Hadassah

United Nations Reform

Zionist Affairs | Jul 2016

Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America, Inc., reaffirms its commitment to upholding the founding principles of the United Nations and is proud to be a non-governmental organization (NGO) in special consultative status with the U.N. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

Hadassah remains deeply concerned that the U.N.'s integrity and effectiveness have been compromised. While recognizing some recent strides toward Israel's acceptance at the U.N.—such as the recent election of Israel's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Danny Danon to chair the Sixth Committee, and the recognition of Yom Kippur as an official United Nations holiday—Hadassah is outraged by the bias against Israel that continues to pervade the institution. 

In 2006, Hadassah welcomed an initiative for U.N. reform and in 2014 reaffirmed calls for significant reforms that will lead to a more productive U.N., where bias against any state, and against Israel in particular, does not occur.

In 2012, 138 member nations of the United Nations General Assembly approved Palestinian non-member observer state status— using the opportunity to demean and delegitimize Israel while enabling Palestinians to circumvent international pressure for direct bilateral negotiations.

The United Nations Human Rights Council has become a mockery of its intended goals. The council includes, and frequently appoints to leadership roles, the very nations who have the worst human rights records, such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, China, Cuba, and Sudan.  Since its founding eleven years ago, the Council has passed 73 resolutions against Israel—over one-third of all country-specific resolutions—and Israel is the only country singled out, with a dedicated Special Session on the Council's permanent agenda.

As a member organization of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Hadassah supports its recent campaign to unite the Jewish community and friends of Israel in response to the intensifying anti-Israel activity at the U.N. with the obsessive bashing of Israel. Hadassah reaffirms and expands its U.N. Reform Policy Statement to support the Conference of Presidents' Declaration Opposing Discrimination Against Israel at the United Nations.

Hadassah urges the U.N. to implement broad and substantive changes to its institutions and bodies, specifically:

  • to eliminate redundant and anachronistic resolutions and committees, specifically the four committees on Palestinian affairs that have only served to exacerbate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and waste the time and resources of the General Assembly;
  • to implement clear conditions for membership and leadership positions within the Human Rights Commission that require countries to abide by the highest standards of human rights, and cooperate fully with the Commission and its mechanisms;
  • to evaluate and increase transparency in the nomination, selection, and appointment process of United Nations Special Rapporteurs and other mandate holders;
  • to establish a permanent mechanism within the Secretariat to develop objective criteria for assessing the fairness of the resolution processes throughout the various UN bodies and to monitor, evaluate and report annually on the results of the application of those criteria;
  • to adopt a clear and comprehensive definition of terrorism that condemns it in absolute terms.

Additionally, Hadassah calls upon the United Nations Secretary General, President of the General Assembly, and High Commissioner for Human Rights to condemn any remarks by international leaders, U.N. officials or independent consultants that include false statements, promote anti-Semitism or delegitimize Israel.

Finally, Hadassah urges the U.S. to continue its strong and vocal support for Israel at the United Nations and lobbying for broad and significant U.N. reforms. As a signatory of the Declaration Against U.N. Anti-Israel Bias, we look forward to working with the Jewish Community and the United States government, as it leads an intensive effort within the United Nations to achieve the goals of this campaign and finally end the injustices, indignities, and discrimination towards Israel.

Hadassah's Policy Statements represent the organization's official stance on a wide variety of issues facing our nation, Israel and other international matters of concern. Policy Statements are debated and voted on at national meetings by Hadassah’s national board and delegates from our membership. Once approved, statements become official policies of the organization and serve to define Hadassah's overall agenda and advocacy priorities. Hadassah, as a charitable organization classified under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, is strictly non-partisan and is prohibited from any direct or indirect support or opposition of candidates for public office.

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