Israel Boycotts U.N. Human Rights Council Review
On Tuesday, Israel became the first country to ever boycott its U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC) review. The council requires all U.N. member states to participate in a Universal Periodic Review every four years. Israel did not attend its scheduled session, forcing its review to be postponed. The council voiced regret at Israel’s decision.
Israel suspended its participation in the council’s activities in March 2012 after the council initiated an investigation of the impact of Israeli settlements on the human rights of Palestinians. Yigal Palmor, an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, said, “That was the last straw after we had to endure systematic abuse and marginalization for years.” The U.S. had encouraged Israel to participate. On January 15th, 2013, Department of State Spokesperson Victoria Nuland said that despite the HRC’s bias against it, Israel “serves itself better by appearing and making its own case than being silent and letting this go forward without them.”
Writing for the The Daily Beast, Ali Gharib concedes that the HRC has paid disproportionate attention to Israel, but said that the country had “refused to participate in perhaps the one part of the Rights Council that, according to its own procedures, can actually not be anti-Israel.” In The Jerusalem Post, Anne Bayefsky finds the HRC’s recent review of Syria to be lacking and argues that the HRC’s “discrimination and demonization of the Jewish state and the Jewish people…subverts the very foundation of human rights and the United Nations.”