The Biden administration on Thursday rejoined the U.N. Human Rights Council, just days after the council overwhelmingly voted to endorse an anti-Israel resolution that several Western nations boycotted due to its anti-Semitic nature.
The United States was elected to the body just three days after the Human Rights Council by a 32-10 vote endorsed the "Durban Declaration," a resolution that affirms support for the notoriously anti-Israel 2001 Durban Conference and its conclusion that, of all nations, only Israel is guilty of racism.
The Durban Conference, which the United Nations has endorsed repeatedly during the past 20 years, was called the "most potent symbol of organized hate against Israel" by the founder of NGO Monitor, an institute that analyzes non-governmental organizations. U.K. diplomats, in a statement on the council's latest Durban vote, said the United Nations "has downplayed the scourge of anti-Semitism" and that "this must end" immediately.
Whereas the Trump administration withdrew from the council in 2018, citing the body's anti-Israel bias and anti-Semitic agenda, the Biden administration says a seat at the table will help the United States reform the body. Former senior Trump administration officials and Republicans in Congress criticized the Biden administration's move, saying the United States should play no role in an organization that routinely targets Jews and includes among its members some of the globe's foremost human rights abusers, such as China, Cuba, Russia, and Venezuela.
"If President Biden truly cared about human rights, he would keep us far away from the cesspool that is the U.N. Human Rights Council," former Trump administration ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told the Washington Free Beacon. "America left it under President Trump because we refused to lend our credibility, as the most generous country in the world, to cover for the world's worst tyrants and dictators. [Biden's] actions today aren't just embarrassing; they're dangerous."
Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in a statement thanking member nations for allowing the United States to rejoin the council, said the body "suffers from serious flaws, including disproportionate attention on Israel and the membership of several states with egregious human rights records." The Biden administration will use its voice to "push back against attempts to subvert the ideals upon which the Human Rights Council was founded," he said. Blinken did not mention the council's latest endorsement of Durban in his statement.
When asked if the Biden administration would reconsider its push to rejoin the council in light of the body's endorsement of the Durban conference, a State Department spokesman said the administration has no comment.
Rep. Pat Fallon (R., Texas), a member of the House Armed Services Committee and the Republican Study Committee's National Security Task Force, told the Free Beacon that the Biden administration's decision to rejoin the Human Rights Council endorses the council's treatment of Israel.
"The decision by this administration to rejoin the U.N. Human Rights Council is laughable," Fallon said. "The United States should never be a part of a body who continues to bash Israel, but fails promote the protection of individuals such as the Uighur Muslims."
The initial 2001 Durban conference was meant to tackle global racism, but participating nations focused only on Israel, drawing widespread accusations the conference was being run by anti-Semites. Since that time, the U.N. has held subsequent versions of Durban, all of which reinforced anti-Semitic stereotypes and were opposed by multiple U.S. administrations and pro-Israel advocacy groups.
The Human Rights Council on Monday brought forward another resolution to endorse the 2021 Durban conference, which again drew widespread criticism for spreading falsehoods about Israel. The resolution was opposed by just 10 members of the council, including the United Kingdom, Germany, and several others, all of which rejected the Durban measure because of its anti-Semitic agenda. The 32 other members voted in favor of the resolution.
In addition to its endorsement of Durban, the Human Rights Council has consistently adopted resolutions and other measures that single out Israel for criticism and attempt to name it as the world's foremost human rights abuses. The council has historically avoided criticizing nations such as Russia, North Korea, China, and Iran, all of which oppress citizens and murder dissidents.