Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Behind the United Nations' War on Israel

[Jack's Gaza Roundup, Part Three is here. Great job again, Jack.]

I know there are populations around the world who love the United Nations - after all, who wouldn’t love an organization that pledges to work for peace, that feeds the hungry, that distributes medicine for the sick, that provides comfort for refugees?

But the UN’s habit of beating up on Israel, or aiding those who beat up on Israel, is really wearing on any love I might feel for the world’s policeman.

From the preponderance of UN resolutions against Israel and in favor of those who attack Israel,
to their creation of a special refugee organization just for Palestinians in order to keep them as refugees forever - unlike what they do for any other refugees in the world,
to their formal commemoration of the birth of Israel as Naqba (catastrophe),
to their warm embrace of politicians who call for Israel to be destroyed,
to their "peacekeepers" who have provided support for everyone from Nasser to Arafat to Hizbullah in attacks on Israelis,
the bias is just absurd.

Just look at the "Human Relations Council" of the United Nations. Courtesy of Wikipedia’s article on the Council:
By April 2007, the Council had passed nine resolutions condemning Israel, the only country which it had specifically condemned. By comparison, toward Sudan, a country with severe human rights abuses in Darfur as documented by the Council's work groups, it has only expressed "deep concern." …
The council voted on 30 June 2006 to make a review of possible human rights abuses by Israel a permanent feature of every council session. The Council’s special rapporteur on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is its only expert mandate with no year of expiry. The resolution, which was sponsored by Organization of the Islamic Conference, passed by a vote of 29 to 12 with five abstentions…
The Human Rights Council has now passed 60 per cent of its resolutions on Israel alone and nothing, for example, on China and Zimbabwe and Saudi Arabia, according to human rights academic Professor Anne Bayefsky.

This is why Israel and her supporters have a hard time taking seriously United Nations calls for the end of hostilities in Gaza. Yes, the UN does a lot of good in some corners of the globe - but their track record in the Middle East is abysmal.

But why does this happen? Why is the UN so committed to a war on Israel? The UN is not evil; rather, I see five major rational causes for their anti-Israel stance:

1) The currency of democracy - Votes and Money
Democracy, including that democratic system which governs UN activity, is supported by two major forces: Votes and Money. Votes are needed to approve initiatives; Money is needed to carry out those initiatives. Since there are more than 20 Arab states, many of which are oil-rich, and there is only one Israel, which has no oil wealth, the UN’s every vote is automatically slanted toward that Arab bloc.

2) The natural desire for a silver bullet
The world is tired of the Middle East and its wars, and would love to have peace. Arab countries promise that if Israel were gone from the region, the Middle East would be at peace. Never mind that Iraq invaded Kuwait without any Israel issue, never mind that Syria controls Lebanon for reasons of greed rather than politics, never mind that Shiites and Sunnis continue to kill each other with or without Israel… the United Nations would love to try for this magic solution to their 60-year headache.

3) Israel must do ugly things to survive
This is simple fact. Fences, air raids, targeted killings of terrorists, checkpoints, and so on - these are ugly, they make for ugly photographs in the press, and they are easy fodder for anti-Israel propaganda. It’s hard for the world to stomach seeing this, even if they start out sympathetic to Israel’s cause.

4) The United States can be an albatross around Israel’s neck
Dating back to Cold War US-USSR rivalries, the United States has long been Israel’s staunchest supporter, and Israel has returned the favor with political and military support. The love goes both ways. And with the United States as Public Enemy #2 in the United Nations, Israel suffers from guilt by association.

5) The United Nations has never accepted Israel’s basic premise for its existence
Certainly, November 1947 was a remarkable moment in time, a moment when many nations united in support of the return of Jews to their historic land - but it was only a moment, and it was driven by motivations that had nothing to do with acceptance of the Jewish narrative. Guilt, greed and political alliances drove that vote, not a noble recognition that Jews deserve to be able to live in the land of their ancestors.
The result is that when those original motivations (guilt, greed, alliances) disappear, and certainly when they apply instead to Arab causes, the support for Israel turns into antagonism against her.

So I fully understand why the UN, an organization led largely by good people with good intentions, is committed to wiping Israel off the map. But please excuse me when I tell them what they can do with their good people and good intentions, their UNRWA and their Naqba and their resolutions. The fact that there is logic behind their anti-Israel bias doesn’t mean I’m going to listen to them.

Message to the UN: Until you can see past your Arab bloc and your simplistic desire for easy answers, until you can put some effort into understanding Israel’s situations, until you can get past your anti-US stance and embrace Israel’s reason for existence, don’t call us.

And, no, we won’t call you.


  1. Rabbi, when you say "don't call us, who is us?". In my offbeat, humble opinion, if "us" is the United States or the Jews, either way, we're (Israel) in trouble. Although Bush was one of the best friends Israel ever had, the Jews, in mass, turned their backs this past November and voted with their grandparent's sentiments. Perhaps Israel recognizes the absurdity of this intellectual elitism, and decided that it better react to it's antagonizers before January 20th.

  2. I know you have your take on Bush, but I can't agree. I think he wanted to be Israel's best friend, but I don't think his actions met his intentions.