The United Nations (UN) as an institution is not known to be a paragon of virtue, nor is it friendly toward Israel or sensitive to Jewish concerns. In fact, antisemitism resides deep within its agencies. As a whole it is an organization whose majority members are not democracies, and many are oppressive regimes. The members of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) are a case in point of oppressive regimes whose voice at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) dominates. Israel has served for decades as the “whipping boy” or scapegoat of the UNGA and various UN agencies. In fact, the General Assembly passed Resolution 3379 on November 10, 1975 with the combined Soviet, Islamic and Third World blocs equating “Zionism (the Jewish national liberation movement) with racism.” The resolution was repealed on December 16, 1991.
The Arab/Muslim bloc used its power to establish and authorize funding for several UN committees and divisions of the Secretariat which primarily carry out the anti-Israel agenda. Among these are: The Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat, “The Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices in the Territories,” and “The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.” Today, these committees continue to be engaged in promoting programs and initiatives that are harshly critical of Israel.
On December 23, 2016, the Security Council passed Resolution 2334, which condemned Israeli settlement building, and labeled settlements as a “major obstacle” to peace. The resolution passed 14-0, with the U.S. abstaining. It was the first Security Council resolution to deal specifically with settlements in over 35 years. Israel rejected the resolution, and Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon said it was a reward for the Palestinians that encouraged them “to continue down a dangerous path they have chosen” of avoiding direct negotiations with Israel.” In December, 2017, the U.S. vetoed a UN Security Council resolution calling on President Trump to reverse the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. In June, 2018, the U.S. vetoed a resolution condemning Israel for using excessive force toward Palestinian protesters along the Gaza border. There was no mention of Hamas in the resolution. A second resolution that did reference Hamas’s role failed to pass.
Since its entry into the UN in 1949, Israel was barred by the Arab/Muslim bloc of states and their Third World allies from joining its natural region as all other UN member states do. In Israel’s case, it is the Asian Regional Group. Arab member states of the UN have used the UNGA as a forum to isolate and condemn Israel, with support from Non-Aligned Movement members. In May, 2000, Israel was finally granted admission into a group – the Western and Others Group (WEOG). In 2013, Israel was invited to join WEOG in Geneva, the seat of several UN bodies and subsidiary organizations.
The UN Human Rights Council was re-created in 2006. Since then, more resolutions condemning Israel passed than the entire rest of the world combined, with 45 resolutions, which amounted to 45.9% of all country-specific resolutions. With most of the 47 member UNHRC being non-democratic repressive regimes, those passing resolutions against Israel include Iran, Cuba, China, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, to name but a few.
The permanent agenda of the HRC specifically targets Israel. Its Agenda Item #7, titled, “Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories, includes: Human rights violations and implications of the Israeli occupation of Palestine and other occupied Arab territories and the Right to self-determination of the Palestinian people.” Israel is the only country to appear on the HRC’s permanent agenda, while other countries such as Iran and Sudan, notorious for their human rights abuses, are included as part of the general debate. U.S. ambassador Nikki Haley, declaring the U.S. withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), told the Heritage Foundation (July 18, 2018) that the UNHRC controversial Agenda #7 is “designed to undermine Israel’s existence.” She added, “No other country, not Iran, not Syria, not North Korea, has an agenda item devoted to it.”
The UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is another biased UN agency with its bias toward Israel. In July 2017, UNESCO World Heritage Committee voted to designate the old city of Hebron, including the Tomb of the Patriarchs, as a “World Heritage in Danger,” and listed the site as part of the State of Palestine. The U.S., along with Israel, withdrew from UNESCO membership.
Still, thanks to the likes of Nikki Haley, things have begun to improve a bit for Israel at the UN. Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, was elected in June 2017, to serve as the Deputy President of the United Nations General Assembly. He will begin his role with the 72nd General Assembly. Former Israeli ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, also served in the role in 2012.
In 2016, Danon was elected as chairman of the Legal Committee of the UN. The UN’s Legal Committee deals with all of the organization’s activities regarding international law, including the status of the additional protocols of the Geneva Convention and coordinating its fight against terrorism. One of Danon’s first tasks in his new position will be to further the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism. It was the first time that Israel secured a victory at the UN. Responding to his election, Danon said, “I am proud to be the first Israeli elected to this position.” He added, “Israel is a world leader in international law and in fighting terrorism. We are pleased to have the opportunity to share our knowledge with the countries of the world.”
Together with the U.S., Israel brought up a resolution to condemn the Palestinian Islamist terrorist group Hamas, as a “global problem.” 87 states endorsed the resolution. Jewish heritage and culture are now part of the UN institutions, according to Danon. Yom Kippur has been recognized for the first time ever as a formal observable holiday, and Kosher food has been added to the UN cafeteria. Other major Jewish holidays are likewise marked by official celebrations.
Israel Hayom reported (September 24, 2019) that “Israeli, Jewish and pro-Israel groups all applauded the publication of an “unprecedented” UN report on anti-Semitism, which, among other issues, links anti-Semitism to criticism of Israel and the BDS movement.” According to Anne Herzberg, Legal advisor and UN Liaison at NGO Monitor, “This report marks one of the first times the UN has addressed the issue of anti-Semitism in any detail.” She added, “The Special Rapporteur condemned the use of anti-Semitic tropes and denial of Israel’s right to exist by BDS activists.”
