There’s a reason that France, Russia, China and every other world power invests time, money and political capital to campaign for a seat at the U.N. Human Rights Council: to gain influence in a consequential world body.
Like it or not, the UNHRC’s decisions, translated into every language, influence the hearts and minds of hundreds of millions of people around the globe.
If the U.S. wants to be a winner, it would be foolish to abandon the coveted 3-year term that it just won a few months ago. When the U.S. left from 2006 to 2009, nothing got better; the UNHRC only got worse, and it began sending its anti-Israel reports to the International Criminal Court.
Here’s what UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer said before the U.S. Congress in testimony earlier this month:
I do want to make one point about the Human Rights Council. We at UN Watch are the strongest critic of the Human Rights Council. I have regrettably spent 13 years there. I work across the street—and so I know its dangers very well.
I would say that in this instance, the Human Rights Council is not going away. And from 2006 to 2009, the U.S. left. Although this did signal its displeasure with the body, and denied it a certain form of legitimacy, it continued to do its negative work and created The Goldstone Report. It feeds into the ICC.
I actually believe that we should have a Moynihan, I would like to have a Patrick Moynihan type of figure who would come—not like Ambassador Power who cited Moynihan when she came before the Congress, but didn’t always act like him.
But to have someone who would come to the Human Rights Council, pick up the phone to the High Commissioner and say if you do X,Y or Z, you’re in a lot of trouble, someone who would speak out for Human Rights.
I don’t think that kind of presence would give one iota of legitimacy. And the Obama administration did become a cheerleader of the Council. That was wrong.
But someone who would come to the Council and take the floor as Moynihan did in the Zionism is Racism debate, would actually be a contribution to human rights and to combating anti-Israel bias. So I would like to see the new administration send an ambassador of that nature. Thank you.