The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) held its thrice-yearly session Monday. As always, the body deliberated over its infamous Item 7 – the council’s permanent agenda item on Israel and the only one devoted to a specific country. As always, a convoy of some of the world’s worst human-rights abusers took the stand in Geneva to condemn the Jewish state.
The representative for Syria – where an estimated 80,000 people have been killed in a two-year war – condemned Israeli “aggression” and demanded a resolution calling on Israel to return the Golan Heights.
Iran blasted Israel’s actions as “genocide” and “apartheid.” In 2011 Iran executed 360 of its own citizens, or nearly one a day. The execution of minors, and through cruel methods like stoning, are commonplace. Iran was the only delegation allowed to speak twice during the two-hour session.
Other speakers Monday included delegates from China, Cuba, Russia, Qatar, and Sudan. None of the countries are known as human rights bastions. A Saudi Arabian reprsentative spoke as well. Last month five people were beheaded and then crucified for “sodomy” in Saudi Arabia.
The UNHRC is the successor to the similarly named UN Human Commission on Human Rights, whose members at various times included Pakistan and Moammar Gaddafi’s Libya. It was once headed by Sudan as the Darfur crisis – with its mass murders – was unfolding.
That panel was disbanded in 2006, to be replaced with the UNHRC. Both the original and current incarnations of the UN’s human rights organization, however, have remained veritably obsessed with Israel.
Since the UNHRC’s creation, for example, nearly half of its resolutions have focused solely on Israel. Richard Falk, the UN’s special human rights rapporteur for “the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967,” has a decades-long history of anti-American and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.
Falk has praised Iranian Ayatollah Khomeini as offering “a desperately-needed model of humane governance,” indulged in 9/11 conspiracy theories, and accused Israel of “slouching toward a Palestinian Holocaust.”
In 2011 he defended the government of Gaddafi’s Libya as the “lawful diplomatic representative of a sovereign state.” This year the 82-year-old blamed Israel and America for the Boston Marathon terrorist bombing.
Washington’s envoy to the council Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe has expressed deep concern over the body’s “biased and disproportionate focus on Israel.” She and Washington’s outgoing UN ambassador Susan Rice have called on Falk to resign.
At Monday’s session Falk presented his annual report accusing Israel of human rights violations. He called for the Geneva-based monitoring group UN Watch – which has criticized Falk – to be banned from UNHRC proceedings.
UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer has referred to UNHRC sessions as “Hate Israel Day.” On Monday he and international human rights lawyer Anne Bayefsky were the only two speakers in Geneva presenting an opposing view.
Addressing Falk, Bayefsky said: “You were chosen by this council, and have been kept in your job for five years, precisely because you are an anti-Semitic, terrorist-apologist hatemonger. The credibility problem goes way beyond you.”
Below are parts one and two of the two-hour session. Individual speakers are divided into separate “chapters.” Neuer’s remarks – taking Falk to task for his sundry abhorrent remarks, chapter 14 in the second video – is particularly compelling.
[Photo: United Nations - Geneva / Flickr]