Cruz applauds Trump over UNHRC withdrawal

Texas Senator says UNHRC spends time criticizing Israel while ignoring crimes of groups like Hamas.

Elad Benari ,

Ted Cruz
Ted Cruz

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Wednesday applauded President Donald Trump for withdrawing the United States from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

“The United States has been legitimizing the thugs and autocrats on the United Nations Human Rights Council for far too long. This is a body that claims to sit in judgment about human rights, but includes human rights abusers such as Venezuela, China, and Cuba. It claims to be objective, but spends its time and resources attacking Israel while ignoring the crimes of terrorist groups like Hamas,” Cruz said in a statement.

“Participation in the UNHRC did nothing to advance America's national security interests. I have long called for ending that participation, and I commend the Trump administration for its decision,” he added.

Cruz has condemned the UNHRC several times in the past, and in 2014 he introduced and passing a resolution condemning Hamas’ use of human shields and the UNHRC’s biased resolution establishing a commission of inquiry into Israel’s Gaza operations

In 2015, Cruz called for the U.S. to withdraw following its vote condemning Israel. In 2017, the Texas senator called the UNHRC a farce “on matters of human rights, catering to some of the world’s worst human rights abusers.”

Ambassador Nikki Haley, in a joint press conference with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, formally announced on Tuesday that the United States is withdrawing from the UNHRC, which she described as “a protector of human rights abusers, and a cesspool of political bias”.

“If the Human Rights Council is going to attack countries that uphold human rights and attack those that abuse human rights, then the U.S. should not provide it with credibility,” Haley continued, while pointing out the Council’s blatant anti-Israel bias.

“We are withdrawing from the UNHRC, an organization that is not worthy of its name,” said Haley.

Israel welcomed the U.S. decision, with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu calling the UNHRC a "biased, hostile, anti-Israel organization."

"Instead of dealing with regimes that systematically violate human rights, the UNHRC obsessively focuses on Israel, the one genuine democracy in the Middle East," Netanyahu said.

PLO secretary-general Saeb Erekat, meanwhile, criticized the United States for withdrawing from the UNHRC and accused it of advancing "international anarchy".

The U.S. move followed previous threats by the Trump administration to withdraw from the Human Rights Council over its anti-Israel bias.

In March, Haley issued a statement after the UNHRC adopted five resolutions condemning Israel while adopting only one resolution each against North Korea, Iran, and Syria. This has become an annual ritual, as every March, the Council sets aside only two sessions to debate human rights violations and abuses in all countries and another entire session just to debate a single country, Israel.

“When the Human Rights Council treats Israel worse than North Korea, Iran, and Syria, it is the Council itself that is foolish and unworthy of its name,” said the American Ambassador.

Haley also condemned the council after it voted to establish a commission of inquiry to examine possible war crimes committed by Israel during the recent confrontations on the Gaza border last month.