Q&A with Suzanne Nossel
Israel and the UN Human Rights Council
Question: Regarding Item 7, the stand-alone agenda item, you painted a depressing picture regarding change in the immediate future. What is the possibility for changing Item 7 in the near and long term, and what advice can you offer to change that environment?
Answer: The agenda item cannot likely be tackled in isolation. While the US would say it has to be addressed—as a matter of credibility of the Council itself --, for most other countries, it is seen in the wider context of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Until that knot of issues is resolved, this change will not be made; the political will is not there. It is hard to embark even on a serious conversation on such reform , as there is a sense that in the current climate, there is no appetite to take it on. No government can defend the stand-alone agenda item devoted to a single country; when pressed, not a single delegation could come up with an argument about why that it was fair or justified or credible. Yet, for each of them, this is not the time to inaugurate the normalization of Israel's status in the UN system; instead, we’ve seen a heightening pressure on Israel through the UN system.
We should still keep a spotlight on Item 7 and raise it; and in fact the US did not relent. But no one else wanted to talk about it. “We made the argument that the manifestation of structural bias made it really difficult for the UN to do credible work on Israel; that argument had a little bit more resonance.”
"For the council to be credible on Israel, it really needed to put Israel on a fair basis; if it did so, it would then become more difficult for Israel or its supporters to reject the Council's scrutiny."
Question: How much has the US success at the Human Rights Council been in fact due to the unprecedented passage of a resolution against Syria, with Arab backing. Gulf States with very bad human rights records are actively supporting these critical resolutions against other Muslim states. Is this sustainable? Is this really only about cornering Iran? Or will there be sustained support for human rights universally by these countries? Also, is Israel unhappy about the HRC?
Answer: The situation is mixed for Israel: they are troubled by the structural bias and they do see the importance of registering this discontent at a high level. At the same time, there are signs of progress: when the US announced its intention to seek a second term, we didn't hear protest from any quarter; even some traditional critics acknowledged that we had made progress. Israel co-sponsored and strongly supported the resolution on Iran and certainly on Libya and Syria. Israel has supported thematic work and is a good partner and has an active delegation in Geneva; they are split on the issue of whether it's better to have the US on the Council, but have acknowledged there are some positives to the US presence there.
Question: Is the support within the Arab League on the human rights resolutions on Libya and Syria, including an additional resolution at the GA on Syria, in fact marking a real sea-change that will be sustained? Will we be seeing these countries, many of them with poor human rights records at home, taking more of a consistent stand?
Answer: It is too early to say, but those votes create an opening and diplomatic opportunity. Central to US diplomacy is seeing if a country has ever voted for anything like this before, and if they had, that can be a useful point later to persuade them to support other things. With Arab support, the mandate on the special rapporteur on Syria was approved. That mandate will have to be renewed. Their votes will probably hold for that. Patterns show delegations don't change their votes that easily, having supported once, it will likely stay. It's an opening. It makes it easier to go to the next issue and point to their record. Will it have any impact on their domestic actions and records? It’s hard to say, but these are tools that domestic groups can use. ”You've called out the government of Syria for these abuses and crackdowns and mistreatment of protesters, and now you're doing the same thing at home." So activists and other countries can use this to try to persuade, but it remains to be seen if it will go further.
US Policy; Unaddressed Issues
Question: What are the tasks the US didn't get done at the HRC? Is there more it could do, to take issues where US has personal interest, such as in Bahrain, Afghanistan and Iraq, obviously places with huge human rights issues? If the US could move these issues forward, it would be seen as the US subjecting itself to scrutiny that others wouldn't allow, and practicing what it preaches. There is also the US failure throughout the Obama Administration to issue a true standing invitation for Special Rapporteurs to come in to allow better access to Guantanamo. Could that change?
Answer: A challenge the US faced when it joined was that the Council had no credibility within the US government. When we wanted to bring a situation to the Council, the first people we had to convince were our own colleagues in the regional bureaus. These people had thought about the Council solely through the lens of its anti-Israel resolutions. They didn't think it could be effective at all, and were really skeptical about getting involved. “We had to slowly build up through a sense of the resolutions that the Council could have a role to play. As for the highest profile foreign policy issues on Afghanistan and Iraq, we couldn't even start that conversation, it was seen as so remote from an intensive discussion about how to handle those very challenging situations over the last couple of years.”
