UN picks on Israel over women's rights

By Robin Shepherd, March 15, 2012

Unless there are last-minute changes to the draft proposal, by the time most readers get to this article, the United Nations' Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) will have passed a resolution stating that the Israeli "occupation" in the West Bank and East Jerusalem is the main barrier to the advancement of women's rights in Palestinian society.

As things stand, there is no mention of neighbouring Syria, where the Assad regime is using rape, torture and the mutilation of women in a systematic policy of mass oppression. Nor is there any reference to honour killings or Hamas's misogynistic policies in Gaza.

Plainly, the entire endeavour at the UN is just another example of how most of its institutions are now a disgrace to the ideals of its founders. It is barely worth pointing out that Israel has the best record on women's rights of any country in the region or that women's rights would almost certainly deteriorate if and when any Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank took place.

What is truly interesting here is the attitude of the Europeans who, Britain included, have a long and sordid track record of playing the appeasement game with anti-Zionist fanatics at the United Nations.

In its report on the affair, the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz noted that European governments privately oppose the anti-Israeli content in the resolution but, the paper said: "like similar resolutions accepted in last year's session, European representatives are expected to either back the draft or abstain the vote".

There is no mention of Syria, which is torturing women

In other words, in order to maintain good relations with some of the foulest regimes in the world, European countries, including our own, will support or at least not oppose anti-Israeli resolutions that they know to be rooted in lies.

It is difficult to know whether this is worse than the situation surrounding the notorious Goldstone Report slamming the Israeli intervention in Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009. In that instance, the British Foreign Office refused to recommend the report's withdrawal even after Richard Goldstone, the report's lead author, himself retracted its key findings.

The business of international diplomacy is inevitably complicated. For the sake of preserving peace and promoting prosperity we have no choice but to deal with regimes we find unpalatable.

Nonetheless, the minimum we should demand is that our diplomats observe basic standards of decency in institutions specifically designed to protect and promote human rights.

For many a long year now we have consistently failed to act in good conscience at the UN, especially where Israel is concerned. With the British Foreign Office having long shown its contempt for human rights in general, it is sadly unsurprising that the rights of women in particular are to be sacrificed on the same anti-Zionist altar.

Robin Shepherd is the owner/publisher of www.thecommentator.com

Last updated: 3:30pm, March 15 2012