‘Obsessive anti-Israel bias’: Erdan rips up human rights report at UN podium

Envoy says report by UNHRC belongs in ‘the dustbin of antisemitism,’ notes Israel has been targeted in 95 resolutions compared to 142 against all other countries combined

Israel envoy to the United Nations rips up a Human Rights Council report at the podium, October 29, 2021 (Screen grab)
Israel envoy to the United Nations rips up a Human Rights Council report at the podium, October 29, 2021 (Screen grab)

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan chastised the United Nations Human Rights Council on Friday for its disproportionate condemnation of Israel, tearing up the organization’s annual report while at the podium.

In a speech to the General Assembly, the Israeli envoy slammed the UNHRC for its “obsessive anti-Israel bias” during a special session at which the council presented its annual report.

“Since the establishment of the council 15 years ago, it has decided to blame and condemn Israel not 10 times like Iran or 35 times like Syria,” Erdan said. “The Human Rights Council has attacked Israel with 95 resolutions. Compared to 142 against all other countries combined.”

“It was on this stage at this very body that the very right of the Jewish people to have a national home was itself declared to be racist. A decision that was justly overturned. A decision that Israel’s ambassador at the time, Chaim Herzog, tore up at the United Nations,” Erdan said, referring to Herzog’s November 1975 speech. “And this is exactly what should be done to this antisemitic distorted one-sided report.”

Erdan said the report’s only place was “in the dustbin of antisemitism” before apparently ripping up it up and then leaving the podium.

In a statement on Friday, the UNHRC noted that it had held three special sessions in 2021 — on Myanmar, Afghanistan and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The council noted that at the session on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it decided to establish “an ongoing independent, international commission of inquiry to investigate in the occupied Palestinian territory, and in Israel, all alleged violations of international humanitarian law and all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law leading up to and since 13 April 2021.”

Israel — backed at times by the United States — has long accused the council of anti-Israel bias and has generally refused to cooperate with its investigators.

Israel is the only country that is systematically discussed at every regular council session, with a dedicated special agenda item.

The standing agenda item and body’s overall anti-Israel stance were among the main reasons that the United States under former president Donald Trump decided to leave the council. His successor US President Joe Biden has returned the United States to the fold as an observer, with an eye on membership, but his administration remains deeply critical of the council’s “disproportionate focus on Israel.”

Illustrative: Delegates arrive on the assembly hall of the Human Rights Council at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, June 2, 2009. (AP Photo/Keystone/Salvatore Di Nolfi)

Earlier this month, United States Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield used the monthly Security Council session on the Middle East to chastise the body for also disproportionately focusing on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“This council spends a great deal of time on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is both understandable and consistent with the agenda. But far too often, the substance of these discussions is centered almost entirely around criticism of Israel and counterattacks,” she said in her remarks.

“I sincerely hope that going forward, council members will do their best to take a more balanced approach. Also, there are other countries and situations in the region that merit Security Council attention and should not be neglected.”

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