U.S. ‘determined’ to address anti-Israel bias at Human Rights Council


WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Obama administration said it remains determined to end anti-Israel bias at the United Nations Human Rights Council.

The State Department released a fact sheet Wednesday outlining its accomplishments since rejoining the council in 2009.

At the time, pro-Israel groups and conservatives criticized the reversal of Bush administration policy of boycotting the council, saying it validated the council’s almost near-exclusive focus on Israel.

The fact sheet noted a number of decisions initiated by the United States, including the suspension of Libya from the council, the creation of the position of a special rapporteur on human rights in Iran, and renewing the position of "Independent Expert" monitoring human rights in Sudan.

In an accompanying statement, the State Department acknowledged the council’s continuing imbalance regarding Israel, but said it would strive to redress it.

"The United States remains determined to take all possible steps to end the Council’s biased and disproportionate focus on Israel," the statement said. "The United States maintains a vocal, principled stand against this focus, and will continue its robust efforts to end it."

The Anti-Defamation league, in a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton earlier this week, praised the recent U.S.-initiated strides, but also called for greater focus on the anti-Israel imbalance.

"While the United States and its allies on the Council can take great pride in these achievements, the Council has stubbornly and irrationally maintained its old and pernicious habits with regard to Israel," the ADL letter said. "The U.S. must build on these successes to tackle the difficult issue of changing the paradigm for how Israel is treated."

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