Human Rights

There was an important editorial in The Washington Post yesterday about the new Human Rights Council at the United Nations, which was established in a spasm of much-needed reform in March. Now it has completed its second formal session and The Post weighs-in with its verdict: “The council…has turned out to be far worse than its predecessor — not just a “shadow” but a travesty that the United Nations can ill afford.”

The problem, as anyone with the faintest knowledge of the UN will be unsurprised to hear, rests with the new Council’s fixation on one country: Israel. There were six official reports on that subject in the last session alone. In a moment when Darfur is on flames, Burma is Burma, Uzbekistan is Uzbekistan, we get endless reports on Israeli “crimes” in Lebanon.

It hardly feels worth mentioning, but small-d does not think Israel should be exempt from scrutiny (internally Israeli human rights activists are a robust constituency). But we cannot take seriously a body that obsessively accords attention to the Jewish state to the exclusion of other, much more egregious, violators. As Christopher Hitchens might say, it is “unmistakably smelly.”

UPDATE: Norm Geras has more on the issue.

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