How an Israeli woman stands up to biased UN Human Rights Council

Anne Herzberg, the legal counsel for NGO Monitor, was censured by the biased anti-Israel UN body for calling out its anti-Semitic language.

By: Steve Leibowitz, World Israel News

In response to her criticizing the apparent use of anti-Semitic propaganda by a UN official, NGO Monitor Legal Advisor Anne Herzberg was called to order for violating the “sense of respect” during Friday’s 37th session of the UN Human Rights Council, held in Geneva.

Herzberg was addressing language in a report by “UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967” Michael Lynk, which characterized Israel as greedy. Lynk referred to Israel and its role in the Arab-Israeli conflict as “avaricious,” “rapacious,” and “pathological” – unprecedented language that is well beyond standard UN condemnations of Israel. NGO Monitor will be filing a formal complaint against Lynk for the exceptional language in his report.

In addition to an oral statement before the Council, NGO Monitor published a report describing Lynk as unqualified for his position as Special Rapporteur. According to NGO Monitor, Lynk has a history of working with terror-linked and virulently anti-Israel non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in violation of his mandate. The Canadian labor law professor also admitted that he lacks experience in international law, and his 2016 appointment was protested by the Canadian government.

“Special Rapporteur Lynk’s latest rhetoric is a stark reminder that he is unqualified for his role,” stated Herzberg. “It is completely inappropriate for a UN official charged with assessing human rights to behave in such a partisan manner and to use this kind of inflammatory language. We will continue to monitor and expose the use of anti-Semitic language in UN reports as well as Lynk’s close partnerships with and reliance on radical anti-Israel groups that discredit his work. As long as he continues in his position, he compromises the legitimacy of the entire UN.”

Inaccurate, unverified, and false reporting

Herzberg told World Israel News (WIN), “There must be a basic change in the UNHRC charter, which mandates them to single out Israel for condemnation. It brings shame and embarrassment to the UN. They produce about a dozen anti-Israel reports annually, all flawed by inaccurate, unverified and false reporting.”

Herzberg also points out the UNHRC’s lack of transparency. March is the “bash Israel session,” said Herzberg adding, “Their ‘shtik’ this time was the inclusion of anti-Semitic language. I pointed it out and they chastised me for ‘being disrespectful.’ I consider their criticism to be a badge of honor. My criticism hit home.”

Turning to the adoption of five new anti-Israel resolutions, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley slammed the Human Rights Council. “They are foolish. When the Human Rights Council treats Israel worse than North Korea, Iran, and Syria, it is the Council itself that is foolish and unworthy of its name,” Haley said in the statement, continuing, “It is time for the countries who know better to demand changes. Many countries agree that the Council’s agenda is grossly biased against Israel, but too few are willing to fight it.”

When the focus is on Israel, Haley continued, “the Council fails to fulfill its duty to uphold human rights around the world.”

Haley also warned that the US is still weighing whether it plans to remain on the council, adding that Friday’s resolutions were another blow to the institution’s credibility. “The United States continues to evaluate our membership in the Human Rights Council. Our patience is not unlimited. Today’s actions make clear that the organization lacks the credibility needed to be a true advocate for human rights,” Haley added.

An Israeli arms embargo?

The most serious of the anti-Israel resolutions was one which called for ending all arms sales to Israel, which passed in a 27 to 4 vote, with 15 states abstaining.

International law expert Alan Baker told WIN, “Israel has not been a member of the UNHRC for a number of years. We should now stop all contact with them. Their resolutions have no significance whatsoever and are just non-binding recommendations. The Human Rights Council lost all credibility as a viable organization because of its absolute bias against Israel, while largely ignoring the world’s most pressing issues of human rights.”

Baker’s advice is to not get excited. “The media and the political leaders get upset by these resolutions, but they get little publicity outside of Israel. There is no reason for panic, for which I blame on the hysteria led by reporting in the Jerusalem Post,” he said.

Herzog does not favor the US pulling out of the UNHRC altogether. She told WIN, “The US has been very supportive in exposing the anti-Israel bias and they are threatening to leave the council. I believe they can have more impact if they remain in the organization and use their funding as leverage and place conditions on the aide money. European democracies have shown a profound lack of courage. The US should be encouraging other democracies to take the high ground regarding real human rights issues.”

She expressed no room for compromise when it comes to Michael Lynk. She calls him, “an anti-Israel demagogue” who can have no role in a human rights organization.