NGOs contributing factor to Israel shunning of UN body

Jerusalem – Due to rampant double standards and bias, Israel reportedly will not participate this week in the UN Human Rights Council’s quadrennial Universal Periodic Review (UPR). Despite the ostensible “universality” of UPR, this forum has been exploited by the Arab League, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and politicized NGOs to target Israel and bash democracies like Canada, rather than to work for improved human rights around the world, said Jerusalem-based research institute NGO Monitor.

“UN officials and their NGO allies are very worried about Israel’s boycott, and for good reason,” said NGO Monitor Legal Advisor Anne Herzberg. “Israel’s non-participation in UPR will expose the façade of a ‘reformed’ UNHRC and will force the UN to implement long overdue reforms.”

UPR was created as a quadrennial peer review of the human rights records of every UN member state.  It was instituted in 2007 as part of the “reformed” Human Rights Council (HRC), to correct the anti-Israel politicization and selectivity plaguing UN human rights frameworks. However, the reform failed, and resolutions against Israel at the HRC have far outnumbered those issued against other countries, with 5 of the first 9 special sessions targeting Israel. The Council maintains the notorious Agenda Item 7, meaning that Israel is the only country singled out at every session. Further, as with other UN human rights mechanisms, UPR meetings have often consisted of dictatorships celebrating their “stellar” human rights records while bashing Israel and other democracies.

“Biased NGOs, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, have worked together with the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to exploit the UNHRC to single out Israel,” continued Herzberg. “They have teamed up to create four separate ‘fact-finding’ missions, including the notorious Goldstone Report. NGOs keep Israel on the agenda, while abusive regimes are generally ignored.”

NGO Monitor notes that Israel ceased all contacts with the UNHRC following the March 2012 Council session, in which the HRC initiated another fact-finding mission against Israel due to intense lobbying by several European-government funded NGOs such as Al Haq and Badil. These groups hope this initiative will lay the groundwork for a new lawfare campaign against Israelis at the International Criminal Court. Additionally, while tens of thousands were being butchered by the Assad regime in Syria, the HRC outrageously passed a resolution condemning Israel for the “suffering of Syrian citizens in the occupied Syrian Golan.”

Members of the politicized NGO network have repeatedly appeared before the UNHRC, falsely accusing Israel of “war crimes” and “violations of human rights” as part of the Durban strategy of demonizing and isolating Israel. They have not, however, campaigned against the UNHRC’s blatant double standards aimed at Israel, including Agenda Item 7.

“UPR is the last vestige of credibility for the UNHRC,” stated Herzberg. “The UN, HRW, and the other NGOs that are responsible for the dysfunctional state of affairs have no one to blame but themselves.”

For more details on Israel, the UNHRC, and UPR, see Anne Herzberg’s “Showdown Between UN Human Rights Council and Israel,” Gatestone Institute, January 18, 2013.