UN Watch addressed the UN Human Rights Council on Friday. You can see a video of the speech and the Council President's response. The speech attacked to council for being ineffective and in fact doing more harm than good by picking on one country (Israel) while ignoring serrious problems is the counties of those people making the accusations.
For an idea of the sort of thing UN Watch war refering to, note the following which also occured thay week (all apparently without reprimand from the president):
12/3/07 RODOLFO REYES RODRIGUEZ, Cuban delegate to the Human Rights Council, responsed to the listing of Cuba as one of the world's pressing human rights situations by Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt saying:
Cuba, unlike Sweden, does not persecute migrants or carry out ethnic cleansing that only allows those whose skin and hair color fit with the racial patterns of former Viking conquerors to remain in the country.
15/3/07 MOHAMMAD ABU-KOASHI, Palestinian representative to the UN in Geneva said
The Council should question why the representative of the apartheid regime of Israel is even among us [in this room].
16/3/07 MOHAMED ALI ELMARDI, Minister of Justice of Sudan, responding to Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jody Williams' remarks that "war crimes and crimes against humanity continue across [Darfur]"
We witness a conspiracy against Sudan for political objectives.
The text of the speech is as follows delivered by Hillel C. Neuer, executive director of the NGO United Nations Watch, to the 4th plenary session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva (23/3/2007) was as follows:
Six decades ago, in the aftermath of the Nazi horrors, the UN Commission on Human Rights was created. Today, we ask: What has become of that noble dream? In this session we see the answer. Faced with reports from around the world of torture and persecution, what has the council pronounced, and what has it decided? Nothing. Its response has been silence.
One might say, in Harry Truman's words, that this has become a Do-Nothing, Good-for-Nothing Council. But that would be inaccurate. This council has, after all, done something.
It has enacted one resolution after another condemning a single state: Israel. In eight pronouncements, Hamas and Hezbollah have been granted impunity. The entire rest of the world -- millions of victims, in 191 countries --is ignored.
The corrupt dictators who orchestrate this campaign will tell you that they seek to protect human rights --Palestinian rights. But do they truly care about Palestinian rights?
Let us consider the past few months. More than 130 Palestinians were killed by Palestinian forces. This is three times the combined total that were the pretext for calling special sessions in July and November. Yet the champions of Palestinian rights -- they say nothing. Little three-year-old Salam Balousha and his two brothers were murdered in their car by Hamas troops. Why has this council chosen silence? Because Israel could not be blamed. Because, in truth, the despots who run this Council couldn't care less about Palestinians, or about any human rights.
They seek to demonize Israeli democracy, to delegitimize the Jewish state, to scapegoat the Jewish people. They also seek to distort and pervert the very language and idea of human rights.
You ask: What has become of the founders' dream? With terrible lies and moral inversion, it is being turned into a nightmare.
In response to the Holocaust Denial Conference organized by the Government of Iran in December, today the United State's and 72 co-sponsors introduced a draft resolution in the United Nations General Assembly that "condemns without any reservation any denial of the Holocaust". The resolution recognizes that remembrance of the Holocaust is critical to preventing further acts of genocide, and that
ignoring the historical fact of these terrible events increases the risk they will be repeated.
The United State's is urging additional countries to co-sponsor the resolution, which is expected to come to a vote on Friday.
We wonder how the UN, founded largely as a result of the Holocaust will vote. How any UN member can vote against such a motion is a mystery... if more than a couple do it will show that the UN needs a serrious re-think.
United Nations an Accomplice in Hezbollah Kidnapping
By David Kopel (http://www.davekopel.org)
(Reposted at ZionismOnTheWeb with permission)
After Hezbollah's kidnapping of a pair of Israeli soldiers spurred an Israeli counter-attack, many critics of Israel actions have suggested that the United Nations can serve as a buffer between Israel and Hezbollah. To the contrary, the United Nations has a well-established record of collaboration with Hezbollah in the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers.
