Zeid's unusual finger-pointing at the start of a UN Human Rights Council session came shortly before a highly anticipated address by the US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, to the 47-member body.
Later in the day, Haley stressed that the US doesn't "seek to leave the Human Rights Council".
U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley stated that the "anti-Israel bias" found within the Human Rights Council (UNHRC) might be the reason why the USA may refrain from being part of the group.
That 60-year-old body was disbanded in 2005 as irredeemably tainted by its protection of abusers, and the Human Rights Council was formed as a fresh start. For instance, Haley disparaged Saudi Arabia's human rights record on Tuesday, listing it as an elected council member that doesn't uphold the "highest standards" of human rights at home. "Regardless of the party in power, the US needs to lead by example and practice what it preaches on human rights". "When the world's pre-eminent human rights body is turned into a haven for dictators, the idea of worldwide co-operation in support of human dignity is discredited".
In his speech, the human rights chief made a point of highlighting the suffering that both Palestinians and Israelis have had to endure in their conflict.
Israel regularly draws criticism from human rights groups for its occupation of territory seized in 1967, and for continuing to build settlements that the United Nations says are counter to global law. Specifically, she singled out Cuba and Venezuela.
Haley doubled down on attacking Venezuela on Tuesday, urging Caracas to "voluntarily step down from its seat... until it can get its own house in order".
Later Tuesday evening, in a separate speech, Haley proposed an amendment to the process by which member nations are chosen to make the council "more effective, more accountable, and more responsive".
Jamil Dakwar, Director of the human rights program at the American Civil Liberties Union, told Reuters that he thought it's hard for the U.S.to criticize other countries under Trump administration's own actions against human rights, such as the travel ban and the the crackdown on immigration.
Zeid, a Jordanian prince, acknowledged that some people would respond "that the experiences of the two peoples are not equivalent: How could I mention them in one breath?"
The body has taken a strong position against Israel's occupation of territory seized in the 1967 Middle East war, its treatment of Palestinians, and its building of Jewish settlements.
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