Council Fixation on Israel, Iranian Threat and Peace Talks Among Key Issues Discussed by B'nai B'rith Delegation to U.N. Human Rights Council
B’nai B’rith International sent its annual leadership delegation to Geneva, Switzerland, to address key issues facing the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), including its obsessive, one-sided focus and special rapporteur on Israel, the looming Iranian threat, Syrian human rights abuses and the need for direct peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians without preconditions.
The B’nai B’rith delegation met with ambassadors and other officials of 28 countries and held its annual reception at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, which various ambassadors and U.N. officials attended.
In their meetings, B’nai B’rith delegates explained to the diplomats and U.N. officials that the UNHRC will remain unable to live up to its promise of impartiality so long as it clings to Item 7, the decidedly anti-Israel permanent agenda that has long been a core tenet of UNHRC deliberations. The B’nai B’rith delegation reminded the ambassadors that discussions about the 193 member states occur under more general agenda items; Israel is the only country listed on the council’s permanent agenda.
B’nai B’rith delegates also focused on the biased mandate of the special rapporteur on the Palestinians and its current mandate-holder, Richard Falk, who uses his position to unfairly attack Israel and call for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against the Jewish state.
“As the only international Jewish organization with a full-time office dedicated to U.N.-related issues, it is essential that we push for the council to treat Israel as it does every other member state and end its permanent obsession with condemning the Jewish state,” said B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs.
The delegation also addressed the Iranian threat to the global community.
“Not only does Iran repeatedly deny the Holocaust ever happened, it does so while simultaneously calling for the destruction of Israel and displaying brutal treatment against its own civilians,” said B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin. “We took this opportunity, as a delegation to Geneva, to impress upon the international community the urgency of enacting the strongest possible sanctions against Iran, the world’s largest state-sponsor of terrorism.”
Also discussed was the Palestinian attempt to seek a unilaterally declared Palestinian state instead of agreeing to direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians without preconditions.
The delegation also discussed human rights abuses carried out by Syria, noting that while it accuses Israel of supposed violations in the Golan Heights, it engages in brutality against its own people on a daily basis. On Monday, Klaus Netter, a B’nai B’rith Geneva representative, will deliver a statement to the UNHRC when Item 7 is scheduled for discussion.
The B’nai B’rith delegation comprised Jacobs, Mariaschin, Director of U.N. and Intercommunal Affairs David Michaels, Senior Vice President Yves Kamami, Joelle Perelberg (Board Of Governors), Steven (Board of Governors) and Sandra Horowitz, Jacques Jacubert (B’nai B’rith France), David Matas (B’nai B’rith Canada Honorary Counsel), Ada Sadoun (B’nai B’rith France), Davor Salom (B’nai B’rith Serbia), Tony Swabe (London Bureau of International Affairs), Stephane Teicher (B’nai B’rith International UNESCO representative), Nuno Wahnon (B’nai B’rith International E.U. Affairs Director).
Our Geneva team also included: Klaus Netter (Coordinating Board of Jewish Organizations main representative to United Nations in Geneva), Armand Azoulai (B’nai B’rith main representative to United Nations in Geneva) and David Hachuel.