The UN has a long record of anti-Israel bias, largely promoted by the 57 countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, almost all of which don't recognize Israel, and by dictatorships around the world that deflect criticism of their own human rights records by railing against supposed Israeli abuses.
The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), established in 2006, has condemned Israel more times than all other countries combined and has commissioned reports on Israeli operations in Gaza in 2009 and 2014 that almost exclusively blame Israel for the conflict and accuse Israel of habitually committing war crimes with impunity.
A number of ostensibly apolitical UN agencies have likewise been hijacked by anti-Israel countries. For example, in April 2016, the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) passed with overwhelming support, including from EU countries, an Arab-sponsored resolution ignoring Jewish ties to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall.
UNRWA, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, was established after the Israeli War of Independence to help resettle people of all faiths displaced by the war. The agency has made little effort to resettle Palestinians and even includes "refugees" who don't live in refugee camps and are citizens of other countries on their rolls. UNRWA schools, which mostly employ local Palestinians, have a long record of glorifying terrorism and indoctrinating students in hatred of Israel.
The United Nations was established in 1945 in the wake of World War II with a mandate to maintain peace and prevent another such war. Since then, the UN has evolved into an organization that deals with such varied topics as territorial disputes, environmental protection, and economic development. Though some of its humanitarian, economic, and environmental agencies live up to their mandates and do important work, the UN's political bodies are abject failures. The UN Security Council, General Assembly, and Human Rights Council spend much of their time condemning Israel. In addition, the UN Relief Works Agency (UNRWA), which is charged with ensuring Palestinian refugees' welfare, contributes to the anti-Semitic indoctrination and incitement to violence permeating Palestinian society.
Un human rights council
The UNHRC is singularly focused on condemning Israel. As of the spring 2016 regular session, 51.9% of all the resolutions it passed condemning a specific country for human rights violations have been of Israel. Israel is the only country reviewed at every council session and is the only one investigated under a mandate with no year of expiry. The UNHRC Special Rapporteur from 2008 to 2014, Richard Falk, has repeatedly compared Israel to Nazi Germany, expressed his belief that George W. Bush was complicit in the 9/11 attacks, endorsed Palestinian suicide bombings, and has expressed anti-Semitic beliefs on multiple occasions. His successor, Makarim Wibisono, said at the council's first regular meeting during his tenure, in March 2015, "The ferocity of destruction and high proportion of civilian lives lost in Gaza [during Operation Protective Edge] cast serious doubts over Israel's adherence to international humanitarian law principles of proportionality, distinction, and precautions in attack."
During its March 2015 meeting, the UNHRC heard seven reports on Israel's supposed human rights violations and issued four condemnations of Israel, fully half of all its condemnations. The other four condemnations were of North Korea, Iran, Syria, and the Islamic State. In 2014, the council issued 20 condemnations of Israel and three for all other countries combined. Since its inception in 2006 as the replacement for the UN Commission on Human Rights, an equally anti-Israel agency, the UNHRC has held seven emergency sessions to address supposed Israeli human rights violations, compared to four for Syria and seven for all other countries combined.
Most infamously, the UNHRC has launched two probes into Israel's military actions in Gaza, one after Operation Cast Lead in 2009 and the second after Operation Protective Edge in 2014. The two Gaza investigations are detailed below.
Goldstone Report (2009)
Following Operation Cast Lead (December 27, 2008 – January 18, 2009), Israel's first war against Hamas in Gaza, the UNHRC established a mission to investigate human rights violations perpetrated during the conflict. The 452-page report, released September 15, 2009, accused Israel of systematically targeting civilians while claiming, "From the information available to it, the Mission found no evidence to suggest that Palestinian armed groups either directed civilians to areas where attacks were being launched or forced civilians to remain within the vicinity of attacks."
The Goldstone Report, whose main author, South African jurist Richard Goldstone, has since applauded Israel's efforts to implement policy changes based on mistakes made during the war and retracted his endorsement of the report's conclusions, focused a disproportionate amount of its attention on the Israeli military rather than on Palestinian terror groups. The text of the report contains the words "Israel," "Israeli" (excluding 50 references to civilians), and acronyms for branches of the Israeli military 2246 times but mentions "Hamas," "Qassam Brigades," "Islamic Jihad," "Palestinian armed group," "al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade," "Palestinian fighter," and "Palestinian militant" a total of 612 times. Conversely, the report focuses far more attention on Palestinian civilians than on Israeli civilians, which admittedly is reasonable considering the vast difference in death toll. The report contained 108 references to Israeli civilians and 340 to Palestinian civilians. Additionally, the report used the word "indiscriminate" in reference to Israeli actions nine times but only four times regarding Palestinian groups, despite the Palestinian groups' entire attack strategy explicitly targeting civilians.