Danny Danon commented that “we welcome the release of this unprecedented report on the subject of anti-Semitism. The report reflects the organizational change toward Israel. The assertion that the BDS movement encourages anti-Semitism is an important UN statement. As I have said many times, anti-Semitism has no place in our society, and must be denounced everywhere and from every platform.”
Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, is proud of Israel’s achievements. He observed that the UN is no longer the organization of the Goldstone Report with charges of Israeli “war crimes.” In 2019, the UN is no longer the home field of Israel-bashers. These days, Danon believes, many states support Israel’s initiatives in international forums.
Perhaps Danon is right, albeit, it is hard to believe that a leopard can change is spots. Unfortunately, it is not only the leopards who reside in the UN, there are snakes too.
A 2018 demonstration against antisemitism in Berlin. Photo: Reuters / Fabrizio Bensch.
A slight drop in the number of antisemitic incidents in Berlin during the first half of this year is no excuse for complacency, the city’s antisemitism commissioner emphasized on Thursday following the publication of statistics for hate crimes targeting Jews in the German capital from January-June 2019.
“Antisemitism remains a serious problem that we cannot tolerate in Berlin,” Lorenz Korgel — the city’s commissioner for combating antisemitism — told local news outlet Berliner Morgenpost. “The number of antisemitic incidents remains at a high level. ”
People wear kippas at a demonstration in front of a Jewish synagogue denouncing an antisemitic attack on a young man wearing a kippa, in Berlin, Germany, April 25, 2018. (photo credit: FABRIZIO BENSCH / REUTERS)
The population of the State of Israel has increased 2.1% since last year, according to a report released in time for Rosh Hashanah by the Central Bureau of Statistics.
Today, there are 9.1 million citizens of Israel, of which some 6.7 million (74%) are Jewish, the report shows. The country’s citizens also include 1.9 million Arabs (21%) and 0.4% of “others,” including Christians and those of other minority groups.
A women holds up a sign against anti-Semitism at a rally in New York City on Sept. 22, 2019. Photo: Rhonda Hodas Hack.
JNS.org – Hundreds of demonstrators rallied in front of City Hall in New York on Sunday, calling on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and other municipal leaders, as well as those on the national level, to act against antisemitism and the wave of antisemitic hate crimes taking place against the Orthodox Jewish community.
The beach in Tel Aviv, Israel, May 17, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Ammar Awad.
On the eve of the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, ushering in the Jewish year of 5780, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics released its traditional end-of-the-year findings.
Israel’s population now stands at 9.092 million people — 6.744 million (74.2 percent) of whom are Jews, with 1.907 million (21 percent) Arabs and 441,000 (4.8 percent) listed as “other.”
Drew Seigla and Stephanie Lynne Mason. Photo: Instagram.
Drew Seigla and Stephanie Lynne Mason play Pertshik and Hodl, whose love story takes them all the way to Siberia in the award-winning show by the National Yiddish Theatre.
“There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.” — Sherlock Holmes, The Boscombe Valley Mystery
“Israel must, in the most blunt and clear way possible, illustrate to Washington that the prosperity of Jordan is a first-rate Israeli security and strategic interest.” — Former head of Mossad Ephraim Halevy at “Between Jerusalem and Amman: 25 Years Since the Signing of the Peace Agreement Between Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,” Institute for National Security Studies, Sept. 25, 2019.
A thought came to mind the other day.
For all the bluster about Judaism and anti-Semitism in America, I am not convinced that far-out-left and liberal young Jews, who have been very strident and even threatening on Israel-related issues and local American political battles, have done much on the ground to confront and quash, one way or another, attacks on Jews. They have portrayed themselves as gliding along a moral highway but have permitted immoral actions to exist quite close to home, far from Gaza (did any of them recite a public Kaddish in the town square for murdered and injured Jews, or their damaged and desecrated property)?
One of the hallmark features of Yom Kippur are the communal sins which we need to repent for. Most Jews focus on what we have done personally towards G-d and towards others. Little thought is given to how we could be better as a community. Or the sins we bear as a community.
However, the communal recitation of the Al Chet, repeated over and over on Yom Kippur is to drive the point home that we are responsible for one another
Incoming freshman Member of Knesset from the leftist, Democratic Union list, Yair Golan, did it again. Golan’s constant delegitimization of his political opponents on the right, smacks of the same delegitimization that tyrants, dictators, demagogues and assorted totalitarians always use, just before the Putsch.
In that regard, he’s right when he said recently, “I’m reminding people that the Nazis came to power democratically, so we have to be careful, very careful, so that radicals with a messianic view won’t exploit Israeli democracy to replace the system of government.” Think “
As Israeli frustration mounts about violence coming out of Gaza, the idea of a ground invasion, and once and for all to finish with Hamas aggression, becomes more appealing. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has endorsed this approach, saying, “There probably won’t be a choice but to topple the Hamas regime.” While sympathetic to this impulse, I worry that too much attention is paid to tactics and not enough to goals. The result could be harmful to Israel.