68 Senators urge Blinken to help end UN inquiry on Israeli-Palestinian conflict

The UN has a permanent Commission of Inquiry on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

 U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a news conference with Moldovan President Maia Sandu (not pictured) at the Presidential Palace in Chisinau, Moldova March 6, 2022. (photo credit: OLIVIER DOULIERY/POOL VIA REUTERS)
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a news conference with Moldovan President Maia Sandu (not pictured) at the Presidential Palace in Chisinau, Moldova March 6, 2022.
(photo credit: OLIVIER DOULIERY/POOL VIA REUTERS)

WASHINGTON – A bipartisan group of 68 senators sent a letter to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, urging him to lead a multinational effort in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and in the UN to end the permanent Commission of Inquiry (COI) on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) spearheaded the letter.

“With the return of the United States to the UN Human Rights Council, we think it is time for the American presence on the Council to be used to address major human rights problems around the world,” the senators wrote. “An important step in this regard would be to redirect the wasteful use of funds and personnel on excessive devotion to disparaging Israel to allow the UN Human Rights Council to fairly promote human rights around the world.”

“We write to urge you to prioritize reversing the UN Human Rights Council’s discriminatory and unwarranted treatment of Israel by leading a multinational effort in the Council and in the UN to end the permanent Commission of Inquiry on the Israeli Palestinian conflict,” they continued.

The senators went on to write that the commission will not only focus on the actions Israel took in Gaza as it sought to defend its citizens, “it will also have a carte blanche mandate – in perpetuity – to examine any period in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict about violations not only in the West Bank and Gaza, but also within Israel’s pre-1967 borders.”

“This one-sided approach is consistent with UNHRC’s continuing bias against Israel and the disproportionate use of resources in an ongoing campaign to disparage, discredit and denounce Israel,” the letter reads.

The empty seat of Israel is pictured during the report of the Commission of Inquiry on the 2018 protests in the occupied Palestinian territory during a session of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, March 18, 2019 (credit: REUTERS/DENIS BALIBOUSE)The empty seat of Israel is pictured during the report of the Commission of Inquiry on the 2018 protests in the occupied Palestinian territory during a session of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, March 18, 2019 (credit: REUTERS/DENIS BALIBOUSE)

“By unfairly singling out Israel, the UNHRC undermines its credibility to investigate human rights violations around the world,” they continued. “The COI is the latest endeavor by UNHRC to discredit the only Jewish state and is likely to further fuel antisemitism worldwide. Therefore, we urge you to act upon the Administration’s commitment to defend Israel from discriminatory treatment at the Human Rights Council and throughout the UN system.”

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee issued a statement commending the letter and thanking the senators who signed it.