The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) has been deployed since 1978, not long after Israel first entered Lebanon in pursuit of PLO terrorists. UNIFIL was created pursuant to Security Council Resolution 425, for the purpose of "confirming the withdrawal of Israeli forces, restoring international peace and security and assisting the Government of Lebanon in ensuring the return of its effective authority in the area." Quite obviously UNFIL has utterly failed to achieve the Security Council's objectives, either before or after Israel's 2000 complete withdrawal from Lebanon. One reason is that UNIFIL does not interdict Hezbollah attacks on Israel. Instead, UNIFIL allows Hezbollah to set up positions next to UNFIL units, in effect using UNIFIL as human shields against Israeli counterstrikes. (Aluf Benn, Israel accuses UN of collaborating with Hezbollah," Haaretz, Sept. 11, 2005.)
UNIFIL's most notorious collaboration with terrorists involved the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli soldiers, and the subsequent cover-up.
On October 7, 2000, Hezbollah terrorists entered Israel, attacked three Israeli soldiers on Mount Dov, and abducted them Lebanon. The kidnapping was witnessed by several dozen UNIFIL soldiers who stood idle. One of the soldier witnesses described the kidnapping: the terrorists set of an explosive which stunned the Israeli soldiers. Clad in UN uniforms, the terrorists called out, "Come, come, we’ll help you."
The Israeli soldiers approached the men in UN uniforms. Then, a Hezbollah bomb detonated—-apparently prematurely. It wounded the disguised Hezbollah commander, and three Israeli soldiers.
Two other terrorists in U.N. uniforms dragged their Hezbollah commander and the three wounded soldiers into a getaway car.
According an Indian solider in UNIFIL who witnessed the kidnapping, "By this stage, there was a big commotion and dozens of UN soldiers from the Indian brigade came around." The witness stated that the brigade knew that the kidnappers in UN uniform were Hezbollah. One soldiers said that the brigade should arrest the Hezbollah, but the brigade did nothing.
According to the Indian soldier, the UNFIL brigade in the area "could have prevented the kidnapping."
"I’m very sorry about what happened, because we saw what happened," he said. Hezbollah "were wearing our uniforms and it was too bad we didn’t stop them."
It appears that at least four of the UNIFIL "peacekeepers," all from India, has received bribes from Hezbollah in order to assist the kidnapping by helping them get to the kidnapping spot and find the Israeli soldiers. Some of the bribery involved alcohol and Lebanese women.
The Indian brigade later had a bitter internal argument, as some members complained that the brigade had betrayed its peacekeeping mandate. An Indian government investigation sternly criticized the brigade's conduct.
There is evidence of far greater payments by Hezbollah to the UNIFIL Indian brigade, including hundreds of thousands of dollars for assistance in the kidnapping and cover-up.
The UN cover-up began almost immediately.
Lebanon's The Daily Star reported the story told by a former officer of the Observer Group Lebanon (OGL), which is part of the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO). ("UN 'destroyed' evidence after abduction of 3 Israeli troops," The Daily Star, July 20, 2001.)
A few hours after the kidnapping, UNTSO learned that two abandoned cars had been discovered. One was a white Nissan Pathfinder with fake UN insignia; it had hit an embankment because it was being driven so fast that the driver missed a turn. The other was a Range Rover; it was missing a tire rim, and was still running when it was discovered.
Rather than using the very-recently-abandoned vehicles as clues to rescue the kidnap victims, the UN initiated a cover-up. The next morning, eighteen hours after the kidnapping, a team of OGL and the Indian UNIFIL began removing the contents of the cars.
The Range Rover was soaked with blood. Among the contents of the vehicles may have been a cell phone belonging to the terrorists. The UNTSO officer confirmed that the cars contained "extremely sensitive" items which included "current and relevant information that could have been easily linked to the incident."
A UNIFIL peacekeeper videotaped the removal of the contents, and attempted to tow one of the cars. According to a much-later U.N. report, there were fifty items taken from the car, seven of them blood-stained. (Report of the fact-finding investigation relating to the abduction of three Israeli soldiers on 7 October 2000 and subsequent relevant events, Aug. 2, 2001.)
The end of the UNIFIL videotape featured armed Lebanese men confronting the UN forces, and taking the cars away from the UN. The UN personnel did not resist, because, they later claimed, the cars did not belong to the UN anyway.
