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

 

What Egypt’s Withdrawal from the “Arab NATO” Signifies for U.S. Strategy

A few weeks ago, Egypt quietly announced its withdrawal from the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA), a coalition—which also includes Jordan, the Gulf states, and the U.S.—founded at President Trump’s urging to serve as an “Arab NATO” that could work to contain Iran. Jonathan Ariel notes three major factors that most likely contributed to Egyptian President Sisi’s abandonment of MESA: his distrust of Donald Trump (and concern that Trump might lose the 2020 election) and of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman; Cairo’s perception that Iran does not pose a major threat to its security; and the current situation in Gaza:

Gaza . . . is ruled by Hamas, defined by its covenant as “one of the wings of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine.” Sisi has ruthlessly persecuted the Brotherhood in Egypt. [But] Egypt, despite its dependence on Saudi largesse, has continued to maintain its ties with Qatar, which is under Saudi blockade over its unwillingness to toe the Saudi line regarding Iran. . . . Qatar is also supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood, . . . and of course Hamas.

[Qatar’s ruler] Sheikh Tamim is one of the key “go-to guys” when the situation in Gaza gets out of hand. Qatar has provided the cash that keeps Hamas solvent, and therefore at least somewhat restrained. . . . In return, Hamas listens to Qatar, which does not want it to help the Islamic State-affiliated factions involved in an armed insurrection against Egyptian forces in northern Sinai. Egypt’s military is having a hard enough time coping with the insurgency as it is. The last thing it needs is for Hamas to be given a green light to cooperate with Islamic State forces in Sinai. . . .

Over the past decade, ever since Benjamin Netanyahu returned to power, Israel has also been gradually placing more and more chips in its still covert but growing alliance with Saudi Arabia. Egypt’s decision to pull out of MESA should give it cause to reconsider. Without Egypt, MESA has zero viability unless it is to include either U.S. forces or Israeli ones. [But] one’s chances of winning the lottery seem infinitely higher than those of MESA’s including the IDF. . . . Given that Egypt, the Arab world’s biggest and militarily most powerful state and its traditional leader, has clearly indicated its lack of confidence in the Saudi leadership, Israel should urgently reexamine its strategy in this regard.

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 BESA Center

More about: Egypt, Gaza Strip, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, U.S. Foreign policy