I went to a UN side-event sponsored by UN Watch, affiliated with the American Jewish Committee. It is another Orwellian group that works to delegitimize the UN but says it does so because it cares deeply about human rights. (I’ll have a lot to say later about the stunningly cynical ways superficial human rights language is being deliberately deployed by groups like UN Watch and The Israel Project to actually undermine and gut the human rights infrastructure.)
The panel featured truly extraordinary people like Esther Mujawayo who survived genocide in Rwanda or Ahmad Batebi who endured repression in Iran. They all talked about the ways the UN failed them, since that is the agenda of UN Watch (do they know they are being used? It is hard to say- they are all wonderful and inspiring.) The icing on the cake, Canadian human rights lawyer, and strangely knee-jerk defender of bad Israeli behavior, Irwin Cotler, used soaring and inspiring language to praise the panelists, condemn racism, and verbally tear Ahmedinejad, and the UN for hosting him, to tiny little pieces.