I was recently startled to learn that my ninth-grade son’s Jewish day school has a “Model United Nations” program. Given the world body’s dismal record on nearly every issue of importance to the Jewish People—especially Israel—how can any Jewish day school, or any American school for that matter, present the United Nations as a model for children?
A Model U.N. program is an explicit endorsement of a corrupt organization. For example, the U.N. is virulently anti-democratic. Each member-state has one vote in the General Assembly, but only a minority of member-nations are democracies. Many are led by outright tyrants.
Thus, for a Model U.N. program to be accurate, the organizers should ensure that a majority of the participants are class bullies.
Because dictatorships adversely influence the U.N. General Assembly and Security Council, like-minded repressive regimes dominate the U.N.’s misnamed Human Rights Council (UNHRC). 70% of UNHRC members are non-democracies, including China, Cuba, Somalia and Qatar. Each has an extensive record of human rights abuses.
The U.N. Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) contains a majority (57%) of non-democracies, including misogynistic regimes like the governments of Iran and Iraq, which currently hold leadership positions in the CSW. The CSW has never adopted a single resolution criticizing Iran, where women are whipped, jailed, fined or killed for not covering their hair.
Nor does the CSW address abuses of women’s rights by Palestinian-Arab men, such as wife-beating, rape, child marriage and so-called “honor killings.” These abuses were documented long before the horrific spree of sexual violence by Hamas-led terrorists—and “ordinary” Gazans—against Jewish women and girls on Oct. 7.
For a Model U.N. program to be accurate, its “model” CSW should be run by rapists.
And then there’s antisemitism. The majority of U.N. members are ferociously hostile to Jews. Almost four decades ago, the conservative writer and commentator William F. Buckley Jr. noted: “The only institution one can think of offhand that would sit by idly and perhaps even applaud another Holocaust is the United Nations.”
That’s what is happening now.
The U.N. General Assembly in 2023 approved twice as many resolutions against Israel (14) than the rest of the world’s countries combined (7). Even after the Oct. 7 massacre, which included beheadings and burnings of babies, gang-rapes of women and abductions of hostages—all on Hamas videos—the United Nations sympathized with the murderers.
Among other things, the U.N. adopted eight resolutions condemning Israel in the month after Oct. 7, never once condemning Hamas. Then, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres justified the Hamas atrocities, blaming them on an “occupation” of Gaza that did not exist. Guterres ignored calls for his resignation and doubled down on his comments.
The problem is systemic. For example, the Palestinian-Arab refugee agency UNRWA, the only U.N. agency devoted to refugees from a single population group, has “systematically promoted terrorism and radical antisemitic ideology,” according to UN Watch. A chat group of 3,000 UNRWA teachers openly celebrated the Oct. 7 murders and rapes. Credible evidence indicates that UNRWA staffers participated in the Oct. 7 massacre itself.
For a Model U.N. program to be accurate, it should be run by neo-Nazis.
Given all this, it seems clear that all Model U.N. programs should be discontinued and replaced by programs that focus on the values of democratic societies and the threats they face from dictatorships.
Students could do a critical study of the United Nations that would debunk the benign illusion portrayed in typical Model U.N. programs. One group of students could play the part of the Iranian or the North Korean regime and spew their belligerent rhetoric. Other students could play the role of the West. Even better, the latter could push back against the dictators much harder than the Western nations currently do. That might be a genuinely valuable educational exercise.
Because of the U.N.’s hatred of Jews and Israel, I believe that Jewish day schools like my son’s should distance themselves from anything to do with the organization.
The primary Model U.N. program for Jewish day schools is the Yeshiva University National Model United Nations (YUNMUN), run by Yeshiva University to facilitate the participation of Sabbath-observing students.
It would be a fine gesture of solidarity with the Jewish state and liberal democracies in general if Yeshiva University publicly dissolved and replaced YUNMUN and cut any other connection with the U.N. YUNMUN has been in existence for 34 years, which is more than enough. Decisive high-profile action by Yeshiva University could inspire other organizations, Jewish and non-Jewish, to follow suit.
The majority of U.N. members despise democracy, human rights, women’s rights, and, above all, the Jews. We should not allow them to continue poisoning the minds of our children.