UN: A Safe House for Serial Human Rights Abusers

UN: A Safe House for Serial Human Rights Abusers

Rabbi Abraham Cooper
Associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and its Museum of Tolerance

"With death toll rising to 117 and thousands of refugees fleeing to neighboring Uzbekistan, the worsening situation in Kyrgyzstan also alarmed UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who said the United Nations was urgently assessing humanitarian aid needs resulting from the clashes."
- Voice of America June 14th 2010

"The hatred felt by the state of Israel against the Palestinians is such that they would not hesitate to send the one and a half million men, women and children of that country to the crematoria where millions of Jews of all ages were exterminated by the Nazis...It would seem that the Fuehrer's (Nazi leader Adolf Hitler's) swastika is today Israel's banner."
- Former Cuban President Fidel Castro's reflections on Israel, released to diplomats and the media in Geneva in conjunction with the UN Human Rights Council debate on the Gaza Flotilla. Cuba is a member of the UN Human Rights Council.

"[... Israel] is a state that is built on hatred, discrimination, oppression and a paranoid feeling of superiority. Hatred is widespread, taught to even small children, who are taught to use weapons, and who are taught to sign missiles that will be fired at Arabs.

Let me quote a song that a group of children on a school bus in Israel sing merrily as they go to school. And I quote "With my teeth I will rip your flesh. With my mouth I will suck your blood."

The Israeli systematic violations of human rights and illegitimate occupation has destabilized the whole region, bringing it to the brink of war on so many occasions. We appeal to the international community to put an end to the Israeli impunity and to their extreme, extremely brutal policies inside and outside occupied Arab territories..." - First Secretary Rania Al Rifaiy, Syrian Arab Republic Speech UN Human Rights Council, June 8th, 2010

Here are some other quotes that followed the Gaza Flotilla incident that led to nine deaths and scores of injuries on both sides:

Turkey--the prime mover in spawning the high seas confrontation in the first place accused Israel of "piracy, banditry, barbarism and state terrorism". Italy's Foreign Undersecretary Stefania Craxi called it "the massacre of Gaza." According to The Wall Street Journal, the president of Bosnia said Israel's Gaza blockade was akin to the 1992-1996 siege of Sarajevo, during which at least 10,000 died! And The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists labeled Israel's action "an open attack on civil society" and that it reflected the "true face of barbarism."

It's business-as-usual at the United Nations. In Kyrgyzstan, news reports tell of a mass exodus of 100,000(!) Uzbeks fleeing across the border to Uzbekistan, over 100 deaths and that many of the estimated 1,000 Uzbeks injured by ethnic rioting are too fearful to even attempt to go to hospitals for treatment. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon's response correctly addresses the need to assess humanitarian needs in this mushrooming human disaster. No name-calling, no calls for international investigations into "crimes against humanity", no urgent Security Council discussions questioning the right of Russia to move troops in...

Why the incredible double standard in word and deed? Because, nations like Russia, Cuba, Syria, Iran, China, along with the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Conference, have transformed the United Nations into a safe house for serial human rights abusers as they shield themselves and allies from the heat of red-hot rhetoric and the glare of unwanted attention and censure.

In this cynical game, Israel is the odd man out.

It is deeply distressing that the United States, historically Israel's key friend and protector from the United Nations' attacks is inexorably backing away from that role. By offering only tepid support for Israel's investigation of the Flotilla incident, the Obama Administration does little to staunch the like's of Castro's anti-Semitic rhetoric and Israel-bashing inside the UN and globally. In the meantime, 100,000 displaced Uzbeks can only pray someone eventually stands up for their rights.

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