America’s Moral Cowardice at the UN

In the past, such American statesman as Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Jeane Kirkpatrick have used their role as ambassadors to the United Nations to speak the truth about bloodthirsty tyrants, especially when those tyrants made the organization a platform for condemning democracies like the U.S. and Israel. By contrast, America’s current UN Ambassador, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, used a speech to the General Assembly last month to declare that “slavery is the original sin of America. It’s weaved white supremacy and black inferiority into our founding documents and principles.” Noah Rothman writes:

Thomas-Greenfield is presently focused on getting the U.S. back into the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), an organization from which the U.S. withdrew in 2018—and for good reason. The UNHRC is an organization plagued by corruption. It elevates miscreants like China, Algeria, Congo, Cuba, Pakistan, Venezuela, Russia, and Qatar to membership. It maintains a permanent agenda item—Item Seven—dedicated to the criticism of Israel. It elects people like Richard Falk, a 9/11 conspiracy theorist and obsequious apologist for the terror group Hamas, to oversee the situation in the Palestinian territories.

And, of course, the UNHRC appears to share Thomas-Greenfield’s assessment of America’s terribly unimpressive record when it comes to the promotion of racial comity and minority rights. . . . The death of George Floyd proved an occasion for Russia’s envoy to denounce the “calamitous state of human rights” in the U.S., and it allowed China’s representative the chance to denounce America’s “chronic and deep-rooted racial discrimination.”

The tortured effort to equate racial tensions, lingering personal bigotries, and even the illegal (and prosecutable) mishandling of minorities by police with, for example, the resettlement of an entire ethnic minority into reeducation and labor camps requires you to sacrifice even the most elementary powers of discernment. It isn’t enlightened—just the opposite. It is bafflingly stubborn and deliberately dense. Worst of all, it . . . leads its advocates all but to defend the actions of genocidal states. After all, who are we to judge?

If our objective is the advancement and preservation of human rights abroad, this sort of behavior only makes that goal harder to achieve.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Joseph Biden, UNHRC, United Nations

Recognizing a Palestinian State Won’t Help Palestinians, or Even Make Palestinian Statehood More Likely

While Shira Efron and Michael Koplow are more sanguine about the possibility of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and more critical of Israel’s policies in the West Bank, than I am, I found much worth considering in their recent article on the condition of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Particularly perceptive are their comments on the drive to grant diplomatic recognition to a fictive Palestinian state, a step taken by nine countries in the past few months, and almost as many in total as recognize Israel.

Efron and Koplow argue that this move isn’t a mere empty gesture, but one that would actually make things worse, while providing “no tangible benefits for Palestinians.”

In areas under its direct control—Areas A and B of the West Bank, comprising 40 percent of the territory—the PA struggles severely to provide services, livelihoods, and dignity to inhabitants. This is only partly due to its budgetary woes; it has also never established a properly functioning West Bank economy. President Mahmoud Abbas, who will turn ninety next year, administers the PA almost exclusively by executive decrees, with little transparency or oversight. Security is a particular problem, as militants from different factions now openly defy the underfunded and undermotivated PA security forces in cities such as Jenin, Nablus, and Tulkarm.

Turning the Palestinian Authority (PA) from a transitional authority into a permanent state with the stroke of a pen will not make [its] litany of problems go away. The risk that the state of Palestine would become a failed state is very real given the PA’s dysfunctional, insolvent status and its dearth of public legitimacy. Further declines in its ability to provide social services and maintain law and order could yield a situation in which warlords and gangs become de-facto rulers in some areas of the West Bank.

Otherwise, any steps toward realizing two states will be fanciful, built atop a crumbling foundation—and likely to help turn the West Bank into a third front in the current war.

Read more at Foreign Affairs

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian statehood