Nikki Haley threatens US withdrawal from UN human rights body

Haley: US embassy could be part of peace deal
Haley: US embassy could be part of peace deal

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  • Haley criticized the body for admitting "many of the world's worst human rights offenders"
  • She accused the Council of a "relentless, pathological campaign" against Israel

(CNN)US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley traveled to Israel on Wednesday in a show of support and solidarity, just one day after she slammed the UN Human Rights Council for anti-Israel bias and "hypocrisy."

During the visit, Haley met with top officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with whom she discussed US efforts to reform the Council, and "recognized that much work remains until Israel is treated fairly in all UN fora," according to a readout of the meeting provided by her office.
"I've never taken kindly to bullies," Haley told reporters in Jerusalem, "the UN has bullied Israel for a very long time, and we're not going to let that happen anymore."
    "It is a new day for Israel in the United Nations," she added.
    Haley made waves on Tuesday with an impassioned speech in Geneva, in which she threatened that the US might withdraw from the Human Rights Council if reforms aren't made to "reestablish the Council's legitimacy."
    "If the Human Rights Council is going to be an organization we entrust to protect and promote human rights, it must change," said Haley. "If it fails to change, then we must pursue the advancement of human rights outside the Council."
    Haley, a former Republican governor of South Carolina who was tapped by President Donald Trump for the cabinet-level diplomatic post, specifically called out the Council for admitting "many of the world's worst human rights offenders" as members, including Venezuela, Cuba, and Saudi Arabia.
    She further accused the Council of a "relentless, pathological campaign" against Israel, in part due to a controversial provision in the Council's agenda that singles the country out for censure and has drawn criticism from US Republicans and Democrats alike.
    "In case after case," said Haley, the Council has been "a forum for politics, hypocrisy, and evasion -- not the forum for conscience that its founders envisioned."
    "America does not seek to leave the Human Rights Council," Haley insisted in her remarks. "We seek to reestablish the Council's legitimacy."
    Haley's speech comes as the Trump administration is under increased criticism from human rights groups for not doing more to discourage authoritarian allies from committing rights abuses -- an approach that often seems at odds with the one Haley has adopted at the United Nations.
    "Everyone wants to try and create a divide because I'm speaking out on human rights and humanitarian issues, and the President may not mention it," Haley acknowledged in an interview with CBS over the weekend. "But we're on the same team."
    "And so he's very aware that I'm outspoken on human rights, and he's very aware I'm outspoken on the need for humanitarian assistance, and he's been supportive of that," she added.