US boycotts UN Human Rights Council session on Israel

Mar 20, 2017

UN Security Council

A United Nations Security Council meeting at U.N. Headquarters in New York, Dec. 21, 2016. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Trump administration is boycotting a U.N. Human Rights Council session on Israel and “other occupied Arab territories,” citing the body’s bias against Israel.

A State Department statement said the United States “unequivocally” opposes the council’s agenda item for Monday titled “Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories.”

“As an expression of our deeply-held conviction that this bias must be addressed in order for the Council to realize its legitimate purpose, the United States decided not to attend the Council’s Item Seven General Debate session,” the statement said. “It does not serve the interests of the Council to single out one country in an unbalanced matter. Later this week, the United States will vote against every resolution put forth under this agenda item and is encouraging other countries to do the same.”

The statement concluded by calling on U.N. member states “to pursue much-needed reforms in the UN Human Rights Council.”

The Trump administration has told nonprofit groups that work with the Human Rights Council that it is considering pulling out of the body. Some of those groups – including the American Jewish Committee – oppose a pullout, saying that U.S. participation mitigates anti-Israel bias.