Category Archives: UN

The useless UN Obsession with Israel by the Numbers

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The latest United Nations indictment by its so-called Human Rights Council of the Israeli Defense Force for its self-defense in the summer 2014 should not surprise. The record of the United Nations on the world’s only Jewish state, expressed in simple numbers, convicts the UN itself of suffering from a serious obsession with that tiny country.

In 1991, following the Gulf War, known in Israel as the “Scud War,” this writer was hired by the Office of Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir to do a statistical analysis of voting patterns at the UN some of whose discoveries were jaw-dropping.

The background to the project was as follows: After America’s successful ousting of Saddam Hussein’s army from Kuwait, President George Bush, 41, delivered a victory speech to a joint session of Congress in which he resolved to create a new world order in the Middle East starting with peace between Israel and the “Palestinians.” Proposed was a peace conference between Israel and this phantom nation under UN auspices, which idea Jerusalem adamantly opposed.

The Bush-Baker administration dismissed Israel’s objections as so much Jewish paranoia, so one of the Shamir government’s tactics was to commission this writer to illustrate in simple numbers just how hostile the UN is to Israel and thus no conference under its auspices would be acceptable to it.

The study took three months. It entailed reading and categorizing 870 UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions on Israel since the UN’s founding in 1945 through 1989 (the last year whose records had become publicly available.)

In this period, 26% of all Security Council resolutions focused on the Arab-Israeli conflict. Forty-two percent were neutral. Among the remainder, 4% were critical of an Arab state or states; 96% criticized Israel. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was never criticized.

During the UN’s first forty-five years, at least one Arab state sat on the Council in thirty-nine of them. Israel never sat on the Council.

The Security Council “called upon,” “demanded,” “requested,” etc. Israel to “comply, desist, refrain,” etc. from some action twice as often as the Arabs. In these requests, Israel was explicitly named 105 times; an Arab country was named only twelve times. The PLO was never named.

The Security Council expressed its “concern,” “grave concern,” “regret,” “deep regrets, “shock,” etc. over Israeli actions thirty-one times; about Arab states or the PLO, the Council never expressed any negative sentiments.

The Security Council “condemned,” “censured,” “deplored,” “strongly deplored,” etc. Israel forty-nine times. Regarding the Arab states and the PLO, the Council never “condemned,” “censured,” “deplored,” “strongly deplored” any of them.

In the General Assembly, where resolutions are nothing more than toothless recommendations, the numbers skyrocket. Of the 690 votes, 30% were neutral, commonly over procedural re-authorizations of budgets for peacekeeping forces. Of the remaining 485 votes, 8% (56) opposed Arab desires, commonly in opposition to fresh funding for peacekeeping efforts; 429 votes (62%) went against Israel.

The General Assembly “called upon,” “demanded,” “requested,” etc. Israel to “comply, desist, refrain” from some action four times. Israel was “called upon,” “demanded,” “requested” to “comply, desist, refrain” 305 times.

The General Assembly expressed its “concern,” “grave concern,” “regret,” “deep regrets, “shock,” etc. over Israeli actions 179 times. Regarding Arab actions, never.

The General Assembly “condemned,” “vigorously condemned,” “strongly condemned,” “deplored,” “strongly deplored,” “censured” or “denounced” Israel 321 times. No Arab state and the PLO were ever condemned.

In sum, the number of General Assembly votes by member-states cast with or for Israel’s position was 7,938, versus a cumulative 55,642 votes against Israel. Although there were only 690 numbered resolutions, many called for separate ballots internally on different parts. For example, with today’s 193 member-states, a typical tally on a resolution requiring five separate votes could mean a score of 150 ayes, 2 nays and 33 abstentions multiplied by five. Thus, one resolution in one day could result in 750 anti-Israel country-votes. Ergo, the colossal figure of 55,642 anti-Israel votes over forty-six years.

