candid—even bold assessments—of Israel and the United Nations to Orange County and to the Merage JCC on December 3.
Ambassador Prosor will share the ins and outs of Israel’s contentious relationship with the UN. He’ll present evidence of structural and philosophical biases. As we, individually and collectively, gain a better understanding of those that support—and those that do not—Israel, we should remind ourselves of the basics of this global operative: United Nations 101, if you will.
The United Nations and its Human Rights Council
The name “United Nations,” coined by U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt
during Second World War. The UN Charter defines the goals and activities of the UN as:
- Maintaining international peace and security
- Protecting human rights
- Delivering humanitarian aid
- Promoting sustainable development
- Upholding international law
The term “human rights” was mentioned seven times in the UN’s founding charter, cementing the
protection of human rights a key purpose and guiding principle of the UN.
The main organs of the UN are the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council, the International Court of Justice, and the UN Secretariat. All were established in 1945 when the UN was founded. The oversight of human rights initiatives, specifically the United Nations Human Rights Council, falls under the role of the General Assembly. The Assembly is the
representative arm of the UN, one-vote-per-member state.
According to their website, the United Nations Human Rights Council “members are elected to the Council to uphold the highest
standards in the promotion and protection of human rights.”
United Nation’s Human Rights Council has been given the charge to promote and protect human rights around the globe. Representing the UN’s 193 member states, the Human Rights Council consists of 47 member states, by secret ballot by the majority of the members of the General Assembly of the United Nations. Seats are distributed by regions:
African (13 seats)
Asia-Pacific (13 seats)
Eastern European (6 seats)
Latin American and Caribbean (8 seats)
Western European and “other” (7 seats) – this includes the United States
Is Israel singled out?
The UN Human Rights Council has adopted 135 country-specific resolutions against human rights violations – 68 targeting Israel. Nearly half of the Council’s work condemns Israel.
In the past decade, more than 300,000 civilians have been killed in Sudan, 55,000 children killed in Syria and more than 3,000 people executed in Iran, yet Israel has received more condemnation than those countries combined.
Why is Israel singled out?
To understand the difference between legitimate criticism of Israel and the anti-Semitic demonization of it, there is no clearer marker than Agenda Item Seven. Agenda Item Seven mandates that the UN Human Rights Council debate Israeli human rights abuses against the Palestinians during each of its sessions. The last
sentence bears repeating: during each of its sessions the UN Human Rights Council is
mandated (required!) to discuss Israel’s human rights. All other human rights around the world are debated under Agenda Item Four. Only Israel has an entire agenda item of its own.
How does the U.S. respond to Agenda Item Seven?
The U.S. has been on record as
strongly and unequivocally opposing the existence of the UN Human Rights Council’s Agenda Item Seven. According to the State Department, “actions in the Council are yet another reminder of that body’s long-standing bias against Israel. No other nation has an entire agenda item dedicated to it at the Council. The continued existence of this agenda item is among the largest threats to the credibility of the Council.”
In 2017, the United States voted against every resolution put forth under this agenda item, suggesting, “It does not serve the interests of the Council to single out one country in an unbalanced matter.”
Not surprisingly, Israel applauds the U.S.’s efforts to draw attention to the inequitable biases. Somewhat brashly, Ambassador Prosor has said, “The U.N. can no longer remain hostile, opaque and unaccountable and expect to get a star-spangled paycheck. Churchill defined an appeaser as one who feeds a crocodile,
hoping it will eat him last. I hope Ambassador Haley’s words send the message—to Turtle Bay and Capitol Hill—that feeding time is over.”
Ambassador Ron Prosor
An Inside Look at the UN: Israel’s Seat at the International Table
Co-sponsored by Jewish Federation & Family Services Orange County
WHEN: Sunday, December 3, at 6:00 p.m.
WHERE: Merage JCC
Sponsored by The Roslyn & Joseph Baim Family Foundation
and Barbara and Joseph Baim
As a leading authority on foreign policy in Israel and the Middle East, Ambassador Prosor draws from his experience at the United Nations to offer audiences a unique vantage point for understanding global politics and economic affairs. He addresses the enormous political, military, economic and cultural challenges Israel faces on the front lines of both the international and national arenas, and takes us on a fascinating journey behind the scenes of international policy making.
Ambassador Ron Prosor is a Distinguished Fellow at the Hudson Institute. Prior he served as Israel’s 16th Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 2011 – 2015.
In his more than two decades with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in posts in Washington, London and Bonn, Ambassador Prosor carved out an international reputation as one of Israel’s most distinguished diplomats.
As an officer in the Artillery Division of the IDF, Ambassador Prosor attained the rank of Major and completed the IDF Battalion Commanders course. He holds a Master’s degree in Political Science from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
A prolific writer and commentator, Ambassador Prosor’s op-eds have appeared in numerous publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Telegraph, Ha’aretz, and The Jerusalem Post. He has also made regular appearances in international media outlets including CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, BBC and many others.