The United Nations is taking heat for warning that “racism and xenophobia are on the rise in America” in the wake of last weekend’s Charlottesville violence – amid criticism that their “sudden concern with anti-Semitism” is “disingenuous” given the U.N.’s past treatment of Israel.
The group called on the Trump administration to open an investigation into the tragic events last weekend in Charlottesville, Va., where a car attack killed a counter-protester at a white supremacist rally.
A statement published on the website for the U.N. Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner website called on U.S. authorities to prosecute racist hate crimes and for an independent investigation into the events.
“Racism and xenophobia are on the rise across the USA,” a group of U.N. human rights "experts" said.
“We call upon the U.S. Government and State authorities to adopt effective policies as a matter of priority, to urgently tackle the manifestations of incitement to racial violence, and to understand how they affect social cohesion,” the statement read.
The Justice Department has launched a federal civil rights investigation into the weekend violence.
The U.N. experts demanded continued attention from the administration, saying: “The government must be vigilant in combating all acts of racism, xenophobia and racist violence, wherever they occur. Recent incidents in California, Oregon, New Orleans and Kentucky, as well as Charlottesville, demonstrate the geographical spread of the problem.”
Numerous groups and political leaders have specifically criticized President Trump’s response to the violence, for initially blaming “many sides” – and returning to faulting “both sides” even after condemning white supremacists and neo-Nazis.
But some challenge the U.N.’s credibility on the issue, considering their history of hammering Israel while overlooking the offenses of other Middle Eastern countries.
Anne Bayefsky, director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust and president of Human Rights Voices, complained of a double standard employed by the U.N. experts.
“The trouble with so-called U.N. human rights experts is that their notorious selectivity makes it hard to take them seriously,” she told Fox News.
Bayefsky, an NGO delegate at the Human Rights Council, warned of its long history of anti-U.S. bias.
“Those who welcome this U.N. intervention should be aware that their comments … can be added to a long list of anti-American outbursts, like the former U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights questioning the legality of killing of Usama bin Laden,” she said.
The statement mentioned anti-Semitism once, in reference to the demonstrators in Charlottesville shouting “anti-Semitic” chants, but Bayefsky questioned their professed concern on the issue.
“These same authorities on racism champion the U.N.'s racist Durban Declaration, support the U.N.'s rampant discriminatory treatment of the Jewish state, and turn a blind eye to modern forms of anti-Semitism. So their sudden concern with anti-Semitism in the United States appears disingenuous, to say the least,” she said.
Earlier this week, U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres refrained from directly criticizing Trump over his Charlottesville comments, while warning that racism and xenophobia are “poisoning our societies.”
“I do not comment on what presidents say. I affirm principles, and the principles I affirm are very clear,” he told reporters at the world body in New York, as he cited racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia as some of the ills plaguing societies.
Fox News sent questions to the three U.N. experts through their spokesman that asked what their findings were based upon and whether the U.S. was singled out; Fox News has not yet received a response.
The three U.N. “experts” are Mutuma Ruteere, special rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance; Sabelo Gumezde, who chairs a group of experts on people of African descent; and Anastasia Crickley, chairwoman of the committee on the elimination of racial discrimination.
Ben Evansky reports for Fox News on the United Nations and international affairs.
He can be followed @BenEvansky