Here we are in the middle of a global pandemic, but the WHO’s annual meeting can still abandon its responsibilities and divert into an assault on Israel.
This is what happened on Wednesday, May 26, at the WHO’s annual meeting. It was not at all surprising that a group of Arab countries and various dictatorships—the Palestinian resolution was cosponsored by countries such as Cuba, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Turkey, Venezuela and Yemen—introduced a resolution rebuking Israel. Needless to say, this being the WHO there was no such rebuke for countries that did not achieve Israel’s remarkable success in vaccinating its population (which, it seems necessary to add, is twenty percent Arab). The resolution requires yet another time-wasting debate at next year’s annual meeting as well.
Not surprising. What is surprising is the vote. This contemptible resolution was supported by France, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, Portugal, Japan, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Luxembourg, and 72 other countries, UN Watch reports. There is some good news: it was opposed by United States, Britain, Australia, Austria, Brazil Cameroon, Canada, Colombia, Czech Republic, Germany, Honduras, Hungary, and the Netherlands. The vote was 82 in favor, 14 opposed, and a very large bloc abstaining (40) or absent (38). That means that 82 countries were in favor and 92 were not.
The vote that those European democracies plus New Zealand and Japan cast is a foul politicization of the WHO—at a moment when its handling of the Covid pandemic and of China is very much in question. And it guarantees politicization again next year, wasting ever more time.
One may hope that parliamentarians in those countries will raise questions about the decision to completely misrepresent Israel’s Covid record and further damage the WHO. What the diplomats and politicians in those governments thought would be gained is never clear. They must know they are harming the WHO, and they should know that such gestures will never satisfy those in their countries whose real goal is eliminating Israel, not rebuking it in a vote in Geneva.
The United Nations is supposedly going to lead the effort to assist Gazans while preventing any of that aid from assisting Hamas. One wonders if those who voted for this resolution ever stop to wonder how such actions affect Israelis’ confidence in the UN system’s ability to do its work reliably, honestly, and courageously in the teeth of a terrorist group that will seek to intimidate it. Or perhaps one doesn’t need to wonder very much. Even during a global pandemic, it seems they do not wonder or they do not care.