Each week in the Action Update we often focus on the latest developments in various nations’ foreign policies. However, one of the cornerstones of a pariah state like Iran is that it treats its citizens with the same contempt and authoritarianism as its foreign policy approach would suggest. So, this week, before we get into the latest disgrace from the UN, we’re going to take a look at the latest human rights outrages from Iran and the PA.

The Danger of Being Smart in Iran
From arresting and abusing women who deign not to follow the Islamic Republic’s archaic dress code, to widespread torture and immoral imprisonment of anyone who is deemed to have resisted the regime’s complete cultural and societal supremacy, Iran’s brutality against its own citizens has been long documented.

There is widespread discontent with the regime amongst numerous sectors of Iranian society. This often results in demonstrations against Tehran’s tyrants, which are put down with brutal and often lethal force. Witnessing the ruthless manner with which the Iranian government treats their co-citizens, increasingly, cultural leaders and other well-off Iranians have been lodging discontent with the regime’s tactics.

The latest effort to confront the regime in this context came from cultural elites – filmmakers, prominent actors, etc. – who penned a letter to the regime calling for an end to their cruelty. Tehran’s rulers responded with threats of arrest, and in some cases have imprisoned some of the letter’s signatories on old, trumped-up charges. The bottom line is that the Iranian people want freedom, a brutal regime is suppressing their most basic human and civil rights, and this massive oppression of an entire population goes largely unnoticed by the mainstream media and the international community.

Tehran has also made clear that the long arm of the regime will go to great lengths to hunt down those who speak out. The latest such instance occurred when an assassin with a loaded AK-47 showed up at the New York home of prominent Iranian journalist in exile. The would-be assassin was arrested last week and is now facing federal charges.

The Danger of Exercising Freedom Under the PA
We’ve often said that in the Palestinian Authority (PA), Israel has no partner for peace. This isn’t just because the PA’s leaders would like to see Israel wiped from the face of the earth; it’s also because the conflict serves the rulers’ desire to maintain their power. The status quo – a never ending conflict with Israel whose violence and intensity ebbs and flows – enables PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his cronies to maintain their stranglehold over the Palestinian population living in PA controlled territories. 

Recently, the families of those Palestinians held in a PA run prison in Jericho – known amongst the Palestinian population as the “Jericho slaughterhouse” – are seeking to see their loved ones released from the hell that is PA incarceration. While some of the prisoners held by the PA are associated with Hamas, many are academics, activists and college students. Basically, the PA keeps its boot on the throats of its own people – just like Iran, China, Russia, and so forth – using the same old tried and tested tactics of totalitarian regimes.

In the latest crackdown on basic human and civil rights, the PA has detained at least 63 political prisoners. And just as with the Iran’s cruelty against their own people, the international media and international community simply ignore the PA’s ruthless treatment of its own citizens. 

The Danger of Being a Jewish State at the UN

As many of you may have seen, one of the three commissioners on the UN’s never-ending Commission of Inquiry (COI) against Israel made some highly antisemitic statements in a recent interview, going so far as to question whether or not Israel should even be a member state of the UN. The President of the COI offered an absurd it was all taken out of context defense of the offending commissioner’s comments. This should come as no surprise given both the UN’s shameful history when it comes to Israel and given the COI’s unwritten but well understood mandate to attack Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid reacted to the comments by sending a letter to the UN Secretary-General demanding the COI be disbanded given the obvious bigotry and anti-Israel bias displayed by the Commissioners. Likewise, to their credit, key members of the Biden administration condemned the COI’s antisemitic display.

We respect the Lapid and Biden administration’s reactions to the latest outrage from the UN, but we aren’t expecting the UN to do the right thing. In all likelihood, the COI will issue more ridiculous condemnations of Israel that will be put on the same massive file of hateful paperwork the UN has accumulated over the years from the Durban Declaration to the Goldstone report.

What we’d like to ask however is this: If the UN’s diplomats are so concerned with human rights, where is the commission of inquiry against actual, well documented human rights violators like the PA and Iran? Call us cynics if you want, but it’s almost as if the UN doesn’t care about human and civil rights but rather only care about demonizing Israel and shielding the real malign actors.

The COI’s reports and statements will ultimately be little more than a footnote in the tragic descent of the UN into a fig leaf for authoritarian regimes which chooses to scapegoat and condemn the world’s only Jewish state. The Children of Israel have faced foes for every generation, and Israel has survived. That isn’t going to change. History, however, will judge harshly the bigots that roam the halls of Geneva. Tragically, in the meantime, we mustn’t forget all those innocent Palestinians and Iranians who are left tortured and tormented by those who rule over them. Their suffering is real, even if the UN doesn’t care to acknowledge it.

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