To make the case inside the government with allies about how the Council could be helpful --there might be a case now for a resolution on Iraq. Is there a role for stepped up technical assistance by the OHCHR? There is a human rights team in Iraq, could that work be strengthened? Having some reporting at the Council might be useful in providing another source of pressure and leverage to ensure human rights as Iraq transitions. If you want US leadership, that will be the way you can get it, not through making the point that the US has no credibility unless it turns the spotlight on itself, where the US has had a direct hand. That argument won't prevail. The argument should be that it is beneficial for the kinds of things that the US wants to see in those countries; that's the way the case could be made. For example, we did a small resolution on Afghanistan, looking just at attacks on girls' schools, which is a matter of priority for the US, something that the Afghan government was concerned with. That was a tiny way we could take it on, not as consequential as some other things that we did.
On the question of the ‘standing invitation,’ a lot of the Western countries have said the UN rapporteurs are welcome to come whenever they want to carry out research and investigations. The US has never said that –yet it has facilitated the visits of many rapporteurs. My office hosted a lot of those visits. The US attitude is generally welcoming. Some of the countries that issue these ‘standing invitations’ in fact haven't admitted rapporteurs -- Iran has a ‘standing invitation’ but has never admitted a rapporteur in the last 10 years. It doesn't always mean very much. The reason the US hasn't done this has to do with the terms that some of these investigators set, i.e. regarding the detainees at Guantanamo, rapporteurs want to see them privately, and the military has set some restrictions on that. There’s always been a question, if you issue a ‘standing invitation,’ to what degree can you negotiate the terms of the visit? I don't think it's out of the question.
Israel and Council Membership
Question: How many members on the Human Rights Council, what is the criteria for membership, and why isn't Israel on it?
Answer: There are 47 members. Elections are by regional group, so each regional group has a certain number of seats. A country runs for 2 three-year terms, and there are term-limits, so there is some degree of turnover. Israel is a member of the regional grouping “West European and Others Group” (WEOG) in NY, and the elections are in New York, so there is nothing technically barring Israel from standing for a seat. It is unlikely Israel would run for a seat, again, due to "grave concerns about the structural bias of the Council".
Question: Most of the resolutions you’ve indicated as having been accomplished by the US all happened after the turmoil in the Middle East. Do you think the states that supported them would have done so if the events hadn't preceded it?
Answer: Like any political body, the Council is responsive to world events, so when the prices in Cote D'Ivoire began to escalate, that's when the Council got involved; when the crisis in Libya began, that's when the Council got involved. The Council has not been as good at chronic situations, but as we have seen over the last year, there is an improved level of responsiveness to breaking crises situations such as those related to the Arab Spring. As was pointed out, the Council didn't address Bahrain or Egypt in the early days of crackdowns there, and its response to Yemen is muted for various reasons. As for chronic situations such as Iran, when there was a crisis in the summer of 2009, by the time we dealt with it, it was falling out of the headlines, by that time, the momentum for that resolution had died. A crisis does focus the mind, it grabs the headlines.
Question: Is the US entitled to the credit for these resolutions, or are they more about the fact that other Arab and Muslim states were able to split and vote against other Muslim states?
Answer: At the point of the first Syria resolution – at an earlier stage of evolution of these types of resolutions, all the Arab members of the Council voted in favor, except one that abstained and three were absent,--- that is pretty unusual. They weren't sure what position to take. So I don't think it's the case that they arrived at a position and then the US came after that. Certainly in the case of the initial April resolution on Syria, the U.S. did play the role of putting it on the agenda, and in some sense, in so doing, forced others to take a position and think through where they really stood. Then the position of others evolved, and they became more supportive as the crisis wore on and they backed off the kind of forbearance they had previous had for the Syrian government. So yes, their positions evolved. but it takes some initiative from the US to pose the questions to get others even to react.
‘Defamation of Religions’ and Resolution 16/18 which replaced it
Question: As for the defamation resolution, it's correct that the resolution doesn't speak of "defamation of religions" but if this resolution were to become law, would it not be a violation of the US Constitution.?
