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UN Women’s Rights Commission Singles Out Israel for Condemnation, Ignores Iran

This is reaching the level of self-caricature. No sooner does Iran get a seat on the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women than it uses it with tragicomic predictability:

[The] U.N. policy-making body dedicated to “gender equality and the advancement of women” adopted a resolution accusing Israel of holding back the advancement of Palestinian women, but it took no action on the emergency in Libya or the legally enshrined discrimination faced by women in Iran. The only country-specific resolution passed by the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at its recent session in New York was one condemning Israel over the Palestinian issue.

Iranian prison guards rape female dissidents before executing them, lest their victims go to heaven as virgins. Iranian men get to avail themselves of temporary marriages, de facto legalizing the institutionalized slavery and rape of prepubescent girls. Iranian women are consigned to the backs of buses, have to shroud their bodies from head to toe, and can’t wear anything bright or shiny.

That’s just what’s happening in a single CSW member state.

The greater hypocrisy is what was ignored globally so that the Commission could spend time demonizing Israel. It’s not necessary to belabor the second-class status that women are consigned to throughout the Muslim world, except maybe to note two things that diverge from the quotidian misery.

First, it’s worth noting what’s happening to women in ostensibly egalitarian Turkey, and for that Michael Rubin’s recent post is mandatory reading. Second, not calling out what’s happening to women in Egypt right now is simply unconscionable. A body charged with promoting women’s freedom can’t ignore when freedom in general comes at the expense of women’s physical security, even if horrific gender apartheid has been woven into Egyptian society for centuries. Nina Burleigh is instructive on that last part.

Turkey and Egypt have horrific records on women’s rights. Iran, a CSW member state, is worse than both of them. And yet again Israel got singled out for condemnation, because it’s the UN so why not?


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