New York, NY, March 28, 2011 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today praised the United States government for promoting and achieving strong action at the United Nations Human Rights Council, but urged the U.S. to do more to reform the body's anti-Israel bias.
"While we are encouraged by recent actions taken by the Human Rights Council with respect to Libya, Iran and North Korea, the Council unfortunately remains a bastion of anti-Israel bias and hostility," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "Israel is consistently and disproportionately singled out for criticism, and it remains the only country with a separate agenda item. The U.S. has proven a capable leader in spurring positive action at the Council, but it must go further to reform the body's structural bias against Israel."
In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, ADL called on the United States to help implement structural changes at the Human Rights Council, including:
· Fundamentally reform the manner in which the Council deals with issues related to Israel;
· Remove the Israel-specific agenda item, number 7, from the permanent agenda;
· Revamp the mandate of the Special Rapporteur, which is focused solely on Israeli activities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and is "inherently biased against Israel."
During its most recent session, the Human Rights Council suspended Libya's membership, appointed a special investigator into human right abuses in Iran, and passed a strong resolution of concern about North Korea's violations of human rights. However, the session also saw extremely hostile rhetoric toward Israel, including outrageous charges by the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Palestinians that Israel is committing "ethnic cleansing" in eastern Jerusalem.
"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 U.S. must build on these successes to tackle the difficult issue of changing the paradigm for how Israel is treated," ADL's letter stated.
ADL praised the historic shift made in passage of a resolution on religious intolerance which did not include toxic notions of criminalizing the so-called "defamation of religions" which has so troubled human rights and religious freedom advocates around the world.
The League also welcomed a Human Rights Council joint statement signed by 85 countries on "Ending Acts of Violence and Related Human Rights Violations Based On Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity."