Conservative MP leads debate on UK’s voting record at the UN Human Rights Council on Israel

By March 19 2021, 13:06 Latest News No Comments

On Wednesday in Parliament, Scott Benton MP urged the UK Government to vote against all resolutions singling out Israel for criticism at the UN Human Rights Council next week.

The Conservative MP for Blackpool South led a Westminster Hall debate on the subject ahead of upcoming votes on Monday and Tuesday, which are expected to include a number of resolutions targeting Israel.

Mr Benton said “it is no secret that the UN and its associated bodies have a long history of singling out Israel far more than any other nation in the world”. In the 15 years since its inception, the UN Human Rights Council has condemned Israel 90 times, out of a total of 171 condemnations.

The Conservative MP said that the existence of a permanent agenda item targeting Israel at each session, Item 7, shows “how deeply embedded this anti-Israel obsession has become”.

He said the UK’s decision in 2017 to put the Council “on notice” for its anti-Israel bias was “a hugely welcome first step”. He welcomed the UK’s decision to vote against all Item 7 resolutions in 2019 after stating that Item 7 amounted to “systemic institutional bias”.

Mr Benton noted, however, that the UK had “undermined our principled stance” by abstaining on a resolution in 2019 that had been moved from Item 7 to another agenda item in a “procedural sleight of hand”.

“Reports of some of the language that has been considered for inclusion in an Item 2 resolution next week are deeply worrying, including language that we would have voted against had it appeared in Item 7 resolutions previously”, Mr Benton said.

CFI Parliamentary Chairman (Commons) Rt. Hon. Stephen Crabb MP joined Mr Benton in calling for the UK to show “the same level of commitment” to voting against anti-Israel resolutions appearing outside Item 7 next week.

Middle East Minister James Cleverly said that the UK “will continue to push for the abolition of Agenda Item 7”, but said that “negotiations are ongoing” about the texts in other agenda items.

In recent weeks, Conservative parliamentarians have urged the UK to vote against all anti-Israel resolutions next week and called for the UK to seek a vote on these resolutions to ensure that they do not pass by consensus.

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