Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon met Wednesday with UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay, and spared no criticism of the body she heads. Pillay has been visiting Israel and the Palestinian Authority since Sunday. Ayalon's bureau said that the meeting was "to expose the Commissioner to the complexity of the situation and the dilemmas that face Israel as the only democracy in the Middle East."
In his conversation with the Commissioner, the Deputy Minister summed up the latest developments in the Middle East and their ramifications. Ayalon said that the Human Rights Commission has been hurting the chances of restarting the diplomatic process: "The obsession with the Goldstone Report, and the use of the Commission to persecute Israel politically, create an atmosphere of hostility and and distrust, which causes the Palestinians to dig in to their positions and prevents them from returning to the negotiation table."
"The Goldstone Report called the missile fire from Gaza 'war crimes.' Well, six war crimes took place today - and we heard no response or denouncement from the UN," Ayalon accused his guest. "When we see this double moral standard, it is hard for us, as Israelis, to take the Human Rights Commission seriously."
"The Human Rights Commission as it comports itself today undermines the right of self-defense of democracies dealing with terror and asymmetrical warfare, and in actuality encourage terror," Ayalon said. He expressed concern that the Commissioner's planned visit to Iran will "grant legitimacy to the Iranian regime, which cruelly violates human rights, executes people and calls openly for genocide."
Ayalon asked the Commissioner to do more for the release of abducted soldier Gilad Shalit. "It seems that the UN is not acting on all fronts in order to bring about the release of Gilad Shalit. I call upon you to make maximal efforts in order to bring him home, and to bring about an immediate improvement in his conditions, which are a basic and crude breach of every relevant human rights treaty."
US Congressional representatives have recently called for a cessation of funding for the UNHRC, citing its anti-Israel bias. The commission automatically puts condemnation of Israel in the same spot on the agenda of every one of its meetings, ignoring human rights violatoins in much of the world..
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said that under her leadership the Committee will engage in oversight, particularly regarding funding to the UNHRC that is "a waste of taxpayer dollars."
"I'd like to make sure that we once and for all kill all U.S. funding for that beast
," she said. "Because I don't think that it advances U.S. interests, I don't think that that's a pro-democracy group, it's a rogues' gallery, pariah states, they belong there because they don't want to be sanctioned."