Netanyahu Says He Urged White House to Pull U.S. From UN Rights Council

Trump administration said to be reviewing its role in UN's human rights council over it's 'obsession with Israel,' a senior official said.

U.S. President Donald Trump, right, speaks with Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, outside the West Wing of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017.
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he suggested to the White House that the U.S. cut its ties with the United Nations Human Rights Council, according to a recording of a meeting he held with Israeli lawmakers.

The administration, it was reported Wednesday, is reviewing its participation in the human rights body over the forum's "obsession with Israel", a senior U.S. official said. 

"I raised this issue and also raised the question of whether the U.S. should remain in the UN Human Rights Council," Netanyahu told Likud lawmakers in the recording of a meeting on Monday, which was obtained by Army Radio.

Netanyahu was then asked by a fellow lawmaker if it was wise to leave the UN council to its own devices, to which he answered: "It's better to leave and delegitimize these organizations."

On Wednesday, Erin Barclay, U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state, said that "in order for this Council to have any credibility, let alone success, it must move away from its unbalanced and unproductive positions," she told the UN Human Rights Council.

She cited ongoing abuses in Syria and North Korea, and noted in particular the top UN human rights body's long-standing focus on Israel.

"The obsession with Israel...is the largest threat to this council's credibility," said Barclay, a career diplomat.

This is not the first time the Trump administration has taken issue with the UN's treatment of Israel.

Last month, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley blasted the organization for what she called its "anti-Israel bias" and vowed that she would not let the UN Security Council target Israel with one-sided condemnations.  

"U.S. is determined to stand up to the UNs anti-Israel bias" - Nikki Haley