November 2014 at the UN: US Voted in Favor of Nazism, Racism & Against Palestinian Self-Determination
If the US does not want to keep being seen as a white supremacist state—particularly at a time when its police are murdering unarmed black teens with complete impunity and when it is being called out as an apartheid state by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights—it may want to stop voting in favor of Nazism and racism at the UN.
In the November 2014 meeting of the United Nation General Assembly’s “Third Committee,” the committee responsible for “agenda items relating to a range of social, humanitarian affairs and human rights issues that affect peoples all over the world,” the US engaged in some questionable opposition to measures one would think would be unquestionable.
- A/C.3/69/L.56/Rev.1, “Combating glorification of Nazism”
On 21 November, the General Assemly voted on a measure calling for “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.” 115 countries voted yes; 55 abstained, including many of the leading economic powers—the UK, France, Australia, and even Germany. Just three countries voted no, the US, Ukraine, and Canada.
In other words, the US was implicitly supporting Nazism (this perhaps comes at no surprise, considering the strength of neo-Nazis in Ukraine and relentless US support for the country, in a bid to thwart Russia).
This decision also came about right as news of the US’ “Operation Paperclip” entered somewhat into the media spotlight (it was still largely ignored by the mainstream corporate media). Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist Eric Lichtblau has a new book, The Nazis Next Door: How America Became a Safe Haven for Hitler’s Men, exposing how, from the end of World War II right up until today, the US has secretly supported ex-Nazi officials.
Of the few who recognized this event, some wrote off the US no vote simply as a jab at Russia, who proposed the measure. Yet, when one considers that this by no means constitutes the first time the US has opposed this measure—it has been consistently brought up in the UN General Assembly and the US has consistently voted against it, for years—in conjunction with Operation Paperclip, one begins to see that a much more troubling trend is afoot.
Implicit support of Nazism—as vomit-inducing as it is—is not all, nevertheless.
- A/C.3/69/L.58*, “The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination”
Just half an hour after effectively voting in support of Nazism, the US was one of only seven countries in the world to explicitly vote against “The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.” The US’ no vote was mutually supported only by Israel, Canada, and a modicum of tiny island countries—some of which are under strong US influence, such as the Marshall Islands. In all, 170 countries voted in support of Palestinian self-determination, the overwhelming preponderance of the global community.
This measure was by far the shortest. With just two requirements—recognizing Palestinians’ right to self-determination and then supporting Palestinians in their attempt to realize to this right—it did not ensure the end of Israel’s illegal 48-year military occupation; it did not guarantee an end to Israel’s continued expansion of illegal settlements; it did not establish a state for Palestinians. It was a symbolic measure. That is it. And, by opposing it, the US chose to not just materially oppose the Palestinians’ right to self-determination, but to even symbolically deny them that fundamental human right. Unlike France, the UK, and other countries who steadfastly support Israel’s right to exist as a racist, settler colonialist apartheid state, but at least symbolically claim to tolerate basic Palestinian human rights, on the question of Palestinian human rights, the US prefers teetotalism—complete abstinence, no matter the circumstances.
- A/C.3/69/L.59, “A global call for concrete action for the total elimination of racism”
A few days later, on 26 November, the US expressed more implicit support for racism. It was joined by the UK, Israel, Germany, France, Australia, and Canada in openly opposing “A global call for concrete action for the total elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and the comprehensive implementation of and follow-up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.”
None of this is necessarily unexpected or unprecedented. To those who pay attention to the US’ actions on the global stage, this is in fact normative behavior. To those unfamiliar with the US’ status as a global rogue state and incessant defier of international law, nonetheless, its implicit support for fascism and racism may come as quite the surprise.
More Unreasonable Opposition to More-than-Reasonable Measures
These were not the only uncontroversial measures the US (and its small handful of hegemonic allies) controversially rejected.
- A/C.3/69/L.28/Rev.1, 31, and 33, “Situation of human rights in” North Korea, Syria, and Iran
First, we’ll note some hypocrisy.
On 18 November, the US happily voted yes on condemnations of human rights violations in North Korea, Syria, and Iran—two of three of which are members of what Bush casually referred to as the “Axis of Evil.”
To be clear, North Korea, Syria, and Iran have very, very far-from-positive track records on human rights, and should indeed be denounced. But claiming that the US track record on human rights is any better would be an ignorant and laughable proposition at best—and purposefully misleading at worst. The US has no problem (in fact, it takes great pleasure in) scorning other countries for horrendous human rights violations, yet goes along continuing to commit its own—while implicitly supporting Nazism and racism and explicitly opposing Palestinian human rights.
Moreover, does it strike anyone else odd that, while simultaneously voting in favor of Nazism—the barbaric fascist ideology of the leader of the original Axis of Evil—the US condemned the new Axis of Evil? Few are as adept as Uncle Sam in the art of talking out of both sides of the mouth.
Measures on the “Promotion of peace as a vital requirement for the full enjoyment of all human rights by all,” the “Promotion of a democratic and equitable international order,” “Human rights and unilateral coercive measures,” “Globalization and its impact on the full enjoyment of all human rights,” and “Use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination” were also opposed by the US, yet these were relatively weak proposals, and thus garnered much more opposition.
- A/C.3/69/L.46, “The right to development”
The US once again stood out with its with its 24 November no vote on a measure guaranteeing “The right to development.” Drafted by Cuba, on behalf of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, the measure stresses that principles such as “equality, non-discrimination, accountability, participation and international cooperation, as critical to mainstreaming the right to development at the national and international levels,” and maintains “that the primary responsibility for the promotion and protection of all human rights lies with the State, and reaffirms that States have the primary responsibility for their own economic and social development and that the role of national policies and development strategies cannot be overemphasized.”
The measure also recognizes “that, despite continuous efforts on the part of the international community, the gap between developed and developing countries remains unacceptably wide, that most of the developing countries continue to face difficulties in participating in the globalization process and that many risk being marginalized and effectively excluded from its benefits.” As primary reasons for this trend, it notes the disproportionately negative effects on developing nations of “the ongoing international energy, food and financial crises, as well as the increasing challenges posed by global climate change.”
The US no vote was accompanied by only three countries: Israel, Canada, and the UK—that is to say, the most industrially developed nations in the world. Clearly they do not believe that other countries are granted the same rights as they.
Overall, this was just another year of reactionary US behavior on the international stage. Unfortunately, there is little new about it.