U.S. only member of UN Human Rights Council to vote against latest Israel “inquiry,” calls it “biased and political”
The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) decided on Wednesday to commence an international inquiry into alleged human rights violations committed by Israel during its military operation in Gaza. The Palestinian-drafted resolution calls for investigation of “all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law” in “Palestinian areas.” Of the 47 council members, the United States was the only one to vote against the resolution, while 17 members (including Western European nations) abstained. The 29 members voting in favor included routine human rights abusers Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Russia, Kuwait, Algeria, and Cuba.
Despite the United States’ efforts to secure an immediate cessation of hostilities, U.S. ambassador to the council Keith M. Harper told members that “this resolution will not help us achieve that goal,” denouncing it as a “biased and political instrument.” Harper continued, “Once again, this council has failed to address the situation in Israel and in the Palestinian territories with any semblance of balance.”
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf echoed Harper’s opposition to “one-sided and biased inquiries of any kind.” She added, “Unfortunately the Human Rights Council has often put forward one-sided documents.”
Perhaps these statements relate to the council’s inexplicable (yet unsurprising) refusal to acknowledge U.S.-designated terror organization Hamas’s continued and indiscriminate launching of more than 2,000 rockets at Israeli civilians while simultaneously using Palestinian civilians as human shields, a double war crime under international law. Or perhaps they refer to the debunked Goldstone Report. The product of a supposed UN “fact-finding” mission concerning Israel’s Operation Cast Lead, the report’s flawed reasoning was dissected by leading attorney Trevor Norwitz before the key findings were retracted by its own namesake, Judge Richard Goldstone.
Although the outcome of this latest inquiry remains to be seen, it will likely serve both as legal patina for lawfare proponents to again mischaracterize Israel’s defensive measures as war crimes, as well as to enable (and even encourage) Hamas’s ongoing terror attacks.
In 2009, the United States joined the UNHCR–widely criticized for its excessive attention to alleged Israeli human rights abuses while all but ignoring rampant violations in places like Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, and Darfur–with the goal of transforming it into an effective champion of human rights. Alas, U.S. influence has proven insufficient to refocus the council. Concepts like the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)-championed “defamation of religion,” rather than real abuse and oppression occurring throughout the world, remain its causes célèbres.