Gaza Commission of Inquiry (2014)
Following Operation Protective Edge, Israel's latest major attack on Hamas and other Gaza-based terror groups, the UNHRC passed a resolution condemning Israel's actions and establishing a "commission of inquiry" into potential human rights violations committed during the operation. The commission has been plagued by controversy from its inception. Of the three international law experts initially asked to join the commission, one, Amal Clooney, declined her invitation. One, William Schabas, meant to be the head of the investigation, resigned after prior paid legal work for the PLO, Palestine Liberation Organization, became public. Schabas was criticised by the Canadian and Israeli governments, as well as by various pro-Israel groups and news organizations, for his well-documented bias against Israel and love of Iran's genocidal theocracy. The current members of the commission, Mary McGowan Davis and Doudou Diène, are considered less biased against Israel than Schabas.
Whatever its members' opinions on Israel, the commission's very mandate was absurdly biased. UNHRC Resolution S-21/1, the investigation's mandate, mentioned Israel and the Israeli military 16 times but never once mentioned Hamas, Islamic Jihad, or any other Palestinian combatants. In fact, the document's only mention of Palestinian attacks was, "[the UNHRC] condemns all violence against civilians wherever it occurs, including the killing of two Israeli civilians as a result of rocket fire." (At the time of the passage of the resolution, July 23, 2014, only two Israeli civilians had been killed. By the end of the war, the total rose to six.) The resolution contained a mention of "extremist Israeli settlers," as well as five references to Israel as the "occupying" power, but no mention of "extremist" Palestinians. The resolution mentioned Palestinian civilians and the Occupied Palestinian Territories 39 times, compared to two times for Israelis.
Since its founding in 2006, the UNHRC has issued 131 condemnations of specific countries for human rights violations, including 67 of Israel. Below is a list of the number of condemnations by country, sourced from UN Watch (for regular sessions 1-29 and special sessions 1-23) and the UNHRC (for regular sessions 30-31 and special session 24). In the most recent UNHRC session, five of the nine country-specific condemnations were of Israel.
GENERAL ASSEMBLY AND SECURITY COUNCIL
The United Nations General Assembly, comprising all 193 full members of the UN, is, like the UNHRC, highly biased against Israel. The General Assembly includes 57 members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, whose members invariably vote against Israel; 28 members of the European Union, most of which either vote against Israel or abstain; and dozens of states reliant on Arab and Russian oil that consistently vote with their anti-Israel patrons. Given the assembly's makeup, it's no surprise that resolutions critical of Israel regularly pass by large margins. For example, the 2012 resolution upgrading the State of Palestine to non-member observer status in the UN passed by a vote of 138-9, with 41 abstentions. Israel and the US, two of the "no" votes, called the resolution detrimental to the peace process, with Israeli PM Benyamin Netanyahu saying, "The way to peace between Jerusalem and Ramallah is in direct negotiations… and not in one-sided U.N. decisions." The other seven "no" votes all came from steady allies of Israel: Canada; the Czech Republic, which, as Czechoslovakia, supported Israel's in its 1948 War of Independence; Panama, a close ally of the US since the latter built the Panama Canal, in use since 1914 and a huge boost to Panama's economy; Nauru, a small Pacific island nation that receives critical technical and economic support from Israel; and three more Pacific island nations, the Marshall Islands, Palau, and Micronesia, which since 1986 have agreed to vote with the US in the UN and allow US military operations in their territory in return for economic support.
The Security Council, by contrast, generally treats Israel fairly. The council consists of five permanent members, each with veto power, and 10 elected members. While the five permanent members, the US, UK, France, Russia, and China (represented until 1971 by the Republic of China, i.e. Taiwan; since 1971 represented by the People's Republic of China, i.e. mainland communist China, which replaced Taiwan as the UN member state representing "China"), are fairly evenly split between supporters and opponents of Israel, the US regularly excercises its veto power to strike down anti-Israel resolutions, sparing Israel from the scathing criticism it receives from the UN's other political bodies. In March, after Israel's general election, which resulted in the reelection of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, American President Barack Obama told Netanyahu in a phone call that the US "will need to reassess our options following [Netanyahu's] new positions and comments regarding the two-state solution." Worryingly, Obama left open the possibility that the US would allow anti-Israel resolutions to pass in the Security Council.
UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)
The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) was founded in December 1949 to provide for residents of Palestine displaced during the Israeli War of Independence. UNRWA originally oversaw relief for displaced persons of all religions, including Jews, but in 1952, Israel assumed responsibility for Jewish refugees. More than six decades later, UNRWA continues to shoulder the burden of providing services for Palestinian Muslim and Christian "refugees" in the West Bank, Gaza, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan. In 2009, James G. Lindsay, a former legal advison and general counsel for UNRWA, published a report critical of the organization, arguing that rather than attempting to resettle Palestinian "refugees", the agency chooses to perpetuate the refugee problem indefinitely in support of the "Right of Return." The UNRWA definition of "Palestinian refugee" includes Muslims and Christian who were displaced in 1948, even those who were displaced within the former British Mandate, even though such displaced persons would normally be termed "internally displaced," rather than refugees, as they resettled in areas designated for a future Palestinian state. UNRWA estimates the "refugee" population at over 5 million, even though only tens of thousands of Muslim and Christian Palestinians who were displaced during the war are alive today. This is because the UN considers the patrilineal descendants of the original Muslim and Christian Palestinians displaced in 1948 refugees, uniquely among all displaced groups. Even a Palestinian who has never set foot in Israel, whose parents never set foot in Israel, only one of whose grandparents ever lived in what is today Israel, and who has citizenship in the country in which he resides is still considered a refugee.
In the last few years, numerous UNRWA employees and schools in Lebanon, Jordan, the West Bank, and Gaza have posted anti-Semitic incitement to violence and glorification of terrorism on their Facebook pages, as documented extensively by Elder of Ziyon, a pro-Israel blogger. The UN initially claimed that "it remains to be seen" whether individuals cited in a report by UN Watch, based in part on Elder of Ziyon posts, were in fact UNRWA employees. Soon after, the UN quietly announced that a number of UNRWA employees had been suspended for their anti-Semitic incitement online. However, the incitement by UNRWA employees and glorification of terrorism in UNRWA schools has continued unabated.
Other un agencies
UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
In April 2016, UNESCO passed an Arab-sponsored resolution ignoring Jewish ties to the Temple Mount and Western Wall. The resolution, which garnered 33 votes in favor, including from France and Spain, and only 6 against, with 17 abstentions, refers to the Temple Mount areas solely by their Muslim names, with the exception of two references to the Western Wall Plaza in parentheses. A draft version proposed the previous October called the Western Wall an "integral part" of the Al-Aqsa mosque compound (from which Jews are barred from praying by the Israeli government in deference to the Palestinians and the Arab states.) The resolution also deplores the "new cycle of violence" perpetrated by Israeli settlers but makes no mention of the 34 deaths in hundreds of Palestinian attacks on Israelis. UNESCO said it regretted Israel's failure to remove the cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem, both of which have mosques built over them and are considered holy by Muslims, from its list of national heritage sites; and charged that Israel has built "Jewish fake graves" in Muslim cemetaries south and east of the Al Aqsa mosque.
In January 2014, days before its scheduled opening in Paris, UNESCO "indefinitely postponed" an exhibit entitled, "The People, The Book, The Land: The 3500-year relationship between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel." The cancellation came after Arab representatives argued that the display would "harm the peace process." UNESCO revered its decision within the year and the exhibit was shown.
Source: The Times of Israel
In July 2012, UNESCO established a chair at the Islamic University of Gaza in the field of astronomy, astrophysics, and space sciences. Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a press release expressing "shock" at the move by UNESCO, stating in a press release, "The Islamic University of Gaza is a known greenhouse and breeding ground for Hamas terrorists. Only last month, the University's Dean of Koranic studies openly called for the Islamic conquest of the Vatican and Spain."
On October 31, 2011, UNESCO admitted Palestine as a full member by an overwhelming 107-14 vote. As US law prohibits funding of UN organizations that have admitted Palestine as a full member, the US withdrew its funding which accounted for 22% of the organization's budget. Israel withrew funding as well and in 2013, both countries' voting rights were suspended as a result.
In June 2011, UNESCO censured Israel's decision to demolish and rebuild the Mughrabi Gate Bridge leading to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound for safety reasons. The bridge, which was built in 2007 as a replacement for an earthen ramp which had collapsed in 2004, was only meant to be a temporary solution. Israeli repairs and excevations at the site in 2007 sparked protest marches in Jordan and rioting in the West Bank amid Arab suspicions that Israel was trying to collapse the Dome of the Rock.
In February 2011, an article was published in a Palestinian youth magazine in which a teenage girl described as one of her four role models Adolf Hitler. In December of that year, UNESCO, which partly funded the magazine, condemned the material and subsequently withdrew its funding.
