The recent United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) report that alleges “Israeli soldiers committed violations of international human rights and humanitarian law… and may constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity” has several substantial issues, not least of which is a lack of evidence and a complete whitewashing of Arab Palestinian terror.

NGO Monitor observed that the report reflected a “lack of expertise and muddled analysis.” One example of this is that the UN report refused to define the riots as a combat situation, meaning that human rights law was applicable. However, in the same report, IDF soldiers are accused of war crimes, which “is baseless, since war crimes can only where the laws of war are applicable.”

According to UNWatch Director, Hillel Neuer, the report “…rewards Hamas’ deliberate strategy to cause Palestinian injuries in order to win international political support“. A 2018 report that singled out Israel also had several factual errors and there are likely to be many in this year’s report.

There are six other reports planned by the UNHRC to demonise Israel this year and one of them is expected to be a “blacklist” of companies that amounts to a de facto form of Boycott Divestment Sacntion support. These are in addition to the infamous “Item 7” that mandates debate on Israeli actions against the Palestinians at every council session. Last year, some countries took a stand by not speaking to the item.

Some countries have stood up to the discrimination of such a disproportionate focus on Israel. The anti-Israel bias of the UNHRC was recently condemned by the Danish and Australian Foreign Ministers. Last year, the USA left the Council because of its blatant bias against the Jewish state and the British Foreign Minister said the unreasonable focus on Israel was “disproportionate and damaging”.

Kofi Annan recognised the bias in 2006, and pushed for the newly-formed HRC to act fairly. However, the discrimination and demonisation has continued and many world leaders have acknowledged the anti-Israel bias – in the UNHRC and in the United Nations other bodies also. Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, said “The UN General Assembly is now the place where Israel is bullied and where antisemitism is cloaked in the language about human rights.” This follows a 2017 promise by UN Secretary General, Antonio Gueterres, to stand against the bias and treat Israel like any other nation.

Such rhetoric is commendable but the latest report on the Gaza riots show that actioning change is much harder than identifying it. What is even more shameful than allowing the likes of Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Qatar et al to sit on the UNHRC is that liberal democracies like New Zealand have remained silent on the abuse Israel suffers at the international forum. For all the talk of UN reform, New Zealand leaders have only identified the UNSC veto as needing review.

The manifestly unjust claims against Israel are bad enough. But the real shame of the intense anti-Israel bias is that real human rights violations are ignored. For example, UN “right to food” expert, Hilal Elver, has tabled 9 reports since 2015 but not one of them has considered the dire situation in Venezuela, where people are starving to death and the leader of the country has blocked aid.

For all the talk of UN reform, New Zealand has been silent on the Human Rights Council making a mockery of its mandate.

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