OpinionIsrael at War

Stand up to the terrorists at the United Nations

This is the face of modern-day antisemitism.

View of the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations. Photo: Arie Leib Abrams/Flash90
View of the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations. Photo: Arie Leib Abrams/Flash90
Anne Bayefsky
Anne Bayefsky is the director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust, and president of Human Rights Voices.

These remarks were delivered outside the United Nations building in New York City on Oct. 24, 2023.

Israel is fighting an existential war. People and nations of good will recognize that Israel’s fight is their fight. A fight of good against evil. Of light against darkness. Of decency against barbarity.

But across the street at the United Nations, the forces of evil, of darkness and of barbarism are in control. Across the street, the Palestinian Authority is the willing diplomatic representative of Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organizations. Across the street, Islamic nations have prevented the U.N. from even adopting a definition of terrorism, because they insist on an exemption clause for killing Israeli Jews.

Why does the U.N. matter in Israel’s hour of need? Because the institution and its major actors from the secretary-general on down are at this very moment attempting to tie Israel’s hands behind its back—to deny the Jewish state (a full and equal member of the U.N.) its right of self-defense under the U.N. Charter. What Hamas did to Jews in their homes, cars and beds, the U.N. is trying to do to Israel in the corridors of power and in the global media apparatus literally embedded in its halls

Make no mistake: This is a two-front war. On the battlefield and at the U.N. The U.N. is where terrorists come for excuses, justifications, whataboutism, inverting victim and perpetrator, and a green light for killing Israelis. This is where humanity’s moral compass is smashed and human rights become human wrongs.

It is an obscenity that the U.N. Security Council—created specifically to protect international peace and security—has never condemned Hamas. Never. That as recently as this morning, the Council remains unable and unwilling to affirm Israel’s right to defend itself against attempted genocide.

It is an obscenity that, instead of moral clarity in the face of mass murder, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres doesn’t know the difference between Palestinian terrorists who target civilians and an Israeli military that targets terrorists. This is not a cycle of violence, not what the secretary-general called—as early as Oct. 9!—a “vicious circle of bloodshed, hatred.” This is the familiar cycle of terrorists opposed to a Jewish state, steeped in antisemitism, finding the U.N. has their back.

It is an obscenity that, this afternoon, the U.N. will hand a global microphone to Navi Pillay, the chair of a so-called “inquiry” dedicated to the demonization and destruction of the Jewish state, and to Francesca Albanese, a U.N. “Special Rapporteur” who questioned the gut-wrenching accounts of beheadings and rape, and will present a report riddled with blood libels and incitement to violence.

These are the faces of modern antisemitism. Remember them. As the Nuremberg Tribunal reminded us, crimes are committed by men, not by abstract entities.

So we are here to defend Israel’s right of self-defense, to deny the forces of modern antisemitism and to demand immediately, without delay, without conditions, “Let our people go!”

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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