United Nations – just the mention of these two words is enough to send the blood pressure of Israelis soaring. Israel has a love-hate relationship with the UN – they love to hate us!
This past week, this once noble institute disqualified about a quarter of an exhibition about Israel that opened at their main headquarters on Monday. It seems that they took umbrage about the display on Zionism that was defined as the “national liberation movement of the Jewish people” and two others about Jerusalem as the capital and Israel’s Arab population.
The exhibition was put together by Stand With Us – one of the premier organisations (and one of my favourites) that work very hard to educate and inform the public about Israel while fighting anti-Semitism and extremism. Visit: www.standwithus.com
Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, appealed to Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon saying, “by disqualifying an exhibition about Zionism the UN is undermining the very existence of the State of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people,”. The decision about the panel on Zionism has since been reversed but this incident once again highlights how Israel is singled out at the UN.
The United Nations was founded shortly after World War 2, with the intention of regulating conflict between nations. In 1948 former US First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, was a driving force in creating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and was appointed to the UN to champion this cause. The UN was supposed to be the guardian of international human rights and the General Assembly passed a resolution in 2006 creating the UNHRC or Human Rights Council.
My how things have changed! Founded with the most noble of intentions, this international institution has steadily skated downhill to become the theatre of the absurd for hatemongers and dictators.
It is no secret that the UN and in particular the UNHRC are obsessed with Israel. This unhealthy obsession has resulted in the UN singling out Israel for opprobrium at the expense of many conflicts around the world and leaves many Israelis angry at the appalling double standards. Victims of war, genocide and human rights transgressions in other regions are shaking their heads with hurt and dismay. Don’t their issues and pain count?
This is institutionalized anti-Semitism at its worst. The flagrant targeting of Israel has left many of us wondering if it is really THAT important to be a member state of the UN and has this international body not passed its sell-by date?
A wise man who was the former Israeli Ambassador to the UN once said that if the haters and dictators continue to point fingers at the tiny state of Israel, we must be doing something right!
Some have opined if it would not be more worth it for Israel to leave the UN and does a country really need to be a member?
“Membership in the United Nations is open to all other peace-loving states which accept the obligations contained in the present Charter and, in the judgment of the Organization, are able and willing to carry out these obligations. The admission of any such state to membership in the United Nations will be effected by a decision of the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council.”
(Article 4, Chapter 2, United Nations Charter).
Being a member state of the UN allows a country a certain sense of legitimacy. International law does not dictate who becomes a member but the UN Charter does. Some countries clearly did not receive the memo about being peace loving….
Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, dismissed the UN’s bias saying Um Shmumm (the Hebrew name for the UN is Ha’Um) and many have followed suit. But the UN still holds a lot of sway in the court of international opinion although even Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon has admitted to the institutions flagrant bias against Israel.
The UN has been silent about Iran’s human rights abuse. They have been silent about rising anti-Semitism that has resulted in violence and death in some countries. The UN fails to condemn those that use their podium to call for the annihilation of the Jewish State. They have been silent about Palestinian incitement which has resulted in a 6 month wave of terror that cost 34 people their lives. But on Israel, they are like salivating, rabid beasts that smell blood. Sadly this unhealthy obsession distracts from any good humanitarian work the UN engages in.
Many have asked me over the years if Israel does not fight a losing battle with so many odds stacked against her. My answer is the best way to deal with bullies is simply to show up.
We show up. And we fight for our rights to be heard despite the odds because here is the thing – Jews are entitled to human rights as well. We should be unapologetic about this! We are just as much a part of the family of nations as any other. We also have the inalienable right to organize ourselves politically and call it Zionism, in reference to our ancient homeland. We also have the right to a state and to live in it in peace and security. We also have the right to defend ourselves be it against physical attack or institutionalized anti-Semitism. We have the right to use our voices to speak up.
We have shown up. We will continue to be a presence wherever anti-Semitism and bias rear their ugly heads in institutions that are UNethical, UNtrustworthy and their behavior, UNbelievable.
Israel supporters show their solidarity and support outside the UN in Geneva, March 2016