Lest that sound overwrought, let’s peer into the UN boudoir whence came this resolution, which passed by a wide margin last week under the anodyne and oh-so-UN title: “Situation of and Assistance to Palestinian Women.” Sounds reasonable, perhaps?
Not a chance. This particular resolution came from the UN Commission on the Status of Women, which advertises itself on its web site as “the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.” At least, that’s the official blurb. In practice — regardless of the damage to women — this 45-member commission appears dedicated above all to promoting moral equivalence between democracies and tyrannies, between the likes of Belgium and Belarus, Israel and Iran — all of which are currently members. Though in the case of this resolution, moral equivalence would be an overly kind description. The commission evidently prefers to savage Israel while romancing the likes of Iran.
And Iran, notorious for its repression of women, evidently finds this UN Commission on the Status of Women so simpatico that Tehran’s Islamic regime went to the trouble of getting itself elected by its UN colleagues to a four-year term on the commission back in 2010. When that expired, Iran got itself reelected to its current term, which extends to 2019.
OK, so what exactly is this resolution? It was introduced this month by one of Iran’s closest pals on the erstwhile women’s commission: Ecuador. As the draft text of the resolution informs us, Ecuador introduced it “on behalf of the States that are members of the Group of 77 and China.” What is the Group of 77? With 134 members, it’s the largest voting bloc at the UN, consisting of just over two-thirds of the UN’s 193 member states, plus the Palestinian Authority. The G-77 has an unfortunate proclivity for choosing, as leaders of it flagship chapter in New York, such exemplars of misogyny and/or misrule as Sudan, Yemen and Bolivia . As chair for 2017 of its dealings at the UN’s massive complex in Vienna, the G-77 has tapped Iran.
Anyway, on behalf of this gang, Ecuador introduced this resolution purporting to help Palestinian women. This document amounts to a five-page rant that blames all ills, woes and troubles of Palestinian women on — you guessed it — Israel. There is no direct mention in this resolution of any Palestinian role in the grievances of Palestinians; no reference to the lack of democratic rule among Palestinians; no expression of concern, for instance, that Gaza is ruled by Hamas, a Palestinian group that happens to be not only terrorist, but misogynist. In the alternate cosmos of this Ecuador-sponsored UN resolution, there is just one vast villain in the lives of Palestinian women, and — courtesy of Ecuador and the rest of the G-77 — the country cast as that villain is the democratic state of Israel. That is truly twisted, not least because Israel in reality stands out — especially in the Middle East — as a model of freedom and equality for women. (But, as I noted above, the UN commission on women is not really about women, just as the UN Human Rights Council is not as a rule concerned with human rights.)
If you don’t mind, I’d rather not quote from this resolution on “Palestinian women.” It’s such as paragon of propaganda that it really deserves to be quarantined for all time within the confines of the UN. If you’re curious about the full details, the New York-based monitoring group “Human Rights Voices” has posted a copy, and you can read it in full here. Suffice it to say that after a lot of deploring and condemning and stressing, this document boils down to a slanderous and single-minded attack on Israel, plus a demand upon the “international community” for yet more money for UN programs for Palestinians.
This resolution was adopted last week by a vote of 30 commission members in favor, with 12 abstaining, and one voting no. That lone dissenting vote was cast by Israel.
The U.S. is not a member of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, so America had no vote (not that a dissenting U.S. vote, alongside Israel’s, would have stopped this UN resolution). The U.S. Mission, under Ambassador Nikki Haley, did offer a protest, releasing a statement that:
The United States strongly objects to this biased and counterproductive resolution as well as this body’s insistence on including political elements and one-sided condemnations. This political posturing detracts from the real challenges at hand — problems we should all commit to solving.
The U.S. statement went on to stress that America is committed to “practical and effective support of the Palestinian people, including Palestinian women.” According to the statement, America’s support includes its role as the single largest donor to UNRWA, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, to which the U.S. in 2016 alone gave more than $359 million.
Unless indicated otherwise, the report is based on contributions and information submitted by entities of the United Nations system that provide assistance to Palestinian women. It includes contributions from the following United Nations entities: the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs of the Secretariat, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and its Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO). It also includes information provided by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).
By my count, that’s at least 15 UN offices, agencies and/or special programs all involved in assisting Palestinian women. With slight variations, this has been going on for decades. Yet somehow the UN reports, over and over, that the situation is endlessly dire. And while blaming and condemning Israel, the UN demands that yet more money flow to the aid of the Palestinians, via the UN.
This routine does not deserve to be described as “assistance” to women. There may a spattering of aid in all this, but in the main this entire setup is a shakedown. Effectively it is an extortion racket that targets not only Israel (and its turf, and legitimacy as a state) but the U.S. (and its great rolling river of tax dollars).
This UN-abetted racket has become big business for Palestinian bosses, and a trough in which American tax dollars are transformed into a grand muck of resources that nourish the lies, bigotries, jobs and wallets of far too many officials at the United Nations. And for the worst regimes associated with the UN (Iran and its pals come to mind) this is a political bonanza, underwritten by the Great Satan.
Any real remedy needs to start with cutting off the American money that helps bankroll this monstrous sham. And as far an anyone’s aim is really to help Palestinian women, it’s hard to think of a better place to begin than by doing everything possible to remove from their lives — as well as ours — the pervasive and too often pernicious presence of the United Nations.
This column was originally published at PJ Media.