Report: Israel reducing its participation in UNHRC

Diplomats say Israel has temporarily reduced its participation with the UN Human Rights Council after the United States withdrew from it.

Elad Benari, Canada ,

United Nations Human Rights Council
United Nations Human Rights Council

Israel has temporarily reduced its participation with the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) after the United States pulled out over the Council’s anti-Israel bias, The Associated Press reported Friday.

Several diplomats in Geneva, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AP Israel had "lowered" its participation at the council to align its stance more with the U.S. position.

The diplomats cautioned that the move was not definitive and could change from day to day. Israel is not one of the council's 47 member states, but has participated like most other countries as an observer.

Rolando Gomez, a spokesman for the council, confirmed that Israel was not participating in the council plenary Friday, where its seat sat empty. Israeli diplomats have not participated since a council discussion Thursday on discrimination against women, according to AP.

The Foreign Ministry in Israel declined to comment.

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.

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.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)