(JTA) — The U.S. rejoined the United Nations’ Human Rights Council on Thursday, three years after former President Trump pulled out of it over what his administration deemed a “shameless” bias against Israel.
President Biden’s envoy to the U.N., Linda Thomas-Greenfield, argued in a statement that the move will not mean the U.S. does not stand with Israel.
“We will oppose the Council’s disproportionate attention on Israel, which includes the Council’s only standing agenda item targeting a single country,” she said.
The council, which investigates alleged human rights abuses in U.N. member countries, has for decades routinely singled out Israel in reports and resolutions, particularly in the wake of the country’s many armed conflicts in Gaza.
Nikki Haley, former envoy to the U.N. under Trump, said in 2018 after the U.S.’ pullout that the council “was not worthy of its name.” Then Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu applauded the decision.
The pullout split Jewish lawmakers at the time, including Democrats.
The council, formed in 2006, held an internal election name its slate of 47 countries on Thursday, as it does every three years, and several countries with controversial human rights records made the cut — including China, Russia, Cuba and Eritrea.
Hillel Neuer, the head of UN Watch, a watchdog group that often calls the council and other U.N. bodies out for its Israel critique, lamented to the AFP that so many of what he calls “oppressive regimes” were elected.