by John Bolton
Joining the U.N. Human Rights Council was a mistake Obama should correct.
The U.N.'s Human Rights Council (HRC) voted overwhelmingly on Friday to endorse the recommendations of the lopsidedly anti-Israel Goldstone Report. The report, named for former South African judge Richard Goldstone, who chaired the underlying investigation, concluded that
The report alleges numerous specific human rights violations by both
In the month since the report's release, it has roiled the
The HRC resolution endorsing the report's recommendations repeatedly lacerated
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
Twenty-five of the Security Council's 47 members voted for the resolution (including
Five didn't vote at all, including
The Goldstone Report has important implications for
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
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