The U.S. May Leave the U.N. Human Rights Council Over ‘Anti-Israel Bias’

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The U.S. is expected to announce Tuesday that it may withdraw from the U.N. Human Rights Council, pending reforms to policies and removing what Washington views as a perceived “anti-Israel bias” among member states.

Reuters reports that diplomats and activists are expecting U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley to deliver an ultimatum when she addresses members in Geneva for a three-week session. Haley has recently ramped up her criticism of the council, warning in an opinion column published in the Washington Post last week that she will “outline changes that must be made.”

Haley accused the council of “whitewashing brutality” by welcoming countries such as Venezuela and Cuba as members, though she did not mention the inclusion of other alleged rights violators such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt, both U.S. allies. The Ambassador also said the council must “end its practice of wrongly singling out Israel for criticism.”

“When the council passes more than 70 resolutions against Israel,” Haley wrote, “and just seven resolutions against Iran […] you know something is seriously wrong.”

The administration of President Donald Trump is not the first to criticize the council for its focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Former President George W. Bush boycotted the council in 2007, and the U.S. was later brought back into the fold when Barack Obama assumed office in 2009.

The possibility of a U.S. exit from the council has alarmed human rights groups, including those with links to Israel. Reuters reports that a letter written to Haley in May from eight independent groups, including Freedom House and the Jacob Blaustein Institute, warned that a U.S. exit might make Israel more vulnerable to targeting by other members.


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