At issue is a mechanisms of the UN Human Rights Council known as the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), where diplomats from other states make comments and recommendations intended to improve the human rights record of the country under review. Israel is fed up with the disproportionate scrutiny that it receives and has notified the UN Human Rights Council that it will not be showing up for its UPR.
The New York Times, however, insists that though there are problems with the UNHRC, during the last few years things have improved:
One cannot help but notice that consistent with this being an unusually short editorial, the examples of the successes of the UNHRC seem unusually hard to come by.
But its record, including naming human rights rapporteurs for Iran and Sudan and supporting gay and lesbian rights, has improved since President Obama, reversing policy of the George W. Bush administration, had the United States join the council in 2009.
Thus the New York Times finds itself reduced to crediting the UNHRC with naming a rapporteur for Iran while in fact Iran has refused the rapporteur entry into the country. Similarly, its not clear how impressed we should be with a human rights rapporteur being appointed for Sudan, when just this past July, UN Watch noted that Sudan's Al-Bashir, who has been indicted for Genocide, was nominated for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council.
So its not surprising to see that the New York Times ties itself into knots, first admitting the singularly intense scrutiny Israel suffers in the UNHRC:
More than half of the resolutions passed by the council since it started work in 2006 have focused on Israel and its treatment of Palestinians, and Israel is the only country that is a standing item on the agenda for the council’s biannual meetings.and then turning completely around and having the gall to claim:
By opting out, Israel shows not only an unwillingness to undergo the same scrutiny as all other countries, but it deprives itself of an opportunity to defend against abuse charges. [emphasis added]In addition, recall that over a dozen separate refutations to the Goldstone came out, yet those rebuttals were never responded to, let alone acknowledged. Israel has done nothing but defend itself, with nothing to show for it.
This sloppy editorial amounts to little more than a knee-jerk reaction by the New York Times to both defend the UN Human Rights Council, whose admitted biases will become that much more clear with Israel's refusal to play ball, -- while being consistent in its blind attacks on Israel.
In this case, we should be thankful to the New York Times, whose confused editorial highlights the failures of the UN Human Rights Council.
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