UN Human Rights Council Makes Israel Permanent Agenda Item

U.S. Jewish groups express disappointment in 'preoccupation' with Israel; Canada sole opponent to decision.

The United Nations Human Rights Council on Monday voted in favor of making Israel's actions a permanent item on the council's agenda.

Of the council's 47 member states, the sole opponent of the decision to make Israel a permanent agenda item was Canada.

Several American Jewish organizations condemned the council's decision.

The American Jewish Committee released a harsh statement that expressed deep disappointment with the council's performance.

The council's preoccupation with Israel, said the statement, does not serve the interests of the millions of people worldwide who are victims of human rights abuses.

The council, based in Geneva, was formed approximately a year ago as part of a reform initiated by former UN secretary general Kofi Annan.

The UN voted to replace the Human Rights Commission with the council in an attempt to address both criticisms of the commission's composition, which frequently included some of the world's worst human rights abusers, and what Annan once termed its excessive focus on Israel.

Yitzhak Levanon, Israel's permanent representative to the UN in Geneva, told Haaretz: "Last year, we buried that infamous commission to replace it with something better. Now, it appears the same old commission has returned."