Some 50 human rights and pro-Israel NGOs will be holding a rally in Geneva next Monday, to protest what they see as the unfair treatment of Israel by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).
The rally is set to coincide with a debate in the Geneva-based UNHRC over its Commission of Inquiry’s report into the 2014 Gaza conflict, which accused both Israel and Hamas of possible war crimes but focused almost entirely on criticizing the Jewish state. Participants from numerous countries are expected in the Swiss city to express their support for the Jewish state and to urge the United Nations to treat Israel fairly.
Among the participants will be the World Jewish Congress (WJC), whose CEO Robert Singer said the protest was targeting a longstanding policy of the UNHRC to single-out Israel for criticism and holding it to a different standard to any other nation.
Singer emphasized that the Human Rights Council had an important mandate to fulfill, but it could only do so once it applied the same standards to everyone, in a fair and unbiased manner. Not doing so undermined its credibility not only vis-a-vis Israel, but more generally as well, he said.
We want to make it clear to the United Nations that applying double standards toward Israel, falsely portraying Israel as a serial violator of human rights, or even putting the democratic State of Israel into the same category as Hamas and other terrorist organizations is not only unfair, but also does great harm to the reputation of the United Nations and to the protection of human rights.
"This obsession with Israel has been going on for far too long. It has to stop!"
Singer also pointed to a common criticism of the Human Rights Council, noting that many of its member-states are in fact serial human rights violators and dictatorships themselves.
"By the standards of the UN conventions, Israel does much better than most other countries, and certainly those in the Middle East. However, many Council members seem to have little or no interest in abandoning the constant Israel-bashing, because it helps them to deflect attention from the gross violations of human rights in their own countries," the WJC CEO said.
The WJC and other non-governmental organizations accredited with the UN will also give oral statements to the Human Rights Council on Monday.
Israeli and other political and military leaders have criticized the UNHRC report as biased, noting its skewed focus on Israel and the fact that it applies standards to IDF conduct which are unrealistic, not legally-grounded and singularly applied to Israel alone.