On defamation, that issue has been hotly contested, as to incitement, and what constitutes incitement. The US has a legal standard that is really the most speech-friendly in the world, we ban only “incitement to imminent violence.” Even in Europe, concepts like "incitement to hatred" or "incitement to discrimination" can be valid grounds for prohibitions on speech, and the resolution adopted in March by consensus uses the US standard -- incitement to imminent violence. We said we couldn't agree to anything lesser, that was our Constitutional standard, we were not willing to compromise on that and had no give there. We got a final resolution that adopted that standard. And that resolution attracted the praise of the Heritage Foundation and the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, so it had really very broad support. There is still a debate whether we should be talking to Muslim countries about these issues or whether even entering into that conversation could lead down a dangerous path, so that will continue to be debated. But if you look at the work that is done and the resolution adopted, it's such a significant improvement over the past text in this direction of supporting prohibitions of speech and really an about-face, turning away from that and the fact that every country and the president of the Council was able to support it really constitutes a significant political movement in the direction of free speech, and that's something the US is rightly proud of.
Question: Regarding resolution 16/18 at the Human Rights Council (“Combating Intolerance…”), a similar resolution was adopted in the General Assembly which had been endorsed by the Third Committee. It had a text similar to 16/18. Now defamation is formally off the table, do you have any sense it might creep up again in other UN forums in Geneva or New York or other formats? Is it definitively buried for good or will it appear again? I fear US diplomats have had a tremendous victory in burying this concept in diplomatic terms. But it will be seen as a short-term victory and governments won't be working on this. Will it fade away within the US and inside the Council, or is there a way to ensure governments work on intolerance, but through non-legal means?
Answer: “The minute we passed, the resolution, our thoughts turned to how to make sure it doesn't creep back.” We feared a scenario like the pastor in Florida who wanted to burn the Koran. If it happens in three years, and somebody says: “Whatever happened to ‘defamation of religions’? We need to revive that we had an alternative, was it consequential, did it lead to anything positive? or was it just a paper?”
So the question is how to make it real. In Istanbul, the US started meeting with foreign ministers committing themselves to implementation of the action steps in Resolution 16/18, which was the March consensus alternative to “defamation of religions.” In December 2011, a meeting took place at the State Dept bringing together practitioners from 18 countries around the world, taking a look at practices. That's the key, that this resolution be developed into a robust, sustained effort to make the words on the page of the resolution a reality and ensure there is follow up. If there was no follow up at some stage someone will see an opening and an opportunity to try to revive the idea of prohibitions on speech. There is a fear that by even having this conversation, you are even ceding too much to others' approaches on these issues.
If we had said a few years ago that there will be no more defamation of religion, people would have thought that we were deluding ourselves that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation would ever give up that concept. No one thought it would happen. So we have to recognize the amount of movement on this issue and work now on consolidating it.
Country Resolutions; Israel; Goldstone Report
Question: From what you’re saying, there are some contradictions at the UN: on the one hand, as the US returned to the Human Rights Council, some NGOs and the EU gave the US the advice not to have country resolutions at all. On the other hand, there's of course still the separate agenda item on Israel. Another contradiction can be found in the fact that on the one hand, excesses on Israel aren't going to change until you fix the peace – as you noted, the dynamics outside the UN are what causes what happens inside. On the other hand, you're saying no, we should show up and try to get the special session on Sudan so that it is more balanced. Or, for example, at the Commission on the Status of Women, for years it only had a resolution on Palestinian women and then finally a resolution on Afghan women, too. It seems like it's worth showing up, to change that balance, on its own terms.
But then you hinted at another argument that this scrutiny doesn't have its desired effect. It’s not just the balance question and not just the question of external forces, but even in its own terms, it doesn't work. I must ask about the Goldstone report because that's the emblematic case for many people. Some felt it had bias built into it; he himself repudiated at least some of it. It was destructive for the UN, it was destructive for the cause even in its own terms in the larger community. What can be said looking back on it? Does that kind of scrutiny change what it expects to change? Does it have an effect on Israel?
Answer: Yes, there is a total double standard on county situations. We get countries that don't want to support country resolutions or naming and shaming. India does not support country resolutions, but always votes to criticize Israel. It's an entrenched policy, there’s barely even a conversation about it. “There is an entrenched double standard.” Can you make change? “You can make change when it comes to putting agenda items on the agenda and broadening the conversation, but when it comes to really changing countries' positions in the direction of a more objective approach to Israel, that's the piece that's been difficult over the years although you see somewhat in the numbers that there's been a lessoning of the intensity”. The Council's no longer the focal point in the way that it was for the application of this kind of pressure."
