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Opinion: New UN human rights council, not improved

Old commission vilified Israel; new council wrongly places Iran on commission to promote gender equality.

When a pro-Israel NGO, U.N. Watch, wrote to the high commissioner of human rights, complaining about this, she wrote back and said in essence: Gosh, I wish I could do something, but the council “is not in a position to edit submissions.”

I have been in an Israeli graveyard for Arab terrorists, in the north, not far from Nazareth. It is not a decorous site. Graves are not well marked. But then what should you expect? Arabs often are not as kind even to their own. During the long Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, when an Iraqi soldier was killed, his commander would flag down a taxi, throw the body in the back seat, then give the driver the dead man’s home address. The first word his wife would hear of his death would be the taxi driver at the door, asking her to pay the fare.

To be fair, the United States’ council representative, Eileen Donahoe, was among the lobbyists who prevented Iran from winning a seat on the full council. But she seemed to give up when Iran set out for the secondary position on the women’s rights committee, prompting Rep Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, of Florida, the ranking republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, to remark: “That an Iranian regime that shoots and stones women would be 'elected' to a U.N. body supposedly dedicated to women's rights adds a whole new disgusting twist to the ongoing saga of Iran exploiting the U.N.”

When Donahoe faced Senate confirmation in December, Senator Kristen Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, observed that “after years of absence from an organization fraught with a record of anti-Israel bias, the United States has joined the Human Rights Council. I was encouraged by my conversation” about “the U.S. goal of working with the council to ensure that it focuses its work on the most pressing human-rights concerns of our time, rather than solely, or most often serving as a venue for anti-Israel bias.”

Well, that hasn’t worked. The council, like the commission before it, is irredeemable. It’s time for the Obama administration to face up to that and pull out.