Britain puts UNHRC 'on notice' over Israel - 25 March 2017
Britain on Friday placed the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) “on notice”, announcing that it would vote against all future UNHRC resolutions criticizing Israel until the body ends its “disproportion and bias” against the Jewish state. “Israel is a population of eight million in a world of seven billion,” said a statement from the British government, quoted by The Jewish Chronicle. “Yet since its foundation, the Human Rights Council has adopted 135 country-specific resolutions; 68 of which against Israel. Justice is blind and impartial. This selective focus on Israel is neither,” added the statement, which pointed out that that “Israel is the only country permanently on the Human Rights Council’s agenda.“ “Indeed when the Council voted to include Israel as a permanent item in 2007 – the so-called agenda Item 7 – it was Ban Ki-moon who expressed his deep disappointment given the range and scope of allegations of human rights violations throughout the world.” Britain, which voted against a resolution at the UNHRC “on the occupation of Syria’s Golan”, said that while it did not recognize Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights, the UNHRC resolution on it was unjust. “Nowhere is the disproportionate focus on Israel starker and more absurd than in the case of today’s resolution on the occupation of Syria’s Golan,” said the statement, adding, “Syria’s regime butchers and murders its people on a daily basis. But it is not Syria that is a permanent standing item on the Council’s agenda; it is Israel.” “We cannot accept the perverse message sent out by a Syria Golan resolution that singles out Israel, as Assad continues to slaughter the Syrian people,” said the statement. The British move came days after the United States also condemned the UNHRC’s bias against Israel. On Monday, the United States boycotted a meeting on anti-Israel resolutions, while the State Department issued a statement against the meeting. Secretary of State Rex Tilleson recently threatened that the U.S. would withdraw from the UNHRC unless it stops its anti-Israel bias. Meanwhile, Jonathan Arkush, President of the UK Board of Deputies praised Friday’s statement as “a hugely significant step by the UK Government. “We would like to thank the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary for showing this international leadership”, he said, according to The Jewish Chronicle. “Human rights is not served by an body so clearly partisan that its judgements cannot be taken seriously, so the UK’s decision represents a clear victory for both fairness and human rights,” added Arkush.