Israel today became the first nation to boycott a UN human rights review, the New York Times reports. Israel had informally notified the Human Rights Council that it would not attend today's session in Geneva, where it was supposed to take part in the Universal Periodic Review process, and then it made good on the promise to skip. The process asks all 193 member states to submit a report on their human rights records every four years.
When Israel first aired its plans, the Council tried to persuade a change of heart, to no avail. Diplomats say Israel has long been frustrated with what it perceives as an anti-Israeli bias on the Council, and called the review a "political tool ... to bash and demonize Israel." Since no member state has skipped the review before, the Council needs to figure out how to respond. Diplomats say the Council will likely give Israel more time to participate in the review, but it's not clear how much time will be allowed.