Since the UN Human Rights Council’s founding, the int’l body’s ‘chronic anti-Israel bias’ has been manifested by condemning Israel 78 times, incongruously more than all other countries in the world combined, bringing the US envoy to proclaim, “Actions make [it] clear that the organization lacks the credibility needed to be a true advocate for human rights,” with PM Netanyahu referring to it as a “circus of the absurd.”
The United States is edging closer to quitting the United Nations rights body after talks on an attempted reform of the organization failed to meet Washington’s demands with anti-Israeli bias cited as a major obstacle, Reuters reported on Thursday citing activists and diplomats.
Sources speaking on a condition of anonymity, told Reuters that the US’s retreat from the organization appeared to be “imminent” but no further details were provided. Diplomatic sources added that it was not a matter of if, but when.
The next session of the Geneva forum is set to open on Monday and will end on July 6.
“We are still moving ahead with our engagement for the coming session,” a separate US official confirmed amid speculation of a pull-out.
In March of this year, following the council’s adoption of five resolutions condemning Israel , the US warned that it was losing patience with the body and threatened to quit.
Motions adopted against the Jewish state were over settlement building in the West Bank, the “human rights situation” in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the “right of the Palestinian people to self-determination” and on the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights.
US Ambassador Nikki Haley said in a statement at the time that the council was “grossly biased against Israel,” noting that it had adopted only three resolutions separately targeting North Korea, Iran and Syria.
The Council’s membership also includes states that watchdogs say have checkered human rights records, including Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Egypt.
“Our patience is not unlimited. Today’s actions make clear that the organization lacks the credibility needed to be a true advocate for human rights,” Haley said in March.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the body as a “circus of the absurd” whilst spokesman for the foreign ministry Emmanuel Nahshon said it was beholden to “bloodthirsty dictatorships.”
In May, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman also called for Israel and the US to withdraw from the UNHRC, a panel of which Israel is not currently a member, calling it a “hypocrisy-fest.”
Last month the forum voted to initiate an investigation into the the shooting of over 100 Gaza protesters by Israeli forces amid a string of “Great March of Return” protests along the border. The purpose of the probe is to “establish the facts and circumstances” around “alleged violations and abuses including those that may amount to war crimes and to identify those responsible”.
Haley has over the past year repeatedly warned that the United States was ready to walk away from the 47-member body established in 2006 to promote and protect human rights worldwide.
Israel is the only country that has a dedicated agenda item at the council, a mechanism that the US and some European countries view as inappropriate.
Since the UNHRC was founded in 2006, the council has condemned Israel 78 times, more than all of the other countries in the world combined. In the first year, the council’s first 11 resolutions targeting a specific nation were aimed at Israel.
The United States, since US President Donald Trump’s arrival to the White House, has quit the UN cultural agency UNESCO, cut UN funding and announced plans to quit the UN-backed Paris climate agreement.
(Staff with agencies)
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