On July 23rd, the United Nations Economic and Social Council condemned Israel in two resolutions. 

One of the resolutions claimed that Israel systematically discriminates against Palestinian women because, as ECOSOC states that the council has grave concern about the continuing systematic violation of the human rights of the Palestinian people by Israel, the occupying Power, and its impact on women and girls” and that the Israeli occupation remains a major obstacle for Palestinian women and girls with regard to the fulfillment of their rights, and their advancement, self-reliance and integration in the development of their society.”

It is maddening to me that this council has decided to condemn Israel for this alleged discrimination, but fails to condemn and even punish the evidence-backed discrimination against women in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, all of whom sit on this council. The people who voted against this measure are two lonely countries: the United States and Canada. There were 9 abstentions from Brazil, Cameroon, Germany, Jamaica, Mexico, Romania, Togo, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. It is incredibly disappointed that our allies are failing to stand against human’s rights violations in countries that currently sit on the council nor do they defend the only democracy and one of the most pro-women countries in the Middle East. 

Hillel Neuer, director of the UN Watch, said the following in a press release on the website:

“The UN reached new heights of absurdity by singling out Israel alone on women’s rights, yet saying nothing on Iran holding women’s rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh behind bars, Saudi Arabia jailing and torturing women’s rights activists, and subjugating women under harsh male guardianship laws, or on Yemen denying women hospital treatment without the permission of a male relative”

“When you have Iran, Saudi Arabia and Yemen among the UN council members accusing Israel of violating women’s rights, you are in the theater of the absurd.”

I understand the concern for women living in areas where they are a minority. I empathize with how scary that reality is for so many women and children. What I do not understand is the blatant anti-Israel sentiments happening on the world stage when known violators of natural human rights are sitting on this council.

Iran is arresting women for their protests against mandatory dress laws. Women make up for 16% of the workforce. The country doesn’t allow women or girls to attend sporting events. In fact, women still have to have permission from a male guardian’s approval to be married. Women in Iran can not obtain a passport without the approval of her husband.

Saudia Arabia, where flogging by lashes is still a legal punishment and children can be charged and sentenced as adults if they show any signs of puberty. Like Iran, women in Saudi Arabia must receive approval from a male guardian for travel, work, healthcare, marry, and obtain a passport. 

Yemen’s females face severe discriminate and threats of violence. According to Human Rights Watch, 3 million women and girls in this county were at risk of violence in 2018. Like in Iran and Saudi Arabia, women can not marry without a male guardian’s permission. In fact, they don’t have equal rights to men when it comes to divorce or child custody. 

It is an atrocity that people are so caught up in the anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiments that they ignore women being flogged for being raped, women not having voting rights, women not having any autonomy over anything they wish to do. All in the name of political grandstanding.


The UN has proven time and time again that they don’t take anything seriously. Their resolutions are ridiculous at best.

Caroline C.
FFL Cabinet Member
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