Israel joins U.N. bloc in Geneva

 NEW YORK (JTA) – Israel was granted membership in a United Nations regional group in Geneva. 

Israel’s membership in JUSCANZ — an acronym for Japan, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand — was approved last week by consensus. The group also includes Norway, Switzerland and several other democratic countries. 

The move was hailed by both the American Jewish Committee and its Geneva affiliate, U.N. Watch, which called it a "historic accomplishment."

Israel has long been prevented from joining regional groups at the United Nations, a state of affairs that has inhibited its full participation in the world body and roused the ire of its Foreign Ministry and American Jewish groups, which considered the exclusion a blatant contravention of the U.N. charter’s guarantee of state equality. 

In 2000, Israel was admitted to the Western European and Others Group, or WEOG, at U.N. headquarters in New York. 

"Admission to JUSCANZ is another step on the long road to ending systemic discrimination against Israel within the U.N. system,” AJC Executive Director David Harris said in a statement. 

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