The UN’s Human-Rights Day Is Nothing to Celebrate

Dec. 11 2018

Yesterday was the 70th anniversary of the 1948 signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Genocide Conventions, a date celebrated by the UN as “Human-Rights Day.” As Gerald Steinberg notes, the United Nations—which last week failed to pass a resolution condemning Hamas—has an abysmal record when it comes to protecting human rights, despite its “self-congratulatory rhetoric.”

Ignoring most of the victims [of genuine persecution] around the world, the agenda of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva continues to be controlled by some of the worst violators, including Cuba, Russia, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia (a major offender long before the murder of Jamal Khashoggi), Egypt, and China. The member-states and UN officials they appoint routinely exploit the rhetoric of international law to deflect attention from their own behavior, and obsessively target the Jewish state. Syrian and Iranian diplomats take the floor to make poisonous accusations against Israel, while their governments make genocidal threats that turn the 1948 Universal Declaration into a mockery.

This year, the council voted again to conduct a pseudo-investigation of Israel, this time over the claims of excessive force and war crimes during the Hamas-orchestrated violent “Grand Return March” incidents along the Gaza border with Israel. Like the infamous, and eventually discredited, Goldstone Report [accusing Israel of fictitious war crimes in its 2008-2009 conflict with Hamas], the one-sided results of this investigation were decided before the commission members were named. . . .

[To make things worse], powerful non-governmental organizations (NGOs) claiming to promote human rights, such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, promote [instead] the agendas of the dictatorships they are ostensibly monitoring. At the meetings, these NGOs routinely take the floor to repeat unsupported claims and denounce democracies, reinforcing the attacks against Israel with particular relish.

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Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Amnesty International, Goldstone Report, Hamas, Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, Israel & Zionism, United Nations

Reforms to Israel’s Judiciary Must Be Carefully Calibrated

The central topic of debate in Israel now is the new coalition government’s proposed reforms of the nation’s judiciary and unwritten constitution. Peter Berkowitz agrees that reform is necessary, but that “the proper scope and pace of reform, however, are open to debate and must be carefully calibrated.”

In particular, Berkowitz argues,

to preserve political cohesiveness, substantial changes to the structure of the Israeli regime must earn support that extends beyond these partisan divisions.

In a deft analysis of the conservative spirit in Israel, bestselling author Micah Goodman warns in the Hebrew language newspaper Makor Rishon that unintended consequences flowing from the constitutional counterrevolution are likely to intensify political instability. When a center-left coalition returns to power, Goodman points out, it may well repeal through a simple majority vote the major changes Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition seeks to enact. Or it may use the legislature’s expanded powers, say, to ram through laws that impair the religious liberty of the ultra-Orthodox. Either way, in a torn nation, constitutional counterrevolution amplifies division.

Conservatives make a compelling case that balance must be restored to the separation of powers in Israel. A prudent concern for the need to harmonize Israel’s free, democratic, and Jewish character counsels deliberation in the pursuit of necessary constitutional reform.

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Read more at RealClearPolitics

More about: Israel & Zionism, Israeli Judicial Reform