In First, Israel Bails on UN Human Rights Review

Calls it a tool for 'bashing' Israel
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 29, 2013 12:17 PM CST
In First, Israel Bails on UN Human Rights Review
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel addresses the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Israel today became the first nation to boycott a UN human rights review, the New York Times reports. Israel had informally notified the Human Rights Council that it would not attend today's session in Geneva, where it was supposed to take part in the Universal Periodic Review process, and then it made good on the promise to skip. The process asks all 193 member states to submit a report on their human rights records every four years.

When Israel first aired its plans, the Council tried to persuade a change of heart, to no avail. Diplomats say Israel has long been frustrated with what it perceives as an anti-Israeli bias on the Council, and called the review a "political tool ... to bash and demonize Israel." Since no member state has skipped the review before, the Council needs to figure out how to respond. Diplomats say the Council will likely give Israel more time to participate in the review, but it's not clear how much time will be allowed. (More United Nations stories.)

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