Following the inaugural session of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations, Jewish organizations are criticizing both the new body’s decision to focus on alleged Israeli violations and the Bush administration’s failure to take stronger action to head off a diplomatic debacle.
Held in Geneva, the two-week meeting ended with the adoption of a resolution sponsored by the Organization of the Islamic Conference ensuring that Israel’s human rights violations in the Palestinian territories would be discussed on a permanent basis. The resolution directs U.N. experts to report on Israeli violations at its September session. In addition, Arab and Muslim countries succeeded in garnering the one-third majority needed to convene a special discussion — scheduled for this week — on “human rights violations by Israel in the territories.”
In recent months Israeli officials and Jewish organizations had expressed some guarded optimism that the new council would not follow in the anti-Israel footsteps of the much-maligned Human Rights Commission that it replaced. By this week, however, those hopes