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Copyright © 2019 The American Israel Public Affairs Committee

History of Bias: The U.N. Human Rights Council

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has distorted its mission of protecting human rights around the globe by its consistent extreme hostility to Israel. With serious human rights crises gripping the Middle East and beyond, the UNHRC has instead dedicated an inordinate amount of time to criticizing Israel. Unfortunately, bipartisan U.S. efforts to reform the council have proven unsuccessful. By withdrawing from the UNHRC, the United States has sent a strong message that it will no longer lend its credibility to this flawed institution.

The UNHRC has failed its mission by unfairly targeting Israel—the Middle East’s sole democracy. (AP Photo)

The U.N. Human Rights Council consistently discriminates against Israel.

  • The UNHRC has passed nearly 80 resolutions condemning the Jewish state since its inception in 2006, virtually the same number as it has levied against all other countries combined.

  • More than a quarter of the council’s special sessions have focused on Israel.

  • The council’s standing agenda (item 7) requires that Israel’s human rights record be debated at every meeting—something no other nation faces.

  • The council’s Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories is solely tasked with investigating Israel, inexplicably disregarding human rights violations committed by the Palestinian Authority, Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

  • Commissions of inquiry tasked by the UNHRC to investigate Israel’s response to Hamas terror attacks in 2008-2009 and 2014 produced extremely one-sided anti-Israel reports. In May 2018, the council yet again established a commission to investigate Israel’s actions while ignoring Hamas.

  • In March 2016, the council passed a resolution taking the first step toward creating a boycott of Israel. The resolution directed the creation of a database of companies conducting certain business beyond the 1949 Armistice line, including in East Jerusalem. This database could serve as a future “blacklist” for companies doing legal business with Israel.

  • An April 2017 letter to the U.N. Secretary General—signed by all 100 U.S. senators—called the UNHRC’s continued targeting of Israel “unacceptable” and urged the removal of agenda item 7.

  • Last year, the administration, led by Ambassador Nikki Haley, put forward to the UNHRC a series of reforms—including removal of agenda item 7. Despite significant efforts by the administration, the UNHRC refused to seriously consider any reforms.


Type: Memo