The UNTSO officer told The Daily Star that the UN ordered its personnel to destroy all photographs and written reports about the incident.
The U.N. did not provide the Israelis with the automobile contents, or the videotape, both of which might have helped the Israelis rescue the kidnap victims. Instead, the seized contents of the cars were taken to a town in Lebanon, stored in a safe, and some were eventually returned to Hezbollah.
Israel found out about the videotape, and demanded that the UN let Israeli investigators see it. Kofi Annan and his Special Envoy denied that any videotape existed. It is not clear whether Annan was lying, or whether he was misled.
Nine months after the kidnapping, July 6, 2001, the UN admitted that is had the videotape. Annan ordered an internal UN Report, which was led by UN undersecretary-General Joseph Connor. (Connor was later implicated in the Oil-for-Food scam.) The report revealed that the UN had two additional videotapes—one of which contained still photographs from the kidnapping itself. The UN investigation declared that there was no evidence that the UNIFIL forces had been bribed, or that the UN had deliberately misled anyone.
Even after admitting the existence of the first videotape, Annan refused to allow Israel to view it. He claimed that letting Israel see evidence about the kidnapping would undermine the UN’s neutrality. Thus, Annan insisted on neutrality between innocent victims and terrorists who had used fake UN insignia and who had taken vehicles from UN staff a gunpoint.
The United States House of Representatives, on July 30, 2001, passed by a vote of 411-4 a resolution urging the UN to allow Israel to see the videotape. Annan relented, but only under the condition that the tape be edited so as to hide the faces of the Hezbollah perpetrators. He also agreed to give the Israelis some, but not all, of the items which the UN had seized from the getaway cars.
On January 29, 2004, the bodies of the murdered Israelis were returned to Israel by Hezbollah, as part of a prisoner exchange.
In response to one of the commenters, I've added the following analysis on two questions: 1. By what standard can the UN be considered an "accomplice" in the Hezbollah kidnapping? 2. Is anti-semitism the best explanation of UN behavior?
Regarding UN complicity in kidnapping
One can analogize from the rules that are used to decide whether a corporation is criminally culpable for the acts of its employees, or whether a government agency is liable under section 1983 for the acts of its employees. At the lowest level--the four bribed Indians--the trier of facts looks at the entity's efforts to prevent or punish the employee conduct in question, and whether the entity creates a culture in which the conduct is encouraged or tacitly tolerated.
For misconduct by higher-ranking employees, prosecutors and fact-finders tend to be more likely to conclude that misconduct is attributable to the entity. If you believe the UNTSO official who spoke to The Daily Star (not exactly a reflexively pro-Israel newspaper), or if you believe that reports of a vast bribery scheme are true, then you might well find culpability on the part of the UN.
But I think that my calling the UN an "accomplice" is supportable purely on the undisputed public facts about the UN's concealment and suppression of evidence — with some of the suppression being conducted at the direct order of the UN's chief executive. I believe the undisputed facts are sufficient to show, at the least, that the UN was an accessory-after-the-fact to the kidnappings.
Moreover, the activities of the UN's top staff in New York City, and of high-ranking UN officials in Lebanon, are also relevant evidence for whether there is UN corporate culture of tolerance for terrorism/kidnapping, which is relevant evidence for whether the misconduct of the Indian brigade can be attributed to the UN.
As some commenters have pointed out, there is a very long record of the UN being extremely lax towards crimes committed by its peacekeepers in many other places--for example, the rapes of women and girls in former Yugoslavia, Cambodia, West Africa, and the Congo. The global record suggests, again, a corporate culture of indifference (despite official statements to the contrary) towards employee on-the-job involvement in violent crime; the evidence of a global culture of indifference is more evidence which a fact-finder could use in concluding that crimes of the Indian brigade were attributable to the UN.
The UN and Anti-semitism
I don't think that anti-semitism is the root of the UN's problem with Israel. It's true, as some commentators have pointed out, that the UN is functionally anti-semitic; that is, the UN constantly condemns Israel far more often and more vehemently than it condemns other countries which (even if you believe the worst about Israel) violate human rights much more severely than Israel does. The Eye on the UN website provides copious documentation of the UN's functional anti-semitism.
