FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Nikki Haley: Damn the UNHRC and the Rest of You Too

On Tuesday, June 19, our UN Ambassador Nikki Haley announced US withdrawal from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) now meeting in Geneva. The UNHRC is stacked with human rights abusers including Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, and, till now, the US itself, but this is still an ugly gesture, like refusing to accept the jurisdiction of the ICC, ditching the Paris Climate Accords, and shredding the Iran Nuclear Deal.

Who gives a damn what the world thinks of us? We are good! As Hillary Clinton said at the last Democratic National Convention, “America is great because it’s good.” What could better evidence that than our 1000 or so military bases, our unparalleled arsenal, and however many wars we’re fighting, depending on how you count? Most readers would probably have to stop and decide how to count before they could settle on a number. How dare anyone deny that America is good?

George W. Bush boycotted the UNHRC for three years, but Obama returned to the fold, and Hillary announced that we were back “to set a new agenda, based on three principles,” the second of which was: “The Council must apply a single standard to all countries…It cannot continue to single out and devote disproportionate attention to any one country,” meaning Israel.

At the close of its first session, on June 30, 2006, the UNHRC voted to establish a standing “Agenda Item 7: Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories” to be debated every time it convenes—three times a year. It’s since passed over 70 resolutions censuring Israel, including 5 passed at its March meeting earlier this year. Nikki Haley then scolded the Council for being “foolish and unworthy of its name.”

“Agenda Item 7” hasn’t been debated in the current session yet, but more censure of Israel is no doubt in the works, given Israel’s latest massacres in Gaza. In 2016, the US and other Western states walked out during the “Agenda Item 7” debate, and the delirious Jerusalem Post then screeched that “35 countries attacked Israeli human rights abuses against the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.” Imagine that! Attacking Israeli human rights abuses. Israel is great because it’s good! It even has nuclear weapons and everybody knows it, especially Iran.

This week Israeli Defense Minister Avidor Lieberman called for Israel to withdraw from the UNHRC even though it’s not a member. He seems to think that the US and Israeli states are one. America and Israel are good!

Most folks have never even heard of the UNHRC, so, just for context:

The UNHRC is composed of 47 members elected to three year terms within five geographic groups: Africa, Central America and Caribbean, Asia-Pacific, Eastern Europe, and Western European and Other States including the US and Australia. The seats are rarely contested; nations from the various groups just swap votes and take turns. Only the Asia Pacific seat was contested this year.

UNHRC resolutions are neither legally binding nor enforceable, so it’s just a forum, but occasionally it makes news. This year the UNHRC story in the headlines has been that the US might quit the Council over its “anti-Israel bias”—as it now has— before its three-year term expires in 2019. The UK’s made a few headlines too by threatening to leave if the Council doesn’t overcome its “anti-Israel bias” within the next six months. The UK’s term expires in 2019 too.

The UN General Assembly’s favorite sport

Last week, before threatening US withdrawal, Nikki Haley raged about the UN General Assembly’s latest overwhelming vote condemning Israel’s “excessive use of force” and calling for protection of Palestinians in Gaza: “What makes Gaza different for some is that attacking Israel is their favorite political sport. That’s why we’re here today. The nature of this resolution clearly demonstrates that politics is driving the day.”

Politics! Imagine that. Politics are just a sordid process staining the purity of human rights respected and protected by the US in its global war on the planet and the people. Why not withdraw from the General Assembly? The US seat is secure on the Security Council, the only UN body whose resolutions are legally binding and enforceable. Our Ambassador vetoes any Security Council resolutions criticizing Israel or calling for peacekeepers to protect Gazans, but the US keeps getting beaten up, along with Israel, in all these toothless UN expressions of public opinion.

Donald Trump has suggested bombing the UN for violating our national sovereignty, but it’s right next to his property, so he may just have it collapsed like Building 7.

Sneaky secret ballots

At the end of June, the US suffered another blow to its moral authority when Pierre Prosper, its candidate for the UN Human Rights Committee, was defeated on a secret ballot. The Human Rights Committee is 18 internationally recognized human rights experts tasked solely with monitoring and commenting on compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. As a former ICTR Prosecutor and US War Crimes Ambassador, Pierre Prosper was tasked with canonizing Rwandan military dictator Paul Kagame by making sure that only Hutus, not Tutsis, were prosecuted for the Rwandan massacres of 1990-1994. Israel and Rwanda then formed a deep bond based on victim’s license to invade the neighbors and otherwise do as they pleased.

There’s some speculation that the US may be using its outrage about the UNHRC’s tri-annual censure of Israel as an excuse to withdraw and thereby dodge censure of itself for tearing migrant parents and children apart at the US/Mexican border. Or to avoid debate about the staggering report on extreme poverty in the US that the UN Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights will present on Thursday. Who knows? I can’t read Donald Trump, John Bolton, or Nikki Haley’s mind, but who cares? America is great because it’s good! So good that we might as well take the rest of the world down with us.

More articles by:

Ann Garrison is an independent journalist who also contributes to the San Francisco Bay View, Global Research, the Black Agenda Report and the Black Star News, and produces radio for KPFA-Berkeley and WBAI-New York City.  In 2014, she was awarded the Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza Democracy and Peace Prize by the Womens International Network for Democracy and Peace.  She can be reached at ann@afrobeatradio.com.

September 24, 2018
Jonathan Cook
Hiding in Plain Sight: Why We Cannot See the System Destroying Us
Gary Leupp
All the Good News (Ignored by the Trump-Obsessed Media)
Robert Fisk
I Don’t See How a Palestinian State Can Ever Happen
Barry Brown
Pot as Political Speech
Lara Merling
Puerto Rico’s Colonial Legacy and Its Continuing Economic Troubles
Patrick Cockburn
Iraq’s Prime Ministers Come and Go, But the Stalemate Remains
William Blum
The New Iraq WMD: Russian Interference in US Elections
Julian Vigo
The UK’s Snoopers’ Charter Has Been Dealt a Serious Blow
Joseph Matten
Why Did Global Economic Performance Deteriorate in the 1970s?
Zhivko Illeieff
The Millennial Label: Distinguishing Facts from Fiction
Thomas Hon Wing Polin – Gerry Brown
Xinjiang : The New Great Game
Binoy Kampmark
Casting Kavanaugh: The Trump Supreme Court Drama
Max Wilbert
Blue Angels: the Naked Face of Empire
Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Brad Evans
What Does It Mean to Celebrate International Peace Day?
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will Their Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
Louis Proyect
Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9”: Entertaining Film, Crappy Politics
Ramzy Baroud
Why Israel Demolishes: Khan Al-Ahmar as Representation of Greater Genocide
Ben Dangl
The Zapatistas’ Dignified Rage: Revolutionary Theories and Anticapitalist Dreams of Subcommandante Marcos
Ron Jacobs
Faith, Madness, or Death
Bill Glahn
Crime Comes Knocking
Terry Heaton
Pat Robertson’s Hurricane “Miracle”
Dave Lindorff
In Montgomery County PA, It’s Often a Jury of White People
Louis Yako
From Citizens to Customers: the Corporate Customer Service Culture in America 
William Boardman
The Shame of Dianne Feinstein, the Courage of Christine Blasey Ford 
Ernie Niemi
Logging and Climate Change: Oregon is Appalachia and Timber is Our Coal
Jessicah Pierre
Nike Says “Believe in Something,” But Can It Sacrifice Something, Too?
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
Weaponized Dreams? The Curious Case of Robert Moss
Olivia Alperstein
An Environmental 9/11: the EPA’s Gutting of Methane Regulations
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail