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No Bipartisanship on U.N. Human Rights Council

Two parties. Two widely different reactions to the Obama administration’s announcement Tuesday that the United States will seek a spot on the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), who heads the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he “strongly” supports the move, arguing that the panel has become “increasingly dysfunctional and politicized” and the White House can work “to bring about a much-needed overhaul.”

For too long the United States has sat on the sidelines. In fact, during the past several years the Council’s pathological focus on demonizing Israel has intensified to the point that genuine human rights crises in Zimbabwe, Sudan and other countries have essentially escaped scrutiny. The time is ripe to take a more positive and active role in challenging the Council and in speaking out about genuine human rights atrocities.

And here’s Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), who heads the Republican Study Committee, claiming that U.S. participation would “legitimize” the tyrannical nations on the panel, which has “

Once again, the administration has demonstrated its naïve approach to diplomacy and foreign policy by lifting up tyrants and insulting our allies. This action legitimizes a body that provides diplomatic cover for some of the most abusive regimes in the world. As it is right now, the U.N. Human Rights Council is nothing more than a seal of approval for nations that routinely persecute their own people. Until the Council undertakes significant reforms and demonstrates a real dedication to human rights, I call on President Obama to reverse his decision.

OK, so they both agree the council is awful, particularly pertaining to its condemnation of recent Israeli offensives — no shocker in a town where any criticism of Israeli policy brings instant charges of anti-Semitism. But the lawmakers’ approaches to the council are instructive: Berman would fix it by joining it; Price would rather ignore it and hope it goes away.

Goes to show that, on some issues, bipartisanship is a long way off.

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