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UN Watch Briefing

Issue 409

Double Standard Exposed: For PLO Agenda, U.N. Easily Postpones Israel Debate

Does it matter if the U.N. Human Rights Council postpones a debate on Israel's alleged violations?

Terribly so, we were told last week by the council and its defenders, who went into a state of apoplexy when Israel, requesting a postponement, dared to miss a scheduled review session on January 29th.

Even the New York Times entered the fray -- in a rare editorial dedicated to the goings-on of the Geneva body -- accusing Israel of undermining human rights. Headlines worldwide echoed the sense of outrage.

UN Watch has already exposed the rank hypocrisy of these empty charges.

Yet it now turns out that, at the exact same time as the above media storm was blowing, the council was taking an altogether different approach toward a similar request, made by one of its own top UN officials, to postpone a debate on Israel's alleged violations.

UN Watch has discovered that the council quietly posted a notice that their own Palestine monitor, the infamous Richard Falk, who was kicked out of Human Rights Watch in response to our campaign, will be skipping a scheduled council appearance, postponing his report by several months.

Falk, a 9/11 conspiracy theorist, was scheduled to present his report on Monday, March 18 — on the special day against Israel that is a permanent feature of every session — at the same time as the council's fact-finding mission on Israeli settlements presents its new report. Instead, we now learn that Falk's report has been postponed until June. No reasons were given.

Even though the report's postponement means that a scheduled council debate on Israel's alleged violations -- supposedly a vital instrument of justice on an urgent situation -- will now be deferred by several months, suddenly there is no outrage, no objections of principle, and no questions asked by the council and its defenders.

Apparently, the council's anti-Israel lobby was concerned that Falk’s scheduled diatribe would be drowned out by the competing report on settlements, and so arbitrarily decided to alter the council's schedule in order to space out their propaganda vehicles in separate sessions.

As it happens, this is not the first time that the council has postponed a Falk report, and council debate, for political reasons.

In 2010, it was the Palestinians themselves who demanded, and easily won, a deferral of Falk’s report from the March to June session of that year.

Falk had angered Ramallah by his report’s grant of UN standing to their bitter enemy, Hamas, and by stinging remarks he had made about the PA and its leader, Mahmoud Abbas.

Here’s what US diplomats reported, as revealed by Wikileaks:

[Palestinian deputy ambassador] Zuhairi was visibly upset by [Falk's] reference to Hamas in his draft report. In para 8, Falk states that UNGA resolution 64/10 calls on Hamas -- vice the PA -- to undertake investigations. Zuhairi argued that he had too often corrected Falk's many errors and that this latest misguided effort by Falk had gone too far. Zuhairi said he might use the February 18 HRC organizational meeting to seek to block Falk's report from being presented to the HRC on the grounds that Falk overstepped his mandate, had addressed issues outside his brief, and had failed to appropriately recognize a UNGA resolution (not to mention the legitimate authority of the PA).

Sure enough, the U.N. obeisantly blocked Falk’s report until he was forced to change it -- and postponed the surrounding debate -- in deference not to any human rights concern, but to the dictates of the PLO's political agenda.

Does it matter if the U.N. Human Rights Council postpones a debate on Israel’s alleged violations?

In truth, from the standpoint of genuine human rights, it matters not a whit.

In truth, it matters not a whit that the council postponed last week's review session on Israel, nor the Falk report that had been scheduled for March 18th.

In truth, the council's so-called debates on Israel have all the due process of a Stalinist show trial, where the verdict is delivered in advance, and rapists and murderers parade as prosecutors of justice.

The council's double standard when it comes to deferring reports and sessions is just one more example of the U.N. Human Rights Council's pathological prejudice against Israel, which undermines its credibility and casts a shadow upon the reputation of the world body as a whole.