Now, as a thought experiment, imagine the General Assembly chamber before the advent of electronic voting from one’s desk. That would mean over 1,200 fists with thumbs pointing down shooting up in the air against Israel every month without letup for forty-six years.

This behavior has a kind of ritual flavor to it, sort of like a routine, spiritual exercise, like daily mass. In George Orwell’s satire of the Soviet state, 1984, government bureaucrats were required every workday to watch a film clip of Big Brother’s Public Enemy No. 1, the Jew Goldstein in what was call the “Two-Minutes of Hate.” The one at the UN might be called “Damning the Jews.”

After the Six-Day War, the pace of Israel-bashing increased from roughly a quarter of all resolutions to almost a third. Moreover, the above record does not take into account anti-Israel votes cast in other UN agencies and departments in which the PLO had a representative who ensured that whatever the issue the suffering of the Arabs at the hands of Israel was voted on. If, for example, the agenda concerned women’s rights around the world, the suffering of women under Israeli oppression would merit a separate vote; if the issue was desertification, Israel’s alleged destruction of the environment in the OPT (UN shorthand for the “Occupied Palestinian Territories”) was also singled out for special rebuke.

In the end, the Shamir government was able to resist President Bush and Secretary of State Baker’s desire to subject Israel to a UN administered “peace” conference. Under no circumstances would Israel subject itself to such a kangaroo court. Hence, 1991’s historic round table talks were held not in New York City or Geneva but under U.S. and Russian sponsorship in Madrid.

To this day, Israel remains the only member-state in the UN prevented from sitting on the Security Council, which — the bright side of this story — at least fulfills the Biblical prophecy of thousands of years ago spoken by the gentile prophet Balaam (Numbers 23:9) who said, “This is a people that will dwell alone and not be counted among the nations.”

Sha’i ben-Tekoa’s PHANTOM NATION: Inventing the “Palestinians” as the Obstacle to Peace is available at Amazon.com and www.deprogramprogram.com.

Thousands of children murdered in Arab wars, #UN report on children in war focuses on… guess who

By Mark Langfan,

Israel’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, David Roet, lambasted a UN report on children in warfare Thursday, noting that in the context of numerous Islamic wars where thousands of children were murdered this year alone, “it is simply absurd that this report disproportionately focuses on Israel.”

The diplomat spoke at a UN Security Council open debate on a report titled “Children and Armed Conflict.”

Facing a typically hostile United Nations audience, Dep. Rep. Roet bravely spoke truth to power stating: “The reason for this skewed presentation is evident. Instead of being balanced, neutral, and focused on the facts, the report’s discussion of Israel is politicized, stained with interests, and distorts reality.”

Roet then went on to itemize the report’s distortion of reality, by quoting Hamas Spokesman Fawzi Barhoum who said, “our rockets are aimed at the Hebrews, the murderers, the Israelis, the criminals. . . our missiles accurately target the home of the Israelis and the Zionists.”

While Israel warns Palestinian civilians to leave affected areas, Roet argued, “Hamas voids international law by launching rockets from schools, hospitals, mosques, and other places children would usually feel safe.”

The diplomat also stated that while Israel “didn’t want” the war, Hamas had launched over 450 missiles against Israel before Israel responded – and that even this only happened after Hamas had fired 60 rockets in one day. Still, Israel did everything to de-escalate, and warned the populace in Gaza by dropping leaflets and sending texts, but again all this was ignored by the UN report.

He stated that these points were absent from the report, not because the UN “simply failed to notice” them. Rather, this was because, in Roet’s words, “The drafting of the report was marked at every level by widespread, systematic and institutionalized biased conduct against Israel.”

Roet gave numerous examples of how the working group, “conveniently forgot to inform Israel of the writing of the report,” and didn’t “seek input from Israeli authorities.”

But it didn’t stop there. The working group “flatly refused” to accept any Israeli evidence and facts. Instead, the working group “welcomed with open arms” information supplied by virulently anti-Israel NGOs.