The conversation has really changed. Before we joined, Israel was "topic A" of conversation all the time. But it really hasn't been lately, because some of these other situations have been on the agenda.
We want to get to a situation where Israel is treated like other countries. Not that it's not looked at, at all, or that it’s above scrutiny. On the contrary. Israel itself underwent the Universal Periodic Review, every country has to report on its own human rights record." It's not that there should never be a resolution, or that Israel never should warrant attention or that there shouldn't even be circumstances that warrant a special session. “But it's the structural bias and the pattern of resolutions that just make it difficult to consider anything regarding Israel on its own terms, because it comes in the context of this stand-alone agenda item and as an exclusion from the regional group."
Does it have any effect? Certainly the Goldstone report was explosive and there was a lot of concern about it in Israel. It wasn't the only report on Operation Cast Lead. There were other reports done by human rights organizations, and allegations that they brought out. Israel did its own extensive investigations. Israel looked at what happened and looked at the cases in Goldstone’s report. Goldstone’s report certainly got looked at, and was part of what created some pressure to really focus in on Operation Cast Lead, so in that sense, some of the people who support it probably think that it did have its effect.
Israel, Amnesty International
Question: Some portion of the Jewish community has been very critical of President Obama's positions on Israel; some of those same people are very critical of Amnesty International on these same issues. Please comment.
Answer: Some measure of criticism is going to be unavoidable. It's become a very polarized debate and a challenging moment. Seeing Israel's isolation globally, even compared to 10 years ago, which was a different historical moment, was striking to me. So was seeing how difficult it was to do some of the things that 10 years ago seemed possible in terms of normalization of Israel's situation in the UN.
For the human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty, the task is to focus on applying the human rights lens, rather than a political lens. “That's the role of an organization like Amnesty and that's the approach I would hope to bring within Amnesty International USA to the work, so that it is recognized as being credible, objective human rights work.”
Question: What grade would you give President Obama?
Answer: I would not assign a grade, but honestly, seeing it on the inside, for my own work, the collaboration with the Israelis is very deep and broad. It's been a very challenging and frustrating time for people who came into this Administration with a lot of hope for progress that could be accomplished. It has been discouraging and frustrating to try to move forward, for many different reasons, but it's not for lack of effort of lot of talented and really committed people who really want to see positive change happen for Israel and the region.
Question: Talented people within the Administration?
Answer: Yes, on the president's team.
Human Rights Groups and Israel
Question: Do you feel that human rights organizations are moving away from what many felt was an unbalanced support of the Palestinian interests against Israel? Or do you think that hasn't changed?
Answer: It is hard to characterize a change over time. I think there's a lot of discussion within all of these organizations certainly of the need to be perceived as bringing objectivity, sticking to sound methodology, focusing on their role as a human rights organization. There's been a lot of discussion of that, and some of that manifests in differences of approach. But it is about really looking at serious human rights abuses wherever they occur in an objective way, that's the effort I would make.
Question: Regarding women's rights as human rights, this is the one area where Israel and many other countries have collaborated. Despite the unfortunate focus on Palestinian women in resolutions, there has been a lot of progress on other issues in which the Israeli delegation has engaged dramatically.
What is the prognosis for women's rights within the Human Rights Council and other UN bodies? The US joined 25 others in releasing a National Action Plan on women, peace and security which relates to UN SC 1325. There are many of us here that believe that including women in peace negotiations and human rights negotiations will lead to broader understanding that this is an a priori human rights issue. Has progress been made at the HRC?
Since the Arab awakening, Egypt has gone the wrong way on women's rights, so in your answer, could you address that situation? Does it indicate that the Middle East is not changing and going in the wrong direction as a result of the Awakening?
Answer: A significant resolution in September 2010 was the resolution to establish a new expert working group on laws and practices which discriminate against women. The US played a strong role; we worked with Mexico and Colombia, who were the sponsors. There is now an Israeli member of that working group. Part of my portfolio was also the establishment of UN Women, and the appointment of Michelle Bachelet to head it. I worked with her, and she came to Washington last spring after a visit in the Middle East, and was very concerned about the situation, in particular regarding women's political participation. We actually worked with her and Secretary Clinton at a high-profile event, at the opening of the General Assembly, with the two of them and women leaders from around the world, heads of states, and foreign ministers, on women's political participation. This is being followed through by UN women and the White House which will be reported on next year at the GA. You've mentioned the women, peace, and security resolution, and this has been a tremendous focus of the Obama Administration. Her first Security Council meeting on that topic came in 2009, and there has been lots of work on the National Action Plan just put out.
