MidEast

UK Calls on UN Human Rights Council to Stop Singling Out Israel

Britain on Monday called on the UN Human Rights Council to end its discriminatory treatment of Israel, joining the United States in criticizing the body for its disproportionate focus on the Jewish State, The Times of Israel reported.

Addressing the 38th council session in New York, British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson discredited the council’s controversial Agenda Item 7, a permanent fixture on the schedule exclusively devoted to discussing rights abuses in the West Bank and Gaza.

“We share the view that the dedicated Agenda Item 7 focused solely on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories is disproportionate and damaging to the cause of peace,” Johnson said. The minister threatened that “unless things change we shall vote next year against all resolutions introduced under Item 7.”

Israel is the only country in the UN Human Rights Council with a dedicated council item. Every council session includes an agenda item on so-called country specific situations, known as Agenda Item 4.

The U.S., Australia and some European countries have sided with Israel in condemning Agenda Item 7 as a disproportionate tool to single out the Jewish State for discrimination, while countries with worse rights records in recent years, like Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, have been spared such intense scrutiny.

Previous U.S. administrations have distanced themselves from Agenda Item 7, however, President Donald Trump has raised the prospect of withdrawing from the council altogether unless it is scrapped. According to some sources, the announcement could be made as soon as this week.

Senior sources familiar with the situation say it is now a matter of when, not if, until the U.S. will announce its withdrawal from the council, threatened last year by U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley. During her visit to Geneva a year ago, Haley branded the council a “forum for politics, hypocrisy and evasion.”

Haley accused member states such as Venezuela, Cuba, China, and Burundi of failing to “uphold the highest standards” of human rights in their own countries, while facilitating what she said was the council’s anti-Israel bias.

Efforts by Haley and other senior U.S. diplomats to reform the council have failed in recent months.

[Photo: Foreign & Commonwealth Office / YouTube]