The Labour Party’s shadow foreign secretary, Lisa Nandy, has launched an investigation into possible reforms to United Nations institutions like the structure of the security council, the role of the general assembly and the powers of the World Health Organization. It will also look into the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the International Court of Justice. This seems a rather strange move from a British political party and one wonders what Labour Party members might think of ministers deciding to use party funds and resources for purposes that have nothing to do with furthering the party’s prospects of winning elections in the UK.
Whatever you might think of the UN, there’s something extremely unsettling about a political party, that has openly declared it’s allegiance to the Zionist movement, proposing to investigate an international body whose Human Rights Council has condemned Israel in no less than 45 UN resolutions since 2013.
The party claims its efforts will be focused on improving the efficiency of UN Institutions while at the same time admitting that ‘numerous past attempts to reform the council, including the expansion of its permanent membership, had foundered on the vetos of the P5 (the 5 permanent members – China, France, Russia, the UK and the US)’.
The review, ordered by the shadow foreign secretary, Lisa Nandy, will be led by Ray Collins, the shadow foreign minister in the Lords. Collins says he thinks the UK needs to take a more consistent approach to human rights and international accountability… “It is not good enough that 11 Saudi officials are sanctioned on one day for their role in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, and then the arms sales to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen are renewed the next day” . Of course this will also ring a few alarm bells amongst people who support Palestinian rights as this is exactly the line that the pro-Israel lobby use against the UN, suggesting that that Israel has been unfairly targeted by the UN. It’s fair to say that the 45 UN resolutions against Israel account for 45.9% of all the country-specific resolutions passed by the Council in total.
Some might say it’s rather telling that Collins didn’t give examples of Israeli atrocities against Palestinians, especially given the fact that Israel has been bombing Gaza for about 11 days now and has recently tightened a 13-year long blockade by banning even more goods and fuel, or point out that, despite 45 UN resolutions against them, we are still continuing to sell arms to Israel.
That Lisa Nandy, of all people, should be the one to instigate this review is telling. Her speech to the Jewish Labour Movement during the leadership hustings (a notoriously pro-Israel lobby group), revealed just how willing she was to continue to perpetuate the myth that the Labour Party, under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, had a problem with antisemitism (Corbyn has frequently spoken out against Israels human rights abuses against Palestinians), despite independent research by the ‘Institute for Jewish Policy Research’ proving to the contrary and data from the Labour Party showing that statistically speaking they had far fewer cases of antisemitism in the Labour Party under Corbyn than they’d ever had and certainly far fewer than the Conservative party or, proportionally speaking, far less cases of antisemitism in the Labour Party than in wider society as a whole.
I would imagine this move by Labour comes as a surprise to many even outside of the party. It will no doubt have some people asking why a British political party, not currently in government, is proposing to review a major international body, when they clearly have no hope of influencing change. It’s especially baffling as the party is unlikely to get international support for any proposals it might come up with.