Source: The Daily Telegraph
World Health Organization (WHO)
Like UNESCO, the WHO is ostensibly an apolitical UN agency. However, on May 25, 2016, a UN resolution passed at the annual assembly of the WHO which calls for reports, due at the next assembly, on a series of alleged Israeli violations, including on "the impact of prolonged occupation and human rights violations on mental, physical, and environmental health" in "the occupied Palestinian territory." The WHO assembly did not discuss the impact of the Syrian Civil War, the Central African Republic Civil War (which has been going on since 2012 and has killed thousands but is almost never covered by Western media), the Iraqi Civil War, Chinese crackdowns on dissidents, Hamas's neglect of Gazans, or any other health crises. The resolution was the only item on the agenda focused on a single country and was passed by a vote of 107 to 8, with 8 abstentions and 58 absent. The resolution was backed by a 59-page Palestinian submission which complains of a "racist separation barrier" and blames increased traffic accidents in the West Bank on the fear of "being pursued by settlers." The Palestinian submission also included a number of doctored or incorrectly captioned photographs meant to demonize Israel. Syria, for its part, submitted a blatantly anti-Semitic report alleging that "the Israeli occupation authorities… experiment on Syrian and Arab prisoners with medicines and drugs and to inject them with pathogenic viruses." Incredibly, Syria, Egypt, Venezuela, Pakistan, Iran, and other consistently anti-Israel countries were joined in voting through the measure by the EU, which claimed that the resolution was merely "technical." The only countries to join Israel in voting against the measure were the U.S., Canada, Australia, Paraguay, Guatemala, Micronesia, and Papua New Guinea.
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
In May 2016, Majida El Roumi, a Lebanese singer and "goodwill ambassador" for the FAO, said in an interview, "When I was fifteen years old, I read The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and everything that is happening today is mentioned in detail in those protocols. Any Arab who sees what is happening today in the Arab world, everything we see and are seeing today, are mentioned in the book of protocols, which calls for destabilization of the Arab world to start, and it is not limited to the Arab world. What happened in the French capital of Paris and Brussels recently is a Zionist plot with the complicity of Arab and international worlds." Even back in 2014, she had already told the media she had read the Protocols at her father's urging, yet the UN made her a "goodwill ambassador" anyway.
Source: Elder of Ziyon
International Labour Organization (ILO)
The ILO, which deals with labor issues and registers complains against countries found to be violating international rules, admitted in 1975 (just months before the passage of the infamous “Zionism is racism” resolution by the General Assembly) the PLO as an observer despite objections from Israel and America. At its 1974 conference, the ILO passed a resolution, sponsored by the Arab League, condemning an Israeli "policy of racial discrimination and violation of trade union freedoms.” Soon after, the US suspended its funding of the ILO and withdrew its membership, due in part to the organization’s politicized treatment of Israel and in part due to increasing Soviet influence.
Source: Beigbeder (1979)
Two resolutions passed after the Independence War and the Six-Day War, respectively, are commonly cited by opponents of Israel as establishing a binding Palestinian "Right of Return," a right which, if excercised, would result in the destruction of Israel as the Jewish State. However, the relevant resolutions don't actually endorse a right of return. Moreover, the first of the two resolutions was opposed by the Arab members of the UN at the time of its passage.
un general assembly resolution 194
The resolution, passed in 1948 by a vote of 35-15, with Eastern Europe and the Arab world providing the "no" votes, is often said to endorse a Palestinian right of return.
On the subject of people displaced by the war, the resolution states, "The refugees willing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date." Successive Israeli governments have argued that the resolution, given its wording, is non-binding, and that since the refugees largely do not wish to live in peace with their neighbors, the right is void. Furthermore, the resolution makes no mention of the descendants of Palestinian refugees, who are the only people in the world currently given hereditary refugee status by the UN.
No Jewish refugees of the Israeli Independence War were allowed to return to their homes in the parts of the mandate controlled by Jordan and Egypt after the war.
No neighboring Arab states have made any efforts to integrate Arab refugees of the war or their descendants, unlike Israel, which took in more Jewish refugees from Arab states in the wake of the war than there were Arab refugees.
UN security council Resolution 242
The resolution, passed unanimously after the Six-Day War in 1967, never referred to any territories gained by Israel during the war as "Occupied Palestinian Territories" and made no attempt to determine which state should ultimately control the West Bank, East Jerusalem, or Gaza.
The resolution reaffirmed the necessity of a "just settlement of the refugee problem" and didn't refer to a "right of return" or specifically to Arab, as opposed to Jewish, refugees of the Independence War.
The UN and the Vilification of Israel
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