Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon/GPO
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) meets with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson in London, United Kingdom. PM Netanyahu is on official state visit. February 06, 2017.

{Originally posted to the Pressure Points section in the CFR website}

A few days ago (here) I analyzed the recent UN General Assembly vote on Gaza and concluded that the UN’s automatic majority against Israel is fraying.


Now there is an important piece of new evidence. In his first address to the UN Human Rights Council, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said this:

I will say that we share the view that a dedicated agenda item focused solely on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories is disproportionate and damaging to the cause of peace and unless things change, we shall move next year to vote against all resolutions introduced under Item 7.

Thus the British are now saying they will next year automatically vote against any and every resolution brought under this agenda item, regardless of its content. Britain’s move is likely to open the door for others in the EU or the Commonwealth to follow suit, or at least give Israel and the United States a powerful new argument against that agenda item that singles out Israel. There are some good candidates on the Human Rights Council who ought to follow the UK–and, it should be said, Australia, which already takes this position. Among them are Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Switzerland in Europe and Japan outside it. They should be the targets of an American and Israeli campaign for some basic standard of fairness. The alternative will be the withdrawal of the United States from the Human Rights Council.

Having criticized the Foreign & Commonwealth Office recently (in this blog post) it is only fair to give credit where it is due. Hat’s off to Johnson and the FCO on this one.


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Elliott Abrams is senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). He served as deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor under Pres. George W. Bush.