Israel has had a role in that work, and we have worked very closely with Israel on the "positive agenda". That means bringing Israel’s skills, values, and know-how to the UN system in all kinds of positive ways; its technical assistance in agriculture at the General Assembly; Israel is seeking out leadership seats in some of the UN technical agencies. It was our view that this was part of the normalization process as well and was a piece that could proceed even at a difficult and challenging political moment. We found a lot of receptivity to that and like-mindedness among some Israel officials so they've been looking at some of the ways for them to participate as a normal member of the UN and bring to the table what they have to be a constructive contributor within the UN system –such as the floating hospital for relief effort in Haiti; the contribution of some police to UN peacekeeping; a whole variety of things are being done to form part of the story around the normalization of Israel within the UN System.
Human Rights versus other Foreign Policy Concerns
Question: How does the Administration balance human rights concerns with other foreign policy concerns. For example: when North Korea's record comes up at the Human Rights Council -- assuming the leader hadn't died. There are delicate negotiations to get North Korea to give up nuclear weapons, so you can't have that and then also have a searching review about their human rights situation at the UN. What do you do then?
Answer: North Korea is not that hard a case, because they are really among the worst human rights violators in the world, their record is so egregious, and there is such a wide consensus—so that case is made. The tough case is more the borderline cases where there are competing interests. When that sort of case comes up, like anything else, there’s a debate and discussion. Some come at it with a human rights perspective -- that's why you have a human rights bureau in the State Department -- they make the argument that US credibility depends on taking a stand. Then there are other people with a different hat on who talk about what they think are interests that might be compromised if the US takes a tough stand on the issue.
"You've seen this on the Arab Spring as it unfolds this year. Different positions can carry the day at different moments, and people work to make more systemic and structural arguments how the US global position in the world depends on being seen as true to its values and credible and how its ability to be part of the future in certain part of the world may hinge on being seen as standing up for the rights of those who are trying to gain their freedom or bring about democracy." This is an age-old tendency that will always be there to some degree.
Question: “Defamation of religion” is an appropriate subject for the Human Rights Council. Why couldn't the US propose a resolution condemning Iran for talking about the destruction of another member country, as the president of Iran did, about wiping Israel off the map? Even if the resolution is defeated, why wouldn't it be an appropriate thing for the US to raise in the Council?
Answer: This is something we've said in our national capacity, I'm not sure that we would propose a resolution at the Council. I'm not sure. Would it pass? I'm not sure.
This raises another issue. Should we do things that will lose? Should we take on issues we know we will lose? In the past, the US did run some resolutions year after year that didn't get a majority. This 2-year period, we took the approach that we would take on issues that we thought we could win, and that seemed to build on itself. When we had a few victories, where there was simply a decision to take a principled stand. I think it was a question of where you can make a difference. In some cases where you don't think you can prevail -- that can be a victory for the country you're targeting. That was one thing we were very conscious of, we would never wanted to hand a victory to an Iran or a Syria.
Human Rights Council Membership
Question: One of the biggest sources of criticism of the Council and the easiest one to point to is the membership issue. You briefly talked about the review of the Council where the US tried to do something to improve membership criteria and failed. You can work on countries like Syria on a case by case basis but do you see any strategy that this Administration or successive ones could take to address the membership problem, as it is fundamental to change.
Answer: I think it will be very hard to stiffen the criteria and say only countries who sign these treaties or issued a standing invitation will be eligible for membership. That's a tough battle to win for a lot of reasons. Something we did and on which we'd encourage advocates to stay focused is to have the good countries run and play a constructive role and bring a principled approach. They need to be encouraged to run ahead of time.
Another crucial element for which NGOs deserve a lot of credit is the idea of competitive elections. The only way we were able to beat Iran was because there were five countries running for four seats, so we had to convince others. Syria was running on a clean slate, and it was hard to convince another country to come in.
