“Judge the poor and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and destitute. Rescue the poor and needy; deliver them out of the hand of the wicked.” (Psalms 82:3-4)
Israel’s ambassador to the UN’s Human Rights Council, Eviatar Manor, spoke passionately before the group earlier this week, ahead of the anticipated release of its report on Israel’s conduct during Operation Protective Edge.
Speaking on the first day of the UNHRC’s 29th session, he accused the council of an unprecedented obsession with Israel which has blinded it to reality.
“Since the UNHRC’s inception in 2006 it has dispatched six fact-finding missions into Israeli human rights violations and issued at least 60 country resolutions against it,” Manor was quoted as saying in The Jerusalem Post. The council “exhibits double morals and is ethically flawed,” he charged.
Manor went on to compare Israel to its neighbors by inference. “Israel does not behead people. We use our heads to create innovation,” he said. “Israel does not cut off [the] hands of people. We use our hands to vote in ballot boxes. Israel does not stone women. We empower women.”
The ambassador issued a warning: “Amos Oz, the well-known Israeli author, says there are degrees of evil, and one who cannot make a distinction ends up serving evil. You have been advised.”
The UNHRC’s report is expected to accuse Israel of war crimes for the 50-day conflict with Hamas that took place last year around this time. In preparation, Israel released its own report on Sunday, which concluded that Israel acted lawfully and in self-defense.
UN High Commissioner of Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said Monday that those who violated human rights against civilians in Gaza should be prosecuted. Speaking to the UNHRC, however, al-Hussein focused on Syria, calling the ongoing civil war “the most mind-numbing humanitarian crisis of our era”. He called on the international community to “collectively bring assistance and protection to the Syrian people.”
Meanwhile, the American ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, assured the US Congress that the Obama administration was committed to fighting the delegitimization of Israel. However, she stopped short of promising to veto a Security Council resolution to establish a State of Palestine, should it come to that.
Power spoke before the House Foreign Relations Committee, responding to comments by committee chairman Ed Royce (R-CA), in which he questioned Washington’s shifting stance on Israel.
Royce called it “disturbing” that the Obama administration “seems on the brink of discarding decades of bipartisan support of Israel against the UN onslaught.”
Regarding a possible Security Council vote to impose a two-state solution on Israel, Power said it was “perilous to make blanket statements” regarding hypothetical situations, but the US would oppose any resolution which it deemed to undermine Israel’s security.
Power defended the current administration’s record on Israel at the UN, saying, “Day in and day out, we push back against efforts to delegitimize Israel at the UN, and fight for its right to be treated like any other nation.”