(April 2, 2015 / JNS)
Last month, the 59th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), the United Nations’ top women’s rights body, passed just one political resolution—one that accuses Israel of mistreating Palestinian women. The goal of the CSW is to “promote gender equality and the empowerment of women” through actionable dialogue. But this singling out of Israel as the aggressor of women’s rights proves the CSW’s is just another arm of the U.N. that uses U.S. taxpayer funds to delegitimize the Jewish State.
The CSW could have passed a resolution condemning Saudi Arabia, where women are legally counted as half of that of a man. Or Yemen, where girls have no right to education and are often married before puberty. Or Somalia, where female genital mutilation is widely practiced. Or Sudan, where domestic violence against women is both legal and common. Or perhaps Iran, where women need their husbands’ consent to work outside of the home. But no, Israel was named as mistreating women, and not even for women in their jurisdiction.
In Israel, Arab and Muslim women are allowed to hold a position in government, vote, and attend school, work, and dress as they please. On the other hand, honor killings and spousal rape are supported by Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist group in control of Gaza that should have been singled out for mistreatment of Palestinian women. Hamas, after all, is the governing body of the Palestinian citizens in Gaza, not Israel. And therefore it is Hamas’ duty to ensure the rights of women, yet Hamas continues to achieve the exact opposite.
During the 59th commission Israel’s representative to the CSW Nelly Shiloh rejected the resolution saying, “This resolution is politically motivated, factually disconnected, and morally flawed. As in previous years, the text before us is cut and pasted with little regard for the facts on the ground. Instead of bringing to light the challenges facing Palestinian women, it gives cover to those who oppress them. Singling out Israel for condemnation, among all the nations of the Middle East – and the nations of the world, is not only unfair. It is absurd.”
While Shiloh must have done her homework, the CSW clearly did not see (or didn’t care to see) the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report of 2014, which proved the exact opposite context from what their resolution suggested. The report, which demonstrated “relative gaps between women and men across four key areas: health, education, economy, and politics” evaluated 142 countries, comparing how women fare around the world. The report shows a vast gap between men and women in the Middle East… everywhere except for Israel, the only country singled out on the CSW report.
Quite logically, the one who should take responsibility for the treatment of Palestinian women is the Palestinian government. As representative Shiloh declared in Arabic, “Change will come when the Palestinian leadership takes responsibility for its own people, and works to facilitate a better future”.
The suffering of women and minorities in the Middle East is a very serious issue; one that should not undermined to satisfy a political agenda of Israel bashing. Of all organizations, it is disappointing that the U.N., which is supposed to promote and advocate for human rights, demonstrates otherwise.
Eliana Rudee is a Fellow with the Salomon Center. She is a Core18 Fellow and a graduate of Scripps College, where she studied International Relations and Jewish Studies. Follow her @ellierudee.