newsIsrael-Palestinian Conflict

UN Human Rights Council ‘promotes Jew-hatred, Hamas, atrocity denial’

The Geneva-based agency is preparing anti-Israel resolutions to be approved next week.

The entrance to the U.N. headquarters in Geneva, home to the Human Rights Council, June 20, 2017. Photo by Giorgio Caracciolo/Shutterstock
The entrance to the U.N. headquarters in Geneva, home to the Human Rights Council, June 20, 2017. Photo by Giorgio Caracciolo/Shutterstock

The Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) began two days of deliberations on Israel on Tuesday in what will almost certainly culminate in a series of condemnatory, albeit non-binding, resolutions.

“The world is upside down,” said Anne Herzberg, legal adviser at the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor organization, who addressed the council on Tuesday. “Israel just experienced its most horrific massacre and instead of being provided with comfort and support for the victims, we are experiencing an explosion of antisemitism and support for Hamas.

“The U.N. Human Rights Council is promoting antisemitism, pro-Hamas propaganda and engaging in atrocity denial,” Herzberg added.

The council convenes three times a year, in March, June and September, with each session organized around 10 agenda items, all but one phrased in general terms.

The perennial Agenda Item 7, titled the “Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories,” is the only country-specific item. It mandates discussion of Israel at every session and has turned these meetings into displays of anti-Israel bias.

This week, the Human Rights Council will discuss four reports on Israel issued by the U.N. and draft three to five resolutions that should pass next week.

The issues to be discussed include Israel’s activity in the Golan Heights as well as its civilian presence in Judea and Samaria. The council will also address a report submitted by Francesca Albanese, the U.N. “special rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territories,” and another general report submitted by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Albanese‘s report claims that she identified “reasonable grounds to believe that the threshold indicating the commission of …acts of genocide against Palestinians in Gaza has been met.”

Herzberg said the council’s resolutions could have serious implications.

“In 2016, the HRC passed Resolution 31/36 which led to the creation in 2020 of the settlement blacklist,” she said, referring to a U.N. blacklist sanctioning companies suspected of operating in areas over the 1949 Armistice lines.

The U.N. Human Rights Council in early 2020 published a list of 112 companies connected to Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria. The list included 94 companies based in Israel and 18 headquartered in six other countries. Among some recognizable U.S. companies were TripAdvisor, Airbnb, Expedia, General Mills and Motorola Solutions.

“Every year, the list is updated to include more companies which the U.N. advises boycotting,” Herzberg added.

Measures directly resulting from past UNHRC resolutions include the establishment of fact-finding missions and commissions of inquiry and calls for arms embargoes on Israel.

A voice to the hostages

While dozens of anti-Israel NGOs participate in the debate including Addameer, which supports Palestinian prisoners convicted of security offenses, and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, which is involved in anti-Israel lawfare, Jerusalem is sparsely represented.

Therefore, Herzberg decided to allocate one of her speaking spots to Ella Ben-Ami, whose father, Ohad, is one of 134 Israeli captives being held captive by Hamas in Gaza.

“The council has been very dismissive of the hostages. They barely mentioned them. We thought it was essential to give a voice to a relative of a hostage, so that she could address them directly and make her voice heard,” Herzberg said.

On Oct. 7, Hamas terrorists abducted Ben-Ami’s parents from Kibbutz Be’eri. While her mother, Raz, was released on Nov. 29 as part of a week-long ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, Ohad remains in captivity nearly six months after the terrorist assault on Israel.

Herzberg may have the opportunity to take part in a debate with Albanese and is planning to expose her for promoting antisemitism.

“She is supposed to be speaking at three events over the next couple of days. All of them are being hosted by NGOs that were designated by Israel as PFLP terrorist organizations,” Herzberg said.

In 2021, Israel designated six Palestinian NGOs as terrorist groups for their close ties with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP): Addameer, al-Haq, Defense for Children Palestine, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, Bisan Center for Research and Development, and the Union of Palestinian Women Committees.

Herzberg explained that in its purported effort to uphold human rights and the laws of armed conflict, the international community has emboldened Hamas and other terrorist groups while twisting those rules in their favor.

“[Gaza City’s] Shifa Hospital is a perfect example of this. Hundreds of Hamas terrorists turned the hospital into what, by law, would be referred to as a military objective, making it legitimate for Israel to strike the hospital and engage in battle,” she said.

At Shifa Hospital, as part of an IDF operation which has been going on for more than a week and is expected to conclude in the coming days, 170 Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists have been killed in firefights in and around the compound and hundreds more have been captured. A large amount of weapons has been confiscated, much of which was hidden among medical equipment, patients and displaced civilians.

“But the condemnation is solely reserved for Israel. If one was really promoting human rights, they would be screaming to the hills against Hamas for taking over these hospitals and endangering patients,” Herzberg said.

“U.N. officials are issuing repeated condemnations of Israel on social media while no one says anything about Hamas. No one said anything for the past 17 years allowing Hamas to turn Gaza into a terror fortress,” she said.

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