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March 25, 2018 10:10 pm

British Jews Hail UK Vote Against Anti-Israel Resolutions at United Nations

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

The UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Photo: UN.

The leading representative group for British Jewry praised the United Kingdom for voting against two anti-Israel resolutions at the United Nations Human Rights Council.

The UNHRC on Friday passed five resolutions attacking Israel, along with two regarding Syria and one each on Iran and North Korea. The council has long been noted for its fierce animus toward Israel, most notably expressed by the fact that Israel is the council’s only permanent agenda item.

Britain voted against two resolutions, one regarding the Golan Heights and one calling for an arms embargo. In response, the President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Jonathan Arkush, stated, “Once again, countries with the worst of human rights records have sought to pass motions that abuse the platform of the United Nations by attacking Israel and attempting to distract from their own disgraceful conduct.

“We are proud of the UK Government for honoring its promise to ‘call time’ on this by voting against two of these motions and abstaining on another. It is time that the UN became a place of truth and fairness, not a den of lies and bias, and it is good to see the UK leading the way on this.”

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The watchdog group UN Watch noted that the stance was part of a pattern the UK began in 2016, slowly switching to active opposition to the UNHRC’s treatment of Israel. In 2015, Britain voted yes or abstained on all UNHRC resolutions on Israel. In 2018 it voted no twice and abstained once.

“In last year’s March 2017 session, Britain exercised its first No vote in recent years — on an absurd resolution condemning Israel for violating the human rights of Syrians on the Golan Heights — and it delivered an exceptional statement calling out the anti-Israel bias of the UNHRC, warning they would switch all votes to No if the imbalance were not removed,” UN Watch said.

“This year, Theresa May’s government was true to its word by switching yet another vote to No, on an absurd resolution condemning Israel for not following up on the malign Goldstone Report, whose core charges Judge Goldstone himself famously retracted.

“The UK’s initial switch in 2016 from Yes to Abstain on two resolutions relates primarily to its opposition to the introduction that year of a ‘database’ that would blacklist companies doing business with Jews living east of the 1949 armistice line. Britain stated in March 2016 that it would not cooperate with the blacklist, and it reiterated its opposition on Friday as well.”

Following Friday’s vote, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley blasted the council, saying, “When the Human Rights Council treats Israel worse than North Korea, Iran, and Syria, it is the Council itself that is foolish and unworthy of its name.

“It is time for the countries who know better to demand changes. Many countries agree that the council’s agenda is grossly biased against Israel, but too few are willing to fight it.

“When that happens, as it did today, the council fails to fulfill its duty to uphold human rights around the world.”

Haley hinted that the US may reevaluate its membership on the council.

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