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Change Is Needed at the United Nations

July 17, 2020

B’nai Brith Canada

TORONTO – B’nai Brith Canada is calling for change at the United Nations in response to its systemic antisemitism and anti-Israel bias.

Recent documents by the United Nations Human Rights Council and its Special Rapporteur ‘on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967’ have once again called into question its credibility and legitimacy when it comes to addressing human rights priorities. Both the current Rapporteur, Canada’s Michael Lynk, and his predecessor, Richard Falk, have misused this body to repeatedly level unfounded attacks against the State of Israel while ignoring serious human rights abuses globally.

A new analysis by David Matas, B’nai Brith’s Senior Honorary Counsel and a human-rights and international law expert, exposes the Council’s deficiencies when it obsessively focuses on Israel.

The Council’s latest attack on Israel, including the passage of several unwarranted and unbalanced resolutions, remains disingenuous and is a setback to the global human rights system. The Council has recently focused on opposition to a theoretical ‘annexation’ plan which has not been announced or implemented. Issuing rebukes to hypothetical actions does nothing but incite unwarranted anger towards Israel and members of the Jewish community, and is beneath the dignity of a human rights body that should be a leader in the global community – not a follower of those who seek to punish Israel.

Matas notes that publishing papers and commentaries with no facts or resources behind them amounts to mere “guess work” – something unwelcome and injurious to international law, as well as a double standard that singles out the world’s only Jewish state for uniquely harsh treatment.

The Human Rights Council amplifies antisemitic injustices instead of objectively considering the facts. The unbalanced obsession with Israel is clear: The same UN body did not appoint a permanent rapporteur in response to the clear-cut case of Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014. Neither was such a role established to deal with the atrocities carried out by Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, who attacked his own population with chemical weapons.

Furthermore, no special rapporteur action has been established to investigate the Chinese regime’s forced “re-education” of the Uyghur Muslim minority that China has placed in concentration camps. These are just a few of the many human rights abuses that have gone unaddressed by this body, even while it obsesses over hypothetical rumors regarding Israel.

If the only apparent effect of a body is to condemn one country while ignoring the very atrocities it was designed to stop, that body’s purpose is put in question. And if the only country a body chooses to apply a unique standard to happens to be the world’s only Jewish country, a democratic state respecting human rights and applying the rule of law, then that body is perpetuating systemic antisemitism.

“Israel is entitled to the same rights, privileges, and treatment as any other UN Member State,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “Following Mr. Matas’ conclusions, we believe that the most effective way to rectify systemic anti-Israel bias at the UN is an end to those parts of an institution that systematically perpetuate this problem.”

As Mr. Matas has asserted, “the recent UN documents are eloquent statements – not of Israeli wrongdoing, but rather of why the rapporteur’s mandate should end.”

B’nai Brith maintains its support for a peaceful final status agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

Copies of David Matas’ full analysis are available upon request.