GENEVA – The World Jewish Congress today urged the United Nations Human Rights Council to remove from its agenda an item singling out Israel for criticism, saying that the UN’s approach is biased and is setting back the cause of Middle East peace.
“As Israelis and Palestinians are engaged in serious peace negotiations, we call on the United Nations Human Rights Council to ensure that its role is productive, even-handed, and designed to genuinely protect the human rights of all people living in the Middle East, no matter under which government or authority,” said WJC CEO Robert Singer. “The council needs to reform its approach to the conflict, which is profoundly misguided, unproductive, and out of touch with reality. We are pleased that the European Union did not participate in today’s debate singling out Israel. This is a helpful step toward re-balancing the council.”
In a statement delivered before the Human Rights Council in Geneva, the member of WJC’s Jewish Diplomatic Corps Andrea Tobia Zevi said, “Since its establishment, this council has approved a record-breaking number of resolutions condemning Israel – more than 45 resolutions, or over one-third of all country-specific resolutions. We all know which situations go ignored as a cost of this obsession.”
He added: "When a Special Rapporteur encourages the United Nations to play a ‘crucial role’ in a ‘legitimacy war’ against a Member State … when he promotes boycotts; and when he wields loaded words such as ‘apartheid’ and ‘ethnic cleansing,’ the stakes for the legitimacy of the Council itself become too high.”
Israel is the only country singled out with its own UNHRC agenda item, Item 7. All other countries are discussed together.
The WJC is accredited to the UN as a non-governmental organization. Andrea Tobia Zevi lives in Rome, where he is a published author and chairman of the Association of Jewish Culture Hans Jonas.
Statement delivered by Andrea Tobia Zevi on behalf of World Jewish Congress
I speak today on behalf of the World Jewish Congress, an international organization representing more than 100 Jewish communities worldwide.
The Jewish connection to Israel is embedded in our soul. It is a product of our history and living tradition that dates unbroken for thousands of years. And on the strength of this connection, we cherish the prospects of Israelis and Palestinians living side-by-side in two states founded on peace and security.
When it comes to the conflict between its neighbors and Israel, this Council should have as its single-minded purpose, efforts to promote a just and lasting peace for all parties. This council should act to foster dialogue, cooperation and mutual understanding. It should advance the cause of human rights.
Alas, we all know that the council’s agenda, activities and atmospherics surrounding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict do little to promote the goals of peace.
Since its establishment, this council has approved a record-breaking number of resolutions condemning Israel – more than 45 resolutions, or over one-third of all country-specific resolutions. We all know which situations go ignored as a cost of this obsession.
And when a Special Rapporteur encourages the United Nations to play a “crucial role” in a “legitimacy war” against a Member State (A/HRC/25/67, para. 6); when he promotes boycotts; and when he wields loaded words such as “apartheid” and “ethnic cleansing,” the stakes for the legitimacy of the council itself become too high.
Our Sages have taught the world the value and sanctity of the written and spoken word.
For the sake of peace in the Middle East, we respectfully call on this council to heed the importance of words. To ensure that the council plays a productive role in fostering peace. And that it works to rescind item 7 of its agenda.
Thank you, Mr. President.