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OpinionIsrael at War