Nevertheless, I think the UN's pervasive anti-Israelism, although anti-Semitic in practice, is not primarily motivated by hatred of Jews.
Hitler was genuinely committed to anti-Semitism. He harmed his own military interests by giving rail line priority to trains which were headed for the death camps, putting those trains ahead of military transport trains. Similarly, Hitler would have produced resources with which to fight the war if he had used Jews as slave labor (as many were used before extermination), rather than killing them en masse. Who else would harm their own self-interest in order to kill Jews. The answers include "the government of Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, and the PLO." But only one of these has a UN delegation, and the UN had turned vehemently against Israel long before Iran's government was taken over by Islamonazis.
Way back in the 1950s, the Arab bloc at the UN had succeeded in perverting UNRWA so that UNRWA would perpetuate rather than solve the Palestinian refugee problem. The Arab dictators of the day may have personally despised Jews, but I think that the dictators were acting out of self-interest, not prejudice. They recognized that keeping the Arab-Israeli conflict festering was a good way to distract and divert the anger of their own nations' populations. In retrospect, we know that the strategy was only partially successful, since the fomentation of anti-Israel Jew hatred sometimes aroused local forces which the dictatorships were unable to control.
Arab government-incited anti-semitism had the advantage of building on historical prejudices against Jews. (It's true that, in the past, Arab Moslem regimes sometimes treated Jews better than did European Christians, but there was also a long record of atrocious abuse of Jews in the Arab world on which the post-WWII Arab dictatorships could build.)
But suppose that modern Israel had never been created, and that, after WWII, some other state for a stateless people had been born. Maybe sympathy for the Gypsies, who were also the victims of Nazi genocide, might have led to the creation of Gypsistan (or Romastan, according to the modern usage) in a part of Egypt. (The word "gypsy" comes from the "Egypt", based on the belief that the group originated there.) Or some other persecuted group might have established a homeland in the wastelands of Libya. In any case, I think that the establishment of a non-Arab state would likely have led to military confrontation, and if the attempt to exterminate that state by force had failed, then the Arab dictators would have found political advantage in fomenting hatred of that non-Arab state.
Although UNRWA was captured very shortly after it was born, the broader UN assault on Israel didn't get going until the 1960s; the assault peaked in the 1970s, and later receded slightly from its 1970s apex. The anti-Israel assault of the 1970s was merely one element in a successful Soviet strategy of aligning the new UN members, most of them former colonies of Europe, and most of them dictatorships, into an anti-Western bloc. Israel, having the misfortune of being located in the middle of a sea of dictatorships, was a natural target of this UN super-majority; but the same would have been true if Romastan were a pro-western democracy.
Today, the Islamic bloc at the UN continues to find local political advantage in anti-Israelism (as it would with anti-Romastanism), while the rest of the Third World finds it advantageous to go along. I don't think that the dictatorship of China, for example, cares one way or the other about Jews or Israel; but the Chinese dictatorship correctly discerns that voting with the Islamic bloc against Israel is a cost-free way to curry favor with Islamic states, and win their support on issues relevant to China.
Regarding Kofi Annan, and most of the rest of the UN's leading executives, I would say that, functionally, they are vicious anti-Semites, but that, in their hearts, they are not particularly prejudiced against Jews per se. Rather, their actions are explainable under the principles of organizational behavior. Annan is a career UN employee (the first one to become Secretary-General), and he has risen through the organization by shrewdly placating whoever needs to be placated. His anti-Israel actions are simply the result of his astute calculation of the balance of forces at the UN. If he could gain more power at the United Nations by denouncing Fiji or by defending Israel, he would do so.
So there is no anti-semitic conspiracy at the UN, in the sense of a conspiracy directed by people who are deeply motivated by hatred of Jews. Rather, the UN's criminal complicity in the kidnapping of Israelis, like the rest of the UN's anti-Israelism, is explainable as the logical result of a wide variety of UN actors behaving according to their self-interest.
(Reposted article by Maurice Ostroff)
UNIFIL has confirmed that Hizbollah fires regularly on UN posts and draws Israeli fire by firing their missies at Israel from the vicinity of UN positions.
