As it does every year, the UN’s annual World Health Assembly met last week in Geneva and decided to single out one of its 192 member states for condemnation:  Israel. A similar ritual is scheduled soon at the annual meeting of the UN’s International Labor Organization.

By a vote of 57 to 9 (with 61 abstentions, 47 absent, and 18 whose voting privileges were suspended for non-payment of dues), the Muslim-led resolution “deplor[ed] the Israeli army’s continuous assault on Palestinian ambulances and medical personnel” and mandated the Director-General of the World Health Organization to organize a one-day “emergency meeting addressing the health crisis in the occupied Palestinian territory.”  The U.S., Canada, Australia and Georgia were among those who had the backbone to say no to another gross abuse of the world’s scarce health agenda.  Members of the European Union abstained.

Just in case anyone missed the intended message of what is only the latest installment of a systematic campaign at the UN, dating from 1975, to delegitimize and scapegoat the Jewish state, the Syrian representative, speaking at Thursday’s WHA debate, made it crystal clear:  the Israelis were acting like Nazis, he said.

Bashar Assad’s Human Rights Agenda

Only a few days later, again at the UN in Geneva, a preparatory session of the world body’s new Human Rights Council heard the ambassadors of Pakistan, Syria, Malaysia, Lebanon and the PLO agree on one thing: the Council agenda needs a special item with which to condemn Israel.  Occupation is a special category, you see.

Not all occupation, mind you — not the violent occupation of Lebanon by Syrian agents and Iranian-sponsored Hezbollah, not the decades-long Chinese occupation of Tibet, not the Russian occupation of Chechnya — but only that occasioning a grievance against the Jewish state. Never mind that (unlike Syria, China, or Russia) Israel acquired the land in a defensive war, and that its immediate offer to surrender the areas for peace, pursuant to Security Council Resolution 242, was met with the Arab League’s infamous September 1967 “three No’s” conference in Khartoum.  And never mind that Ehud Barak’s Camp David offer of 97% of the claimed territory was met with another “No” from Yasser Arafat in 2000 — and the launching of a campaign of suicide bombings on a scale the world had not seen before, and whose inspired progeny was 9/11, London’s 7/7, Madrid’s train station massacre, and the bloody streets of Iraq.

But it’s not only occupation that must top the new Human Rights Council’s agenda. The next most urgent item, insisted the goverments of Pakistan and Syria, would have to be “intolerance toward religion.” What they have in mind — encouraged by the UN General Assembly’s March 15th capitulatory reference in the preamble of the Council’s charter — is the September 30, 2005 cartoons published by a Danish newspaper. What they do not have in mind, in demanding that the UN examine intolerance toward religion, is the systematic and state-sponsored teachings of hatred toward Chirstians, Jews and other non-Muslims in Saudi and Egyptian schoolbooks, revealed in full detail by a report published last week. (See our Action Alert.) Since the Wahabbist inculcation of hate from Mecca to Munich is the root cause of the terror that led to Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and other abuses, the Syrian-Pakistani proposal for the Human Rights Council, though not quite as they intended, makes perfect sense indeed.

Assad, Ahmadinejad, and English Academe

All this in a week when Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki announced that Israel does not exist. (“What country is that? There is no such country,” he said.)

But now Ahmadinejad, Assad and their allies are not alone. Joining their illustrious camp this week were, first, the professors of the United Kingdom, who voted to boycott Israeli academics and institutions on account of that country’s “apartheid policies,” and, second, a union claiming to represent 200,000 workers of Ontario, Canada’s largest province, who also decided to boycott Israel, citing its “apartheid-like practices.”

How odd, then, that the million-plus Arab citizens of Israel — who, despite the genuine obstacles that attend a minority belonging to the ethnic group of the country’s adversaries, nevertheless exercise their rights to vote, run for and win seats in Israel’s parliament, study in Israeli universities and serve as Israeli judges — seem to prefer the “apartheid” of “Nazi” Israel over the oases of equality, opportunity and democracy offered by Damascus, Gaza, and all the other neighboring accusers.

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