Tillerson hints: We may replace UNHRC

Secretary of State hints the U.S. may replace the UNHRC if it doesn't significantly reform its blatant anti-Israel bias.

Elad Benari ,

Rex Tillerson
Rex Tillerson

The United States has indicated that it may replace the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) with “other means” for addressing human rights issues, unless the UN body significantly reforms its blatant anti-Israel bias, JNS reported on Thursday.

“We are either going to reform this thing and make it reflect what it should be reflecting or we will withdraw our support for it,” the report quoted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson as having told a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing.

If the U.S. withdraws from the UNHRC, Tillerson said Washington would “approach human rights issues on a multi-lateral basis with partners who see it the same way we do.”

The UNHRC continuously singles out Israel for criticism, while ignoring other conflicts in the region, such as the ongoing bloody civil war in Syria.

In March, the council passed a series of anti-Israel resolutions, including a motion condemning Israel for its construction in Judea, Samaria, eastern Jerusalem and the Golan Heights and urging states and firms to avoid ties with “settlements”.

Just this past week, the UNHRC issued a report which offers to “advise and support” efforts to create a “blacklist” database of companies operating in Judea, Samaria, the Golan Heights, and eastern Jerusalem, so that the international community could boycott them.

At the Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, which took place on Wednesday, Rep. Francis Rooney (R-FL) told Tillerson, “I wish you would reconsider the $10 million you have in there for the UNHRC.”

“We are looking at those one by one by one and really asking ourselves what is the cost benefit here. In some areas we are either going to reform those or we are going to withdraw from them,” Tillerson replied.

Tillerson’s latest comments on withdrawing U.S. funding from the UNHRC follow similar statements issued earlier this year. In March, he warned that the State Department would “continue to evaluate the effectiveness” of the UN body, and that the U.S. might withdraw funding without “considerable reform.”

The Secretary of State also noted the Trump administration’s “strong principled objection to the Human Rights Council’s biased agenda against Israel.”

One vocal critic of the UN's and specifically the UNHRC's anti-Israel bias has been Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the UN.

Just last week, Haley blasted the UNHRC for its obsession with criticizing Israel, saying, “It is essential that this council address its chronic anti-Israel bias if it is to have any credibility.”

She criticized the council's latest report this week, saying it “reeks of the anti-Israel bias” that she has been calling out since day one on the job.