On July 26, the daily UNIFIL press release[i] reported the Israeli bomb that had destroyed a UN post the day before, leading to UN Secretary General Anan’s infamous accusation that Israel deliberately attacked the site.
What the secretary general did not consider worth mentioning was the highly relevant information that attacks on UN posts by Hezbollah have been occurring almost daily and that Hezbollah have been drawing Israeli fire by lobbing their rockets at Israel from the vicinity of UN positions. The same UNIFIL press release reported that another UN position in the western sector was directly hit by Hizbollah mortar fire the same evening and that Hezbollah fired at Israel from the vicinity of four UN positions at Alma ash Shab, Tibnin, Brashit, and At Tiri.
On July 24, UNIFIL reported that one unarmed UN member of Observer Group Lebanon (OGL), was seriously wounded by small arms the previous afternoon originating, from preliminary reports, from the Hezbollah side. The UN evacuated him to the Israeli side, from where he was taken by IDF helicopter to a hospital in Haifa. He was operated on, and his condition was reported as stable. Of course there was not a word of thanks from the secretary general.
The July 25 UNIFIL report stated “This morning, Hezbollah opened small arms fire at a UNIFIL convoy consisting of two APC’s on the road between Kunin and Bint Jubayl.”
On July 27 It was also reported that Hezbollah fired from the vicinity of four UN positions at Marwahin, Alma Ash Shab, Brashit, and At Tiri.
On July 28, UNIFIL reported that Hezbollah fired from the vicinity of five UN positions at Alma Ash Shab, At Tiri, Bayt Yahoun, Brashit, and Tibnin.
UNIFIL also reported that since the outbreak of hostilities, four military observers from the OGL and one UNIFIL international staff member and his wife had been killed. In addition four Ghanaian soldiers, one Indian soldier, and one OGL military observer had been wounded. The report did not indicate the source of the fire.
An examination of UNIFIL reports shows clearly that the recent kidnapping of two IDF soldiers was not the principal cause of the present conflagration. Rather it results from Hezbollah’s consistent and continuous attacks on Israel, mainly with rocket fire aimed at civilian populations, ever since Israel left Lebanon in 2000. (See Background to how it all started.)
As Benny Avni reported in the New York Sun (June 19, 2006), "Even before it starts deliberating... the Human Rights Council is flawed in the way it treats Israel". The reason? For one thing Israel is the only country that can't participate. For another despite Secretary-General Annan saying that "No country can claim to have a perfect human rights record," and that he hopes the new council will avoid focusing on Israel and "not on others", there is already pressure to have a seperate standing agenda item on "the question of the violation of human rights in the occupied Arab territories, including Palestine". This will again give an added political and anti-Israel role to a UN Human Rights body.
Why does having a special item about an area of conflict create bias you ask? Simply put, while major problem may not make it onto the main agenda, this item (if agreed) would ensure that even a minor mistake by Israel would recieve motions of condemnation. Imagine you live in a small town with two police officers. Everyone had a car and no one drives perfectly. However in your case one of the police officer is assigned to do nothing but follow you and record any traffic violations you make. Mean time on the other end of town gangs are deliberatly running over old ladies in cars they've stole for kicks.
This week U.N. Watch will publish a report documenting how the proposed Swiss member of the council, Mr. Ziegler, helped in 1989 to establish a $10 million fund to set up Libyan prize for Human rights. Only problem is that recipients included a convicted French holocaust denier, Roger Garaudy and Mr. Ziegler himself with Prize for their "thought and creativity." The prize was used as "a propaganda tool; as a method for funding sympathetic NGOs; as a means to celebrate prominent anti-Americans and to highlight issues meant to embarrass the United States; as a means to celebrate prominent anti-Semites; and as a way to provide moral support for those who participate in the Palestinian intifada," U.N. Watch's director, Hillel Neuer, writes in the report.
BAsed on reports by Freedom House, only a half of the new Human Rights Council members are considered "free". Benny Avni asks "in lieu of a credible and unbiased international human rights body, to whom should victims in Darfur, Zimbabwe, North Korea, or Tibet turn?"