recently accused Turtle Bay of being anti-Semitic in its criticism of Israel.
But Power said the issue wasn’t the world body but the countries that make it up, expressing hope that it can improve.
“When we see bias, injustice or the continuation of strife within the United Nations, it is not because the UN created all of this, it is because the UN gathers governments and gathers problems, and being in the UN doesn’t change the biases of those governments,” she said.
First, this is wrong. The United Nations itself promotes anti-Israel rhetoric and efforts to treat the only Jewish state differently from all other members. With U.S. participation, it interceded to investigate the Gaza flotilla incident, a denigration of Israel’s sovereignty and ability to investigate and remedy its own conduct. As a body, the U.N. again and again takes up anti-Israel resolutions. The U.N. tolerates, and by its silence condones, anti-Semitism. Just one example sums up the body’s attitude:
On 11 March 1997, the Palestinian representative charged, in a chamber packed with 500 people including the representatives of 53 states and hundreds of non-governmental organizations, that the Israeli Government had injected 300 Palestinian children with the HIV virus. Despite the repeated interventions of the Governments of Israel and the US, and UN Watch, this modern Blood Libel stands unchallenged and unrefuted on the UN record. No appropriate action by any UN body or official has been taken to date.
Nevertheless, there is plenty the administration could do or could cease doing to deter attempts to delegitimize the Jewish state (other than defund the U.N. in its entirety):
1. It could pull its guidance to label separately Israeli goods made in the West Bank, a step that we do not take with regard to other territorial disputes.
2. Since the U.N. Human Rights Council has proved itself as bad, if not worse, with our presence, the United States should withdrawal.
3. The administration could cease efforts to restore funding to entities that recognize a Palestinian State, in contravention of the Oslo Accords.
4. Senior U.S. officials could cease using barnyard epithets to refer to the elected prime minister of Israel.
5. It could pursue human rights violations in states that routinely excoriate Israel with the same fervor that anti-Israel states pursue their own agenda.
6. Power could make similar remarks not in Israel, where she is applauded, but in virulently anti-Israel locales where leaders and other people need to hear strong words.
7. The administration could make clear that there will be diplomatic consequences for countries that pursue an anti-Israel agenda. That may be no more than a diplomatic scolding, but in and of itself that will convey our displeasure.
8. It could investigate and then defund the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, which dabbles in anti-Israel propaganda and has exacerbated the issue of Palestinian “refugees.”
Truth be told, the hundreds of thousands of dead Syrians and millions of displaced men, women and children should tell you all you need to know about this administration’s priorities and lack of concern about real human rights atrocities. Come to think of it, why is Power, who won a Pulitzer Prize arguing for intervention to stop genocide, still working for the administration rather than resigning in protest over its abominable Syria policy, as have at least two prominent diplomats, Fred Hof and Robert Ford? As Hof writes:
For nearly five years the United States has been condemning—sometimes in the “strongest possible terms”—the depredations of the Assad regime. Unless the administration intends to do something about civilian slaughter it should align its words with its actions and go silent. It is the mismatch between word and deed that would have encouraged Russian President Vladimir Putin to discount the United States entirely when he evaluated the risks of military intervention in Syria. If Putin thinks he runs a greater risk of running out of aviation fuel than in encountering push-back from Washington, who is to say he is wrong?
Washington can condemn civilian eradication in Syria to its heart’s content, right through noon, January 20, 2017. But unless it and its partners contrive ways to afford Syrian civilians a measure of air defense from parties for whom no crime is beyond the pale, the empty words will only further stimulate the appetites of the permanently ravenous.
It is that sort of hypocritical indifference to human rights atrocities that gives the impression the administration is entirely unserious about the subject. And if the United States is unserious, why should the United Nations be any less so? And why should it not cynically wield human rights as it seeks to ostracize Israel from the “international community”?
President Obama’s effort to put distance between the United States and Israel, his slothful human rights approach and his kowtowing to those whose behavior threatens both U.S. and Israeli interests are flashing green lights to the Israel haters: Go ahead! No downside! After all, when the president brushes off Iran’s institutional policy of anti-Semitism with the wave of a hand, what are other countries to think?