Declaring the United Nations Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) policy toward Israel to be anti-Semitic, the United States Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell denounced the council’s “singular, obsessive focus” on the Jewish State in a speech he gave Monday in Geneva.
Grenell’s speech was part of a rally organized by UN Watch, a watchdog group that holds the UN and its agencies accountable to abide by the principles put forth in the UN Charter. The rally, which protested the anti-Israel bias at the UNHRC, drew 1,000 people and featured prominent speakers.
In addition to Grenell, UN Watch’s executive director Hillel Neuer, former director general of Israel’s Foreign Ministry Dore Gold, and former MK Einat Wilf also spoke.
“The belief that a single country and a single people merit such attention on a permanent basis—this belief is motivated by one thing: anti-Semitism,” Grenell said. In particular, he singled out the council’s Agenda Item 7, which is “a permanent directive to debate the human rights record of Israel at every council session.” No other country is subject to such scrutiny.
Grenell also questioned how it was that members of the council could sit in judgment over Israel when they themselves didn’t adhere to the basic principles of the UN Charter. Instead, states on the council criminalized LGBT conduct, and in many of them “violence against women” is widespread, Grenell charged.
He called on the council to demand that its member states promote “universal respect for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including women and LGBT persons, without distinction of any kind.”
While the institutional bias against Israel was the reason for the rally, on Monday, a commission of inquiry into Israel’s handling of the violent Hamas-orchestrated riots known as the Great March of Return accused Israel of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The New York Times reported that the commission’s “investigation found only two occasions that they deemed Israeli troops’ use of lethal force lawful. The report insisted that the protesters were overwhelmingly unarmed civilians.”
Col. Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, told the commission, “I have observed the violent demonstrations on the Gaza border many times, from the front lines — unlike you Mr. Chairman, and your commission, who have never been there. These are organized efforts to break through the fence and slaughter Jewish civilians. Hamas also set out to induce the IDF to kill Gaza civilians, to instigate global condemnation of Israel.”
He also said that testimony he had provided to the commission was omitted from their report.
A study produced by the Jewish Institute for National Security of America reviewed the IDF’s conduct in countering the violent riots.
“Hamas relied extensively on the prevalent but mistaken public tendency to use images of the effects of combat to determine whether use of force was justified. Hamas did so precisely because such snapshots – literal and metaphorical – provide little or none of the complex context in which the legality of a decision to use force must be made,” the study explained. “Specifically, such images obscure Hamas’ violations of international law that intentionally exposed civilians to potential harm in the first place.”
One of the authors of the study, Lieutenant Colonel (ret.) Geoffrey S. Corn, who is currently a professor at South Texas College of Law, told the commission, “By omitting from the UNHRC inquiry reports of the use of human shields by Hamas, the report incentivizes these terror tactics in the future, and the risk posed to the civilian population of Gaza is exacerbated. If we are really concerned about mitigating harm done to civilians, we should be condemning Hamas’ actions and this report.”
[Photo: Richard Grenell / Twitter ]