But perhaps the must serious accusation Dep. Rep. Roet leveled against the UN’s report was its report statement that “the question of intent when determining responsibility will not be a crucial consideration.”

This means, he explained, that even if Israel’s intent is to avoid harming children, using every available method, and Hamas has the specific intent of harming Palestinian children by using them as human shields, the United Nations is redefining international law – for Israel only – in stating that the “intent” doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that Israel harmed a Palestinian child

Sinai: Islamic State Claim Rocket Attack on UN Airport

Al-Qaeda supporters in the Sinai

By Ben Ariel/Reuters

Sinai Province, Islamic State’s Egypt affiliate, fired rockets at the direction of an airport in Sinai used by UN peacekeeping forces on Tuesday night, Reuters reported.

Security sources told the news agency there were no casualties in the attack. Details of the attack were not immediately clear, with some sources saying the rockets fell inside the airport and others saying they fell outside.

Sinai Province claimed responsibility for the attack on several Twitter accounts linked to it, according to Reuters.

Sinai Province, formerly known as Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis, has claimed responsibility for most of the terrorist attacks in the restive Sinai Peninsula over the last few years.

Among the attacks claimed by the group since Morsi’s ouster was the assassination of a top Egyptian police general, who was gunned down as he left his home in a west Cairo neighborhood, and a bus bombing on a tour bus filled with South Korean tourists in the Sinai.

Most recently, members of the group killed two Egyptian judges and a prosecutor in the Sinai, in an attack which came hours after a court in Cairo sentenced ousted president Mohammed Morsi to death for his role in a mass jailbreak during the 2011 uprising.

The leader of Sinai Province later called on the group’s followers to continue to attack local judges.

Saudi Arabia Seeks Top Spot on UN Human Rights Council

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BY:
Saudi Arabia is making a bid to head the United Nations’ Human Rights Council (HRC) just days after it posted a slew of new job openings for executioners who would help carry out beheadings amid a massive uptick in state-sanctioned killings in the country.

Saudi Arabia, which has come under increasing criticism from human rights groups for an uptick in the number of executions in the country, has been a member of the U.N.’s top human rights body since 2014, along with Russia, China, and Cuba.

It is now making a bid to assume lead control over the HRC after 2016, when the presidency rotates to a new nation.

While the HRC has often been dismissed for hosting nations with some of the worst human rights records in the world, its importance in the coming year could be critical to how the international community deals with atrocities in Syria and other Middle Eastern nations.

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U.N. Watch, a nonprofit group that monitors the international body, disclosed Saudi Arabia’s intentions in a recent report and urged the United States to fight against it, describing the move as “the final nail in the coffin for the credibility” of the HRC.

“We urge U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power and EU foreign minister Federica Mogherini to denounce this despicable act of cynicism by a regime that beheads people in the town square, systematically oppresses women, Christians, and gays, and jails innocent bloggers like Raif Badawi for the crime of challenging the rulers’ radical brand of Wahabbist Islam,” Hillel Neuer, the group’s executive director, said in a recent statement.

Neuer compared the possible ascension of Saudi Arabia to the top slot to electing “a pyromaniac as the town fire chief.”

Germany currently heads the HRC, but its term ends in 2016. Elections will be held in early December 2015 for the 2016 term, according to a U.N. official.

The presidency will then rotate to a member of the U.N.’s Asian bloc, which includes Bangladesh, China, the United Arab Emirates, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, the Maldives, Pakistan, South Korea, Qatar, and Vietnam.

Human rights experts say that Saudi Arabia is not fit to lead the body, particularly amid a rise in executions under the newly crowned King Salman.

On Monday, Suadi Arabia put out advertisements seeking eight new state executioners. These individuals would be responsible for beheading criminals and “performing amputations for those convicted of lesser crimes,” according to Fox News.

David Weinberg, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) and lead author of recent report on Saudi human rights abuses, said the autocratic nation would make of mockery of the HRC.

