Jewish groups welcome Boris Johnson’s criticism of UN Human Rights body over Israel

Jewish groups welcome Boris Johnson’s criticism of UN Human Rights body over Israel

UK Foreign Secretary says the international body's focus on the Jewish state was 'disproportionate', but that Britain is not 'blind to the value' of the council

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson

Jewish community groups has welcomed Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s criticism of United Nations Human Rights Council alleged bias against Israel, calling it disproportionate and damaging to the cause of peace”.

Speaking to the Human Rights Council, Mr Johnson said that its dedicated agenda item on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories was “disproportionate and damaging to the cause of peace”.

Despite the criticism, he said “I stress that that does not mean that we in the UK are blind to the value of this council.”

The Foreign Secretary said the council’s work on the Israel-Palestinian conflict could have value, under the right conditions.

Diplomats have told reporters that a US withdrawal from the 47-member council could come as early as Tuesday.

Mr Johnson’s address on Monday focused on the need for education of women and girls worldwide as a way to promote human rights.

The Jewish Leadership Council tweeted: “We welcome the Foreign Secretary’s statement at the Human Rights Council that its permanent agenda item on Israel is “disproportionate and damaging to the cause of peace”. The HRC [Human Rights Council] consistently ignores the worst human rights abuses in the world proving it is not an honest broker.”

Sheila Gewolb, Senior Vice President of the Board of Deputies said: “We welcome the Foreign Secretary’s bold, clear and important intervention at the UN Human Rights Council. Alongside his strong speech on the importance of girls’ education, his commitment that the UK will vote against all resolutions in 2019 tabled under the infamous Item 7, which singles out Israel as the only country in the world to have its own agenda item, is an important victory for human rights. Human rights are universal and should be applied universally and not in such a nakedly biased way. The UN Human Rights Council is undermined by politicisation and the singling out of Israel in its standing agenda and the UK has shown the way to giving this potentially crucial body much greater weight and standing.”

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