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UNITED NATIONS – U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley announced Tuesday that she will travel to Israel after first addressing the notoriously anti-Israel Human Rights Council in Geneva – a body which the U.S. boycotted in March.
Haley’s office announced that the trip, taking place between June 5-10, will include a visit to Israel, where she is expected to hold meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. Her office says she will also “observe United Nations operations in the region.”
The Jerusalem Post reported that the visit will include a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin. Haley will also see Israel’s Holocaust Museum, Yad Vashem, and the Old City of Jerusalem.
But the visit to Israel, taking place June 7-9 will be preceded by a visit to the controversial U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, on June 6 – the first address to the Council by a U.S. Permanent Representative to the U.N.
Later that day, Haley will give a speech at the Graduate Institute in Geneva where she will “lay out the U.S. position on future involvement” in the Council and address “the benefits and the failings of the Council with respect to the vital mission of defending millions of people against the world’s worst cases of human rights abuse.”
The U.S. boycotted the opening session of the Council in March over its explicitly anti-Israel agenda. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said that one particular agenda item – “Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories” – was “yet another reminder of that body’s long-standing bias against Israel.”
The Bush administration declined to join the Council when it formed in 2006 as a successor to the Human Rights Commission, which the U.S. had also declined to join. However, the Obama administration applied for membership, claiming it would be easier to reform from the inside. But such reform efforts were scarce.
The Trump administration has frequently blasted the Council and has reportedly considered leaving the body over its anti-Israel bias, as well as its membership, which includes countries with questionable human rights records such as Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has questioned the body’s effectiveness and raised the possibility of the U.S. withdrawing should it not see “significant reform.” In March, Haley called the body “so corrupt” and said it was filled with “bad actors” using it to protect themselves.
Haley has frequently attacked what she sees as the U.N.’s bias against the U.S.’s top ally in the Middle East. In March, she demanded a report by a U.N. commission that called Israel an “apartheid state” be withdrawn. The report was eventually yanked from the agency’s website.
The announcement of Haley’s visit to Israel comes a week after President Trump visited the country where he reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to the relationship with Israel.
Adam Shaw is a politics reporter for Breitbart News based in New York. Follow Adam on Twitter: @AdamShawNY.
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