What’s going on with America and the UN? Three years ago, when the UN’s Human Rights Council was formed, the US opted not to hold a seat, but did choose to contribute financially to the Council. Two years later the US withdrew completely, accusing the Council of a systematic bias against Israel. Then, last month, the US announced it would pull out of the so-called Durban II conference, the follow-up to the disaster that was the first Durban conference, which took place in 2001 and turned into little more than a soapbox for anti-Zionists.
How many of us were at the edge of our seats, a nervous, anxious feeling permeating our insides, thinking – hoping – that salvation was imminent, that the US was just steps away from abandoning the UN altogether.
Then, just this week, “In reversal, US to join UN rights council.”
We do understand the Obama administration’s rationale, namely that the only way the US can instigate any change within UN institutions is by participating, not by withholding its membership.
But then we’re faced with the real questions: Are these institutions worth saving? Does any real possibility of change even exist?
According to UN Watch, a Geneva based UN watchdog, 80% of all resolutions passed by the Human Rights Council have been against Israel. Despite myriad conflicts around the globe – including Darfur, DR Congo and Sri Lanka – nearly all of the Council’s condemnations focus on one country. Not only does this record expose a glaring bias, but even worse, by focusing almost exclusively on Israel, the Council is ignoring the heinous human rights violations taking place in other conflict zones.
And really, what is the point of all this resolution passing? Has anything concrete or substantial resulted from the mass of resolutions?
In these times of economic crisis, we should be asking why our tax money is going to support the UN apparatus. Is it an effective institution? Or has it simply become the new millenium’s Non-Aligned Movement?