The US is running for re-election on a competitive slate. There's a lot of hesitation around that. Other EU countries are running against us, and that could be a little bit sticky. But what's good for the goose is good for the gander. We could hardly say competition was important in the African or Asian region, but that we weren't prepared to compete in our region.
Drones and Human Rights
Question: There has recently been a US expansion on using drones. Why has there been no discussion of this in Geneva? The UN Secretary General doesn't wish to speak about this. Professor Philip Alston has produced a report, but he's outside the institution. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Pillay hasn't raised it. Is the US not concerned, as it develops a legal basis for drones, that in 5-10 years, China, Russia, everyone will have drones and will be rocketing their enemies next door. It's striking that there isn't more being done on this.
Answer: This is one of those issues that is tightly controlled. I am not speaking for the Administration, and never could on this issue. It is surprising that there hasn't been more of a drumbeat. Maybe that will change -- now that there are people in civil society doing work on this issue-- to spark more of a debate. People are unsure how to look at it. On the one hand, there's a humanitarian case that drones help minimize civilian casualties. There are legal justifications for drones. So there is some confusion. As to whether governments are raising the issue at the UN, in fact there are always sharp questions raised. From the UN rapporteur on extrajudicial killings. This topic does come up and tends to be heated.
Question: The US has been very reactive to events. But can a focus be placed on what will you look forward to? What can we do proactively?
Answer: The NGO sector played and will play a catalytic role in putting these issues on the agenda and forcing these conversations on issues like “defamation of religions,” Iran, and women's rights. This is really pushing the US government, and this should be an issue we take on and take seriously and commit ourselves to getting something done, key role for groups like Amnesty and Human Rights First.
US Strategic Approach to Human Rights Council: Question from JBI’s Felice Gaer
I would like to express admiration for the extraordinary efforts and impressive accomplishments you have made at the Human Rights Council and other UN bodies. Two years ago, no one would have believed that it was possible to get such accomplishments, so kudos to you.
So, how did you do it? The US has a goal to break blocs; to get governments to stop voting in blocs in the UN’s human rights bodies. But countries don't break patterns like that casually. You worked all the time, -- we heard you were always on the phone, you were able to call people and twist arms and get governments to act. You can't make change all at once, but by setting goals and pursuing them, making a serious effort to achieve them, did that bring about substantial change? Are there others still inside the government like you?
Answer: It was a team effort, we had a great ambassador and team. JBI was among those who argued first that there should be a stand-alone ambassador for the Human Rights Council. The US is the only country that has someone who has that role exclusively, who is 100 percent focused on the HRC. Others have responsibility also for all the technical and specialized agencies based in Geneva. Amb. Eileen Donahoe's mission has been to try to make good of the US decision to join the Council. She did not come with diplomatic experience but she has a natural talent. She is very warm and direct and disarming to some of the other delegations because she calls it like it is. She has been a wonderful partner because she had a similar temperament, and wanted to get things done, maybe too quickly for some. She deserves the lion's share of the credit.
“There is also the work in capitals, mobilizing across the State Department machinery so that our ambassadors in capitals were engaged in the important issues, so that we could call them up and reach out to counterparts in foreign ministries and get the support we needed.” We took the conversation out of Geneva in many cases --because there is still a bit of that club mentality there. Countries are used to doing things a certain way, whether it's their voting pattern, or there's another ambassador they know and all of a sudden there's a resolution against that country. But we had to be able to reach beyond that and engage capitals for the conversation on the merits, Taking personalities out of it was important, but having the strong support from the top. President Obama and Secretary Clinton personally cared deeply about “defamation of religions” and made that a priority for us and the commitment for human rights. If we could get something good done, that was going to be a step forward for human rights, then we would have the backing to do that –and that empowered the team that worked on this.
I also give a lot of credit to the foreign service and civil service officers. It’s really a very talented group of people out there doing this diplomacy day in and day out, very dedicated, very knowledgeable. They loved doing this work. It was satisfying for them getting things done. They put in a lot of extra hours and really creative engagement, so it was a great team to work with.
JBI’s Chair, E. Robert Goodkind: Conclusion
Thank you Suzanne for being a great representative of all Americans. We are proud that you represented us, and you have proved that the position JBI took in advocating that the US join the Council was the correct one. While we are sorry you have left the government, we wish you the greatest luck in your next position.