Raqqa Report Highlights the UN’s Illogical Double Standard Against Israel

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By Sarah Stern and Jennifer Dekel

The United Nations (U.N.) was founded in 1945 upon the loftiest of principles. The U.N. Charter, among other things, resolves to “reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small.”

However, anyone who has observed the behavior of the U.N. is aware that the institution has descended far from these magnificent goals. There is one small nation, Israel, which is constantly singled out for excessive and disproportionate condemnation.

Evelyn Gordon, a writer for Commentary, recently authored a piece providing further evidence of how the U.N. singles out Israel at the exclusion of other countries — including human rights violators such as Iran, Syria, and North Korea — by comparing the casualties and destruction caused by the battle of Raqqa to that of Operation Protective Edge, the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict.

Following the 2014 conflict, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)’s Commission of Inquiry issued a report lambasting Israel on June 22, 2015. The report stated: “…the commission was able to gather substantial information pointing to serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law by Israel and by Palestinian armed groups. In some cases, these violations may amount to war crimes.”

Gordon explained that “Israel produced vastly lower casualties as a proportion of Gaza’s population and much less property damage as a proportion of Gaza’s property than the Western coalition against [the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)] did in Syria and Iraq. In other words, the very Western countries that accused Israel of ‘disproportionate’ and ‘excessive’ harm in Gaza were guilty of far greater harm in Syria and Iraq.”

The population of Raqqa was 300,000 when ISIS took over. In 2014, tens of thousands of people fled, reducing the population to 25,000. Over a four-month period, more than 3,000 people were killed in Raqqa, including 1,130 civilians, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. During the Gaza conflict, the total death count was 2,125 people, including 936 combatants, 761 civilians, and 428 unidentified persons.

While these numbers appear similar, looking at them raw is meaningless, Gordon explained, because the comparison of casualties must be made as a proportion of the population. “Those 3,000 casualties in Raqqa represented 1 percent of the city’s pre-ISIS population and a whopping 12 percent of its population as of early September. The casualties in Gaza, by contrast, represented about 0.12 percent of that territory’s population. Thus, as a proportion of the population, casualties in Raqqa were somewhere between 10 and 100 times higher than those in Gaza … That is an astronomical difference,” Gordon wrote. Furthermore, many Palestinian civilians died during the Gaza War because Hamas used civilians as human shields, and Hamas terrorists took refuge in hospitals, mosques, and schools. And Western military experts have testified before the UNHRC that Israel is more successful in minimizing civilian harm than any other Western country.

So why does the U.N. continue to falsely accuse Israel of “war crimes” and “excessive” and disproportionate force? Why has the UNHRC, in the decade since its founding (the U.N. General Assembly established the UNHRC on March 15, 2006, to replace the U.N. Commission on Human Rights) adopted 68 resolutions targeting Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, out of 135 resolutions? Why does the U.N. turn a blind eye to some of the worst human rights violators in the world, and instead, continue to erroneously blame Israel for “war crimes” she never committed? And why is the U.N. planning to give more than $1.3 billion dollars to fund Palestinian lawfare against Israel, and $32.5 million to support “a strong national Palestinian national and cultural identity?”

The only explanation for the U.N.’s vicious attacks on Israel is the deeply entrenched anti-Semitic bias of most of the countries that make up the U.N.. But there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel. The Trump Administration and U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley are holding the U.N. accountable for its double standard against Israel, by withdrawing from the U.N.’s educational, science, and cultural organization (UNESCO), and regularly calling the U.N. out for its abominable, false attacks against America’s only Democratic ally in the Middle East.


Originally published at Kol HaBira on November 16, 2017.


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About the Author

Sarah Stern
Sarah Stern is founder and president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET).

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