The United Nations has been accused of perpetuating a “blood libel” against Israel, claiming that the Jewish state was responsible for the mass killings of Palestinians in Gaza. The accusation is the latest in a long history of alleged bias against Israel by the world body.
The accusation was leveled by UN Watch, a Geneva-based watchdog organization, following the publication of a report by the United Nations Human Rights Council which sought to pinpoint responsibility for the deaths and destruction inflicted on Gaza during last summer’s conflict. The report, issued on Monday, found that “both Israel and Palestinian armed groups may have committed war crimes and human rights violations.”
UN Watch, however, has condemned the report as an “attempt to demonize Israel,” claiming that the UN Human Rights Council “goes out of its way to blame Israel exclusively for the conflict.” The report fails to attribute any blame to Hamas for its role in instigating the conflict, the organization claims, and instead characterizes the actions of the Israeli military as “disproportionate” and “indiscriminate.”
The accusation by UN Watch is just the latest in a long string of purported anti-Israel bias by the United Nations. The Israeli government has long accused the UN of singling out Israel for criticism while ignoring human rights abuses in other parts of the world. This is particularly relevant in the context of the conflict in the occupied Palestinian territories, where the UN has long condemned the Israeli occupation as a violation of international law.
The UN has also been accused of “stacking the deck” against Israel by allowing member states with an anti-Israel agenda to dominate many of the debates and initiatives of its various bodies. In addition, UN officials have in the past been accused of applying double standards when it comes to how they address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with criticism of Israel being far more frequent and vehement than that of Palestine.
At the same time, it must be acknowledged that the UN has also played an important role in trying to resolve the conflict between Israel and Palestine, hosting various peace talks and initiatives over the years, and working to bring the two sides closer to a resolution. Such efforts are essential if the long-running conflict is to be resolved.