Last Friday’s endorsement by the U.N. Human Rights Council of the Goldstone report on the Gaza war shows that it was a mistake for the United States to join the flawed council, writes John Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, in The Wall Street Journal.
The U.N. General Assembly created the HRC on March 15, 2006, to replace the discredited Human Rights Commission, which had spent much of its final years concentrating on Israel and the U.S. rather than the world’s real human rights violators. The Bush administration voted against establishing this body and declined to join it, believing, correctly, that it would not be an improvement over its predecessor. President Barack Obama changed course, and the U.S. won election to the HRC in May. Mr. Obama argued that engagement would be more effective than shunning the HRC and attempting to delegitimize it.
The Goldstone Report thus provides a stark test of Mr. Obama’s analysis. Predictably, the administration blamed the report’s underlying mandate and its stridently anti-Israel tilt on America’s earlier absence from the HRC when the investigation was authorized and launched. Yet the new administration’s diplomacy had no discernible impact on the HRC’s disgraceful resolution…
Mr. Obama has now met the new HRC, same as the old HRC, thus producing a "teachable moment," a phrase he often uses. Quasi-religious faith in "engagement" and the U.N. has run into empirical reality. When the administration picks itself up off the ground, it should become more cognizant of that organization’s moral and political limitations.
Although it will be hard for Mr. Obama to swallow, the logical response to Friday’s debacle is to withdraw from and defund the HRC. Otherwise the Goldstone Report will merely be the beginning, next time perhaps with Washington as its unmistakable target.
Full column here.