“It’s sadly ironic Saudi Arabia wants to be elected president of the human rights council when its citizens aren’t granted enough civil rights to even have a president or an elected prime minister but are instead ruled by a hereditary autocrat,” Weinberg said.

“That Riyadh wants to head the human rights council when back home it chops off the heads of foreigners and its own citizens in the streets—at a pace nearly three times as fast as last year so that the government is now seeking to hire more willing executioners, rather than transitioning them into retirement,” he added.

Rates of human trafficking are high in Saudia Arabia. The kingdom is currently designated by the United States as a “country of particular concern” regarding religious persecution.

The country also has come under fire in recent months for sentencing a blogger to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for essays critical of the government.

“Saudi Arabia has already used its position at the Human Rights Council to whitewash the crimes of allied but abusive regimes in places like Bahrain and Egypt, and it no doubt will seek to do further harm to the very concept of human rights in other ways as well,” Weinberg said.

Like U.N. Watch’s Neuer, Weinberg urged the United States to “head off this worrisome development at the U.N.”

“To the extent to which the [Obama] administration cares about international governance, it must support an Asian democracy for this position that strives to respect human rights—such as Japan, South Korea, or India—rather than a repressive autocracy like the Saudi state,” he said.

When asked to comment about these reports, a State Department official told the Free Beacon that “as far as we know there are not yet any announced candidates for the 2016 Human Rights Council presidency.”

US taxpayers on hook to the UN for approx $3.024 billion in 2015

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UN peacekeepers largely paid for by US taxpayers.
The United States taxpayers will pay the United Nations approximately $3.024 billion in 2015, according to testimony by Brett Schaefer, a Heritage Foundation fellow, before the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee responsible for multilateral institutions on May 6, 2015. This total accounts for $621.9 million toward the UN regular budget and $2.402 billion toward the UN peacekeeping budget. In contrast, 35 nations will pay less than a total of $29,000. Schaefer testified that the US’ contributions continue to rise due to the UN’s runaway budget which increased from nearly $15 billion in 2002 to nearly $41.5 billion in 2012. A major factor behind that increase is the “failure to arrest growth” in UN personnel costs which accounts for 70% of UN spending.

Schaefer pointed out that US contributions to the UN may be higher than reported: “there is also a lack of transparency and analysis on the U.S. side…(the) 2006 report confirmed that actual U.S. contributions to the U.N. were higher by about 25 percent than previously reported by the State Department. The reporting requirement lapsed in 2011. As a result, a comprehensive accounting of U.S. contributions to the U.N. system after FY 2010 is not available and the last reliable accounting by the OMB was for FY 2010, which reported contributions totaling $7.692 billion.”

This figure is more than double today’s figure, raising the question of what exactly is the true cost of US’ membership to the UN.

Date
May 7, 2015
Title
Key Issues of U.S. Concern at the United Nations, Heritage Foundation
Author(s)
Brett Schaefer

The UN’s War on Israel

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UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. It was intended to be a temple of peace, but this once great global body has been overrun by the repressive regimes that violate human rights and undermine international security.

In 1949, when the United Nations admitted Israel as a member state, it had 58 member countries and about half had a democratic orientation. Today, the landscape of the organization has changed drastically. From 51 member states at its founding in 1945, the institution has grown to 193 members — fewer than half of which are democracies.

The very nations that deny democratic rights to their people abuse the United Nations’ democratic forums to advance their interests. The largest of these groups comprises members from the 120-member-strong bloc known as the Non-Aligned Movement. Since 2012, the bloc has been chaired by Iran, which has used its position to bolster its allies and marginalize Israel.

In March, the United Nations closed the annual meeting of its Commission on the Status of Women by publishing a report that effectively singled out just one country for condemnation: Israel. The commission apparently had nothing to say about the Sudanese girls who are subjected to female genital mutilation. It also had nothing to say about the Iranian women who have been punished for crimes of “adultery” by stoning. These oversights may have something to do with the fact that both Iran and Sudan sit on the 45-member commission.

