Mon Mar 2, 2015 2:56PM
US Secretaryof State John Kerry gestures during a news conference after he delivers remarks to the United Nations Human Rights Council on March 2, 2015, in Geneva. (AFP photo)
US Secretaryof State John Kerry gestures during a news conference after he delivers remarks to the United Nations Human Rights Council on March 2, 2015, in Geneva. (AFP photo)

US Secretary of State John Kerry has offered a staunch defense of Israel at the annual session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Addressing the session on Monday, the top US diplomat urged UN members to end what he described as a “biased” focus on Israel.

"The HCR's obsession with Israel risks undermining the credibility of the entire organization," Kerry said at the opening of the council.

"We will oppose any group within the UN system (attempting) to regularly and arbitrarily de-legitimise Israel," he added.

Kerry said the HCR's record on Israel was "deeply concerning."

The UN body has frequently criticized Israel over its disregard for human rights. A new report commissioned by the council on Israel's latest aggression on the Gaza Strip is set to be released later this month.

"No country on earth should be free from scrutiny, but neither should any country be (subjected) to bias," Kerry said.

His remarks came as the White House has come under criticism that it has not been strong enough in its support of Israel.

Tensions have escalated between the United States and Israel over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's plan to address the US Congress Tuesday about the “threat” of an emerging nuclear agreement with Iran.

In January, US House Speaker John Boehner invited Netanyahu to Washington hours after President Barack Obama threatened to veto any sanctions legislation against Iran during his State of the Union address.

The White House has denounced the expected speech as a “breach of protocol.”

Secretary Kerry will hold three days of talks with Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in the Swiss city of Montreux to discuss the outstanding issues regarding Tehran’s nuclear energy program.

HRJ/HRJ