I recently met with Nasser Boladai, a representative of the Balochi community of Iran, who now lives in Geneva. Unbeknownst to many Iran watchers, there are many ethnic minorities that would love nothing more than their own independent, sovereign state and who have been brutally suppressed by the regime.
Iran has not taken a census since 1976. However, judging by a 2009 statement from former Iranian Education Minister Hamid Reza Haji Babai, “70% of children starting school in Iran do not have Farsi as their mother language,” one can deduce that there are many ethnic minorities. This is not to mention the unknown number of ethnic Persians who secretly despise the theocracy. They know that the regime often uses execution as a form of eliminating any political dissent. Those who have publicly stated this position, have been banished to the notorious Evin prison where they are been systematically raped, tortured and often “disappeared.”
I asked Nasser if he is in touch with any of his friends with whom he had grown up in Iran. His response brought shivers down my spine. “No. I can’t be,” he said. “They are all dead.”
In Lebanon, Kinda el-Khatib, a woman in her early 20s, was sentenced to prison for blogging and reaching out to Israeli journalists. God only knows how the Hezbollah thugs are now treating her.
In China, there are approximately 1.5 million Uyghurs who have been round up and “re-educated” in internment camps. And any journalist who dares to question the regime is summarily executed.
In Afghanistan, the Taliban has wasted no time since its rapid takeover this summer incarcerating journalists who did not parrot total fidelity to their seventh-century mindset, closing down schools for women, businesses run by women and publicly flogging or arresting women who refuse to cover themselves with the burka.
Yet, what does the United Nations focus its attention on? An institution founded upon such lofty principles as “reaffirming 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”? The United Nations Human Rights Council has passed a resolution launching a $5 million Commission of Inquiry into the May 2021 war between Gaza and Israel.
As Anne Bayefsky of The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs recently wrote, “The Human Rights Council resolution failed to refer to Hamas at all. It did not mention — let alone condemn — the launch of thousands of rockets by Hamas into Israel. Indeed, the civilian population was omitted from the resolution. The only civilians mentioned are the ‘Palestinian civilian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.’ Nor did the resolution condemn the use by Palestinian groups as human shields, a war crime.”
I was one of those 9.5 million residents of Israel at whom Hamas aimed its more than 4,360 missiles in May. I was fortunate enough to have been allowed entry into Israel to experience this firsthand because my daughter, an Israeli citizen, was about to give birth. My husband and I landed in the midst of the war on May 13. As soon as we landed in Ben Gurion Airport, we were greeted by the shrill sound of the alarm, telling us we had 60 seconds to find shelter. Later that night, we again had 60 seconds in which to wake up our grandchildren and immediately run into a sealed room.
We were among the lucky ones. In Sderot or any of the neighboring areas to Gaza, they have no more than 15 seconds. And they live with the constant uncertainty of when Hamas will attack. They do not suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, but rather “Ongoing-Traumatic Stress Syndrome,” where the children suffer from constant nightmares, bedwetting and agoraphobia – fear of wide open spaces.
The events that led up to this war are not mentioned at all in this resolution. It never mentions its own agency, UNRWA, and how its schools and camps systemically teach their children to despise Israelis, how to engage in military conflict and that they will someday return to Jaffa, Haifa, Jerusalem and Be’er Sheva, feeding them on unrealistic fantasies that keep the 1948 conflict alive.
What is barely known is that Hamas is engaged in a bitter internecine conflict with Fatah over control of all of the Palestinian territories. There is absolutely no mention about the election — the first in 16 years — that was supposed to have taken place between Hamas and Fatah over leadership in April. When Fatah realized that they were going to lose quite badly to Hamas, they cancelled the election. And Hamas understands that the one way to score quick popularity points with their population is to launch a barrage of missiles against Israel.
That is why the brilliant book by Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Gaza Conflict 2021, should be required reading for all. And especially by the respected members of the UN Human Rights Council. It goes into minute detail of every event leading up to and during the war, to which much of the international reporting of the conflict seems to, for some bizarre reason, willfully blind themselves. Having lived through this war and having stayed diligently plugged into what was being reported and what was overlooked and ignored by the international media — this book is like a breath of fresh air.
In the meantime back in Turtle Bay, there were 14 separate resolutions condemning the state of Israel in 2021 according to Gil Kapen of the American Jewish International Relations Institute. That is far more than any of the other 192 U.N. member countries — including China, Iran or Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon — combined, let alone against any of the “virtuous” members of the Human Rights Council, such as Sudan, Mauritania and Afghanistan.
The U.N. has always had a particular obsession with the state of Israel. It is routinely held to a standard that no other country could be expected to be live up to, especially under the circumstances. There has been a constant and unabated effort to defame it and erode its moral standing among the community of nations and delegitimize its existence. The “three Ds” test — Double Standard, Demonization and Delegitimization — is what former refusenik Natan Sharansky defined as constituting antisemitism. This goes back to the “Zionism is racism resolution” of 1974.
It is high time for the U.N. to re-examine some of the lofty principles in its founding charter and finally abandon its peculiar obsession with Israel. The international body should instead investigate some of the world’s worst abusers of human rights in recent history, including some of the venerated members of its very own Human Rights Council.
Originally published on JNS
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