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September 24, 2019 9:53 am

Authoritarian Countries Take the Stand Against Israel at the UN

avatar by JNS.org

Becca Wertman, deputy editor and Canada Desk researcher at Jerusalem-based research institute NGO Monitor, speaks during the presentation of Agenda Item 7 at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Sept. 23, 2019. Photo: Screenshot.

JNS.org – As Western democracies left the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) plenary in Geneva on Sept. 23, boycotting the presentation of Agenda Item 7, the notorious agenda item in which Israel is singled out at each session for its alleged human rights abuses, authoritarian countries took the stand against the Jewish state.

According to NGO Monitor’s managing editor Becca Wertman, among the countries condemning Israel this year were Qatar, Venezuela and Syria, which called on the UNHRC to publish a blacklist of Israeli companies that operated over the green line.

Wertman, who attended and spoke at the Agenda Item 7 debate, told JNS of witnessing “horrible” instances of anti-Israel bias and lies, including “the State of Palestine referring to the crime Israel committed by shooting a woman last week at the Qalandiya checkpoint, while conveniently neglecting to mention how this woman pulled a knife in an attempted terror attack.” The speaker then discussed “how martyrs and detainees are freedom fighters and it’s wrong that the occupying power refers to them as terrorists,” said Wertman.

Qatar, she said, stressed that the Israeli occupation “is like no other occupation in history.” Regarding Western demands that the UN abolish Agenda Item 7, she told JNS, Qatar’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva Ambassador Ali Khalfan al-Mansouri claimed that the item was “vital” to the HRC’s efforts to highlight Israel’s “crimes.”

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Venezuela, said Wertman, accused Israel of “great violations of international law and indiscriminate use of force,” claiming that the only way to bring peace and stability to the area was “to give Palestinians a state and the right of return.” Syria spoke out against Israel’s settlements and occupation of the Golan Heights, which it claimed belonged to Syria, she said.

In her address to the plenary under Agenda Item 7, Wertman noted that while the council “claims to be interested in ameliorating the human rights situation for Palestinians,” in reality, UN bodies are corrupt, “perpetuate the conflict” and result in the waste of humanitarian aid.

“Simply put,” she said, “this does nothing for peace.”

As the various countries spoke out against Israel in the UNHRC in Geneva and the UN General Assembly convened in New York, the Pew Research Center published a new poll, showing that of the 32 countries surveyed, the UN has an overall positive international image, with 62 percent having favorable views of the international body. Of all countries surveyed, Israel held the most unfavorable view of the UN with only 31 percent viewing the body in a positive light and 65 percent having an unfavorable opinion.

Israel has long complained about bias in the United Nations, with Agenda Item 7 being the prime example.

Last year, the United States pulled out from the UNHRC, citing bias against Israel. This year, Israel and the United States left the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization for being “corrupted and manipulated by Israel’s enemies, and continually [singling out] the only Jewish state for condemnation.”

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