U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, in an interview with Politico, defended the administration’s decision to participate in the United Nations Human Rights Council by stating that it puts the U.S. in a better position to fight "against the anti-Israel crap" from other parts of the world:
"We have a record of abject failure from having stayed out. We’ve been out for the duration and it has not gotten better. It’s arguably gotten worse," she said. "We are much better placed to be fighting for the principles we believe in — protection of human rights universally, fighting against the anti-Israel crap and for meaningful action on issues that we care about and ought to be the top of the agenda, things like Zimbabwe, Sudan [and] Burma — by leading and lending our voice from within."
Rice also left the door slightly ajar as to whether the U.S. might still decide to participate in the Durban II conference, saying problems with the draft document remained but that there had been substantial improvements:
A similar logic is at play with the anti-racism conference, scheduled for April 20 in Geneva, the successor to a 2001 conference in Durban, South Africa, that featured sharp condemnations of Israel. The U.S. delegation pulled out of preparatory talks for the conference after negotiators produced a 63-page draft text that featured more condemnation of Israel and demands for reparations for the slave trade.
That withdrawal seemed to prove the Bush administration’s point. "While we got a lot of love, we didn’t get any progress on the document," Rice said of the early talks, calling the draft "rife with anti-Israeli and other problematic substance" and "not a credible basis for a responsible outcome."
Since then, however, an American willingness to return to the table has been met with deep concessions and a new, 17-page draft has that dropped all reference to Israel, though there is still tension over a line reaffirming the outcome of the previous meeting in Durban. "We haven’t taken a decision about our participation or actual involvement in the negotiations at this stage, [but] we’re pleased that this document has substantially improved and is already much better. But [it] has a remaining significant problem," Rice said.