Bias at the U.N.?

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on May 13, 2009

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Directions

-Read the excerpt below from honestreporting.com.
-Read "Types of Media Bias" in the right column. Then answer the questions.

The U.N. used the ‘Collective Punishement Model’ – they withheld humanitarian aid to civilians in an effort to free hostages in Sudan, but criticized Israel for blocking non-essential supplies in an effort to force Hamas to end its rocket attacks on Israeli civilians.

Wayne Long, a former UN security officer in Somalia sheds … light on how he dealt with pirates who kidnapped UN aid workers and other foreign nationals.

His description of Somalia sounds awfully like Gaza, where Gilad Shalit is being held captive. Long writes in the NY Times:

Eventually, after long and heated internal discussion, the United Nations security team persuaded the United Nations country team that the most effective approach would be to use humanitarian aid and assistance as a lever to gain release of hostages.

Somalia is pretty much a stateless state. Humanitarian aid and clan association are major centers of gravity. In fact, clan leaders stay in power in part by controlling the distribution of aid. Our strategy was therefore simple: United Nations assistance was withheld from the Somali clan or region by which or in which hostages were being held until those hostages were released. In every case there was a release, and in no case were hostages harmed or ransom paid. (On the downside, no pirates were brought to trial or punished in any way.)

In 1995, for example, the water supply for Mogadishu, the capital, was shut off by the United Nations humanitarian agencies until a hostage who worked for another aid organization was released.

Let’s imagine the headlines if Israel followed the UN’s “collective punishment model” for freeing captives. [“Collective punishment for Gaza is wrong -U.N.”]

Read the original post at honestreporting.com’s blog backspin.typepad.com/backspin/2009/04/the-uns-collective-punishment-model.html.

Questions

The purpose of the U.N. (from its website) is “to bring all nations of the world together to work for peace and development, based on the principles of justice, human dignity and the well-being of all people.”

Do you think the U.N. was justified in criticizing Israel for blocking non-essential supplies to the Gaza Strip, when they themselves used even stronger methods to free hostages in Sudan?  Or is the U.N. displaying bias against Israel?  Explain your answer.
(Read the full Reuters article explaining the U.N.’s position at
reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSN18343083.)