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The United Nations and Israel

When the Words 'United Nations' Equal Racism

Avi Davis - 19 July 2001

The date June 26, 1945 is a red-letter day for internationalists. It commemorates the moment when 26 representatives of would-be member countries signed the United Nations Charter, pledging the creation of an organization that would promote peace and security around the world. Following the failure of its predecessor, the enfeebled League of Nations, the blossoming of this new organization, established to safeguard rights to self determination and inalienable human rights, must have appeared an extraordinary achievement.

Fifty-six years later, the promise offered by that declaration in San Francisco lies largely in ruins. The failures of the United Nations ­ in Rwanda, Bosnia and Indonesia, to name a few recent examples, has given the impression that, not only is the U.N. weak in resolve, it has become an instrument of perverse sectarian interests wielded against democracies, shielding the violators of human rights from international scrutiny. Afflicted with a bloated bureaucracy, unconstrained venality and manipulation of the General Assembly to suit narrow partisan agendas, the U.N.´s credibility and even legitimacy has been sorely compromised.

But nowhere has the United Nations betrayed both its own charter and mankind more acutely than in its relations with the State of Israel. While sanctioning the creation of a Jewish State in 1947, the United Nations has worked so vigorously to scuttle the ship it launched that one has to wonder why it went to all the trouble in the first place. The historic incidents are indeed incriminating. They range from the failure to prevent Nasser´s nationalization of the Suez Canal in 1956 to Secretary-General U Thant´s acquiescence in withdrawing U.N. peace- keeping forces from Gaza only days prior to the Six Day War in 1967. In 1974 the U.N. allowed itself to be addressed by the leader of a reprehensible terrorist organization, answerable for the deaths of thousands of Jews and non­Jews alike. It followed this notorious performance with the November 10, 1975 resolution equating Zionism with racism, a measure that added the word disgrace to the many other epithets used then and since to describe U.N. policies.

The latest additions to this odious catalogue conform to the pattern. The first is the allegation that Indian members of UNIFIL, whose soldiers are pledged to monitor the border between Israel and Lebanon, may have assisted Hezbollah guerrillas in the kidnapping of three Israeli soldiers eight months ago. A videotape of that abduction, in the U.N.´s possession, was withheld from Israel. When it was finally handed over, the faces of the perpetrators and their accomplices had been obscured.

The second event is the U.N. World Conference on Racism, scheduled to take place in September in Durban, South Africa. According to reports, draft resolutions at preliminary planning sessions depict Israel as a racist state that systematically discriminates against Arabs. These resolutions call on Israel to repeal the Law of Return and reverse a settlement policy that supposedly violates human rights.

The attempt to use the United Nations to shred Israel´s reputation should come as no surprise to observers of recent developments in the Middle East. Over the past twelve months Arab nations, led by Israel´s trusted friend Egypt, have launched a vitriolic campaign against the Jewish State, portraying it as a lawless nation of hidebound racists. This campaign has been aimed at inducing further Israeli concessions in the peace process by forcing Israel to redefine itself and accept the right of return for 3 million Palestinian refugees. In other words, it offers to condition the end of the Arab-Israeli conflict on the end of the Jewish state itself.

The abiding irony of this attempt to delegitimize Israel is that the very elements of civility so venerated by the Arab nations are the ones so fundamentally absent in their own societies. Freedom of religion? Ask Moammar Ghadaffi how many Jews pray in the abandoned synagogues of Tripoli. Human rights? When did the Syrians last open an investigation into the 1982 massacre of 20,000 of their own people in the town of Hama? Racism? Ask the Christian Lebanese about the intimidation, torture, rape and murder, they endured from the PLO in the 1970s. Freedom of expression? Have a talk with Saad Eddin Ibrahim, Egypt´s leading human rights activist, jailed for upholding the right to hold opinions and facing the prospect of a seven-year jail term.

If history can be described as a mere chronicle of the foolishness of mankind, then perhaps certain self- righteous Arab nations, oblivious of their own hypocrisy, can be said to be making an important contribution to posterity. But those internationalists among us, looking for wisdom, honorable intentions, a respect for human life and moderation, should be searching for their models outside the Arab world and its bully pulpit in the United Nations General Assembly. For in the end, there is usually only one sense in which many of these nations are ever united - and that is in their contempt for democratic, pluralistic and humanistic Israel.

©2001 - Arutz 7

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