Obama Ignores Goldstone Retreat, Wants US on Human Rights Panel
U.S. President Barack Obama said he wants the United States to stay on the United Nations Human Rights Council and end its anti-Israeli bias, despite its inability to stop the failed Goldstone Report two years ago.
Judge Richard Goldstone last week admitted his report was wrong in finding Israel guilty of a “deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate and terrorize a civilian population.”
The United States had objected to the report, which focused on Israel for alleged war crimes, but the Obama administration had little weight on the predominantly anti-Israel council.
U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs chairwoman Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has said she will propose legislation to call for the U.S. to withdraw from the Council because "Israel is the only country on the council's permanent agenda, while abuses by rogue regimes like Cuba, China, and Syria are ignored.”
The Bush administration kept the United States off the Council, arguing that it could have more influence from a distance. President Obama reversed the policy, but in November 2010 alone, the United States remained silent while Syria and Lebanon said at the United Nations General Assembly Fourth Committee on November 15 that Israel is a country of "war lovers" and is the source of terrorism in the Middle East. In the nine committee resolutions against Israel during the month, the United States either abstained or voted against them.
As of 2010, Israel had been condemned in 32 resolutions – 48 percent of all resolutions passed by the Council since its creation in 2006.
The Council’s special rapporteur on the Israeli-Arab conflict is Richard Falk, who has compared Israel's treatment of Arabs with the Nazis' treatment of Jews during the Holocaust
At the Council’s opening session in February 2011, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton criticized its "structural bias" against the State of Israel.
Defending President Obama’s decision to gain a seat on the Council, the State Department last week released a fact sheet noting decisions initiated by the United States involving Libya, Sudan and Iran.
"The United States remains determined to take all possible steps to end the Council’s biased and disproportionate focus on Israel," the statement said. "The United States maintains a vocal, principled stand against this focus, and will continue its robust efforts to end it."