The U.S. Should Give Up Its Seat on the UN Human Rights Council

March 1 2017

As one of the final acts of his presidency, Barack Obama secured Washington a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), most of whose members represent tyrannies and whose main activity is to condemn Israel. Anne Bayefsky argues that the Trump administration should relinquish the seat rather than participate in the charade:

There is a permanent agenda of ten items that governs proceedings at every UNHRC session. One agenda item is devoted to human-rights violations by Israel, and one generic agenda item is for all other 192 UN member states that might be found to “require the Council’s attention.” In classic State Department double-talk, the Obama administration promised that by joining the Council [in 2009], the U.S. could reform its agenda from the inside. The Obama administration tried and predictably failed. But it then justified staying on the Council—despite back-of-the-bus treatment of the Jewish state—as a price worth paying for other people’s human rights. . . .

Staying on the UNHRC means paying for it. A 2016 Council resolution calls for the creation of a blacklist of all companies that are connected to or do business with so-called Israeli settlements “directly or indirectly.” Not surprisingly, the Council has no comparable boycott scheme for the world’s most heinous regimes. . . . .

The current UNHRC session will reaffirm the blacklist initiative, and various other regular absurdities, such as demanding a return of the Golan Heights to “the Syrian motherland” so as better to protect Syrian human rights. In light of the Council’s composition, there is no chance whatsoever of reversing the outcomes. Merely to whine while being outvoted by a majority of states . . . would legitimize the vehicle attacking American corporations for doing business with Israel—and [America’s] fundamental principles.

You have 2 free articles left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at National Review

More about: Barack Obama, Israel & Zionism, U.S. Foreign policy, United Nations

The Proper Jewish Response to the Pittsburgh Massacre

Nov. 21 2018

In the Jewish tradition, it is commonplace to add the words zikhronam li-vrakhah (may their memory be for a blessing) after the names of the departed, but when speaking of those who have been murdered because they were Jews, a different phrase is used: Hashem yikom damam—may God avenge their blood. Meir Soloveichik explains:

The saying reflects the fact that when it comes to mass murderers, Jews do not believe that we must love the sinner while hating the sin; in the face of egregious evil, we will not say the words ascribed to Jesus on the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” We believe that a man who shoots up a synagogue knows well what he does; that a murderer who sheds the blood of helpless elderly men and women knows exactly what he does; that one who brings death to those engaged in celebrating new life knows precisely what he does. To forgive in this context is to absolve; and it is, for Jews, morally unthinkable.

But the mantra for murdered Jews that is Hashem yikom damam bears a deeper message. It is a reminder to us to see the slaughter of eleven Jews in Pennsylvania not only as one terrible, tragic moment in time, but as part of the story of our people, who from the very beginning have had enemies that sought our destruction. There exists an eerie parallel between Amalek, the tribe of desert marauders that assaulted Israel immediately after the Exodus, and the Pittsburgh murderer. The Amalekites are singled out by the Bible from among the enemies of ancient Israel because in their hatred for the chosen people, they attacked the weak, the stragglers, the helpless, those who posed no threat to them in any way.

Similarly, many among the dead in Pittsburgh were elderly or disabled; the murderer smote “all that were enfeebled,” and he “feared not God.” Amalek, for Jewish tradition, embodies evil incarnate in the world; we are commanded to remember Amalek, and the Almighty’s enmity for it, because, as Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik explained, the biblical appellation refers not only to one tribe but also to our enemies throughout the ages who will follow the original Amalek’s example. To say “May God avenge their blood” is to remind all who hear us that there is a war against Amalek from generation to generation—and we believe that, in this war, God is not neutral.

You have 1 free article left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at Commentary

More about: Amalek, Anti-Semitism, Judaism, Religion & Holidays