Netanyahu slams UN Human Rights Council’s ‘circus of the absurd’

The UNHRC should “change its name to ‘the Council for resolutions against the only democracy in the Middle East,'” said Netanyahu after the body adopted five anti-Israel resolutions. 

By: World Israel News Staff

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday slammed the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) after it passed five resolutions condemning Israel, calling them “detached from reality, [adopted by] the circus of the absurd that is called the Human Rights Council.”

In its 37th session in Geneva on Friday, the 47-member UNHRC adopted five resolutions against Israel within the framework of its infamous Agenda Item 7, which requires the body to discuss potential Israeli human rights violations at every session.

The resolutions condemned “Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, as illegal,” backed the “right of the Palestinian people to self-determination,” criticized the “situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories,” and called for “ensuring accountability and justice for all violations of international law in the occupied Palestinian territories.”

Another two “country-specific” resolutions focused on Syria, where hundreds of thousands have been killed in a seven-year civil war. South Sudan, Myanmar, Iran and North Korea garnered one resolution each.

Netanyahu suggested that it was time for the UNHRC “to change the name to ‘The Council for resolutions against the only democracy in the Middle East.'”

Conversely, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) welcomed the UNHRC anti-Israel resolutions on Saturday.

PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi thanked the members that voted in favor of the resolutions for “standing on the side of peace and justice.”

Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon warned that “there will be significant consequences as a result of the UN Human Rights Council’s anti-Israel votes.”

“These actions against Israel are hypocritical and cause irreparable damage to the cause of those who truly care about real human rights violations around the world,” said Danon.

“We are working closely with our friends and allies and together we will put an end to the absurdity that this Council represents,” he concluded.

He was referring to a threat issued by US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley who again said the US would consider leaving the UNHRC.

“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,” she said.

Haley said it is time for “the countries who know better to demand changes,” saying many agree the council’s agenda “is grossly biased against Israel, but too few are willing to fight it.”

“When that happens, as it did today, the council fails to fulfill its duty to uphold human rights around the world,” she said.

“Our patience is not unlimited,” she warned, adding that the anti-Israel resolutions “make clear that the organization lacks the credibility needed to be a true advocate for human rights.”

Will the US act on its threats?

The US has issued similar threats in the past.

American envoy Erin Barclay told the UNHRC in March 2017 that Washington was considering its future engagement with the Council “with an eye toward reform,” saying that its “obsession with Israel” threatens the Council’s credibility.

The US contributes 22 percent of the UN’s budget, and has been discussing whether to cut funding.

The Human Rights Council was established in 2006. It replaced the UN Human Rights Commission, which was facing severe criticism because countries with poor rights records joined and blocked its mission.

The Bush administration refused to join the new council, questioning its efficacy. Under President Barack Obama, the US felt it was more useful to influence the Council from the inside. However, former US Secretary of State John Kerry said the UNHRC must cease with its “excessive and biased focus on Israel.”

“No one in this room can deny there is an unbalanced focus on one democratic country,” Kerry stated in March 2016. “It must be said that the UNHRC’s obsession with Israel risks undermining the credibility of the entire organization.”

The UNHRC is infamously biased against Israel, with nearly half of its resolutions focused solely on Israel, while it ignores war, strife and atrocities committed around the globe. Israeli leaders and officials have cited the UNHRC for its “obsessive hostility” toward Israel and “one-sided mandate.”

Over the past 10 years, the UNHRC has passed 62 resolutions condemning Israel. Meanwhile, the world’s worst human rights abusers in Syria, Iran, and North Korea received far fewer condemnations.