Then there is the United Nations Human Rights Council (the body that replaced the Commission on Human Rights in 2006). Its membership includes Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Venezuela — nations where you risk life and liberty if you express dissenting opinions. Yet these governments stand in judgment on the rest of us.

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In 2007, Sudan chaired a committee overseeing human rights — even as its president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, was being investigated for crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity in Darfur, for which the International Criminal Court later issued arrest warrants. Saudi Arabia — a regime notorious for public executions and floggings like that, most recently, of the blogger Raif Badawi — sits on the Human Rights Council, despite regularly receiving the worst possible ratings on civil liberties and political rights from the independent watchdog Freedom House.

In 2013, Iran was elected to the committee responsible for disarmament — even as it continued its nuclear expansion, support for terrorism and the destruction of Israel. Last year, an Iranian served as a vice chair of the General Assembly’s legal committee, an inexplicable choice given that Iranian citizens are routinely denied due process and fair trials.

Knowing this history, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that, in the 2014-15 session alone, the General Assembly adopted about 20 resolutions critical of Israel, while the human rights situations in Iran, Syria and North Korea merited just one condemnation apiece. Day after day, member states turn a blind eye to the most deplorable crimes.

Iran? Just one hostile resolution for a nation that, on average, executes citizens at a rate of two a day for “crimes” that include homosexuality, apostasy and the vague offense of being an “enemy of God.”

North Korea? Just one negative resolution even though it has imprisoned more than 200,000 citizens, throws children into forced labor camps and subjects its population to food shortages and famine as a result of government policies.

Syria? Again, just one resolution for a government that has pursued a war against its own people that has caused the deaths of at least 220,000 men, women and children — many by torture, starvation, chemical weapons and barrel bombs dropped on markets and schools.

Christians now number among the world’s most persecuted religious groups in Muslim countries, yet this human rights crisis is almost completely ignored by the United Nations. Instead, Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East and an area in the region where the Christian population is actually growing, often seems to be the only nation the United Nations cares about.

Nowhere is anti-Israel bias more obvious than in the Geneva-based Human Rights Council. The council addresses the human rights abuses of all countries in the world under a program known as Agenda Item 4. That is, all countries but one. Israel is the only nation that is singled out for criticism by virtue of a special program, known as Agenda Item 7. A result, according to the Geneva-based monitoring group UN Watch, is that more than 50 percent of all condemnatory resolutions are directed at the Jewish state.

Following last summer’s conflict in Gaza, the Human Rights Council established a Commission of Inquiry and selected William Schabas, a Canadian law professor, to chair the investigation. In February, Mr. Schabas was forced to resign after documents came to light revealing that, in 2012, he had done consulting work for the Palestine Liberation Organization. Surprisingly, this fact slipped Mr. Schabas’s mind during his vetting process.

It was clear from the outset that Mr. Schabas was not an impartial arbiter since he had a record of public statements suggesting that Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the former president, Shimon Peres, should face trial at the International Criminal Court. When Israel protested, however, the United Nations ignored it.

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I am often asked how I can stand the tide of hatred aimed at Israel. Our response to the United Nations’ accusations is to speak tirelessly for those who are denied a voice in most of the Middle East — women, minorities, the L.G.B.T. community — and to fight daily efforts by totalitarian regimes to undermine democratic societies. Based on the fact that Israel is a thriving society, I believe we are winning.

Later this year, chairmanship of the Non-Aligned Movement will transfer to Venezuela, Iran’s ally. For the foreseeable future, we can expect more of the same.

The problem with the United Nations is that the leaders of many of its member states do not rule with the consent of the governed. Instead, they use the body as a forum to deflect attention from their own ruthless rule. In so doing, they turn a stage for courageous statecraft into a tragic theater of the absurd.

Ron Prosor is Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations.