The insanity of political naivete

History shows that hate groups are only emboldened when given legitimacy, and Biden's return to the UNHRC will be a current example of that truth Op-ed.

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner ,

UNHRC mission
UNHRC mission
Flash 90

It has been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome. This is especially true concerning the wishful thinking in the moral divide of international affairs. One month into his administration, President Joe Biden’s foreign policy team is about to embark on a measure of what is pure political insanity by rejoining the United Nations Human Rights Council—a decision that contradicts everything that the United States is supposed to stand for.

According to its official description, the United Nations Human Rights Council, or UNHRC, is an inter-governmental body made up of 47 nations responsible for the protection of human rights around the globe. But the UNHRC’s primary focus is Israel—its February 2021 report titled “Agenda Item 7: Country Claims and United Nations Watch Responses” highlights the usual far-fetched accusations of occupation and apartheid issued by such pillars of justice as Iran, Syria, North Korea, Pakistan, Cuba, Libya, and the Palestinian Authority and charge the Jewish state.


Secretary of State Blinken’s aspirations, while noble, are completely unrealistic given the history of the UNHRC and the makeup of many of its member states.
The latest installment of these fingers-pointed-against-Israel charges consists of a revamped version of old blood libel: blaming Israel Covid-19 in the Palestinian Authority. The UNHRC goes out of its way to ignore human rights abuses perpetrated by the Islamic Republic of Iran, Syria, North Korea, or the Palestinian Authority; there is no condemnation of human rights abuses s in Libya or Eritrea.

The UNHRC has a historic rap sheet of anti-Israel and antisemitic bias. In June 2020, World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder issued a stinging condemnation of the UNHRC and its malignant obsession in attacking Israel. “As usual, little mention was made of violations committed by the terrorist group Hamas, such as the firing of rockets against Israeli civilians, or transgressions committed by the Palestinian Authority,” Lauder said. “Rather, the Council continued its long, one-sided anti-Israel tirade, without any regard for the real facts on the ground.”

The latest UNHRC report—like much of its work—is so biased that most Western countries have rejected the Item 7 debate and refused to participate in any of its discussions.

Shortly after the UNHRC was created in 2006, replacing the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, John Bolton, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, convinced President George W. Bush not to join the council specifically for its anti-Israel bias. But the Obama administration rejoined the UNHRC, claiming that it was wiser tactically for the United States to protect Israel if it was doing so on the inside, as a member state. It was naïve wishful thinking.

The Trump administration would have none of this logic. Against American objections, countries with long histories of human rights abuses who were guilty of voluminous rap-sheets of crimes against their people and others were still admitted into the Geneva-based body. If it was going to remain a member, the Trump administration warned, the UNHRC needed to change and adopt sweeping reforms, especially the elimination of its preoccupation with Israel, which has received by far the largest number of critical council resolutions against any nation on earth. The UNHRC refused Trump’s call for reform and in 2018, the U.S. pulled out.

Less than a month into his administration, as the United States is in the grips of horrific Covid-19 collateral damage including the deaths of 500,000 Americans and a devastated economy, President Joe Biden’s Secretary of State somehow saw rejoining the UNHRC as an imperative. In a tweet, Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated, “The U.N. Human Rights Council is flawed and needs reform, but walking away won’t fix it. The best way to improve the Council, so it can achieve its potential, is through robust and principled U.S. leadership. Under President of the United States Joe Biden, we are reengaging and ready to lead.”

As the founder of an NGO that has fought terrorism and anti-Israel bias in the trenches of the world’s courts of law, I know how first-hand how blind bias and historic hatred of Israel are embedded inside international organizations such as the UNHRC. Shurat HaDin sued the UNHRC for defamation on behalf of Israel’s Rami Levy supermarket chain and cellular phone company, after it was placed on a blacklist of companies conducting business in Jewish areas of the 'West Bank', East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights. The UNHRC’s blacklist of Levy, just one example of the overt anti-Israeli bias and racism, violated the United Nations charter.

Secretary of State Blinken’s aspirations, while noble, are completely unrealistic given the history of the UNHRC and the makeup of many of its member states. If history is a bellwether of anything, it is that hate groups are only emboldened when given a forum of legitimacy. The United States must never embolden hate.

The Obama administration’s attempts to instill decency and fairness to the UNHRC failed miserably. It is pure wishful thinking that the Biden administration will somehow smooth-talk this anti-Israel body into discovering its moral compass. This is truly the definition of insanity.

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner is the president of Shurat HaDin and the author of the best seller “Harpoon”.




top