The purportedly new-and-improved Human Rights Council is, by most accounts, failing to live up to its promise. Critics accuse the Council of following in the footsteps of its predecessor the U.N. Human Rights Commission because it permits rights abusers among its ranks and it focuses overwhelmingly on Israel. The dominant assumption, articulated by the United States, is that this is a problem of membership; more stringent criteria would result in a less biased body. This, however, is wishful thinking. Changing the rules of membership would only substitute one set of biases for another. A productive dialogue about reforming the Human Rights Council should strive to be de-politicized, emphasizing notions of equal treatment. Who sits on the Council is less important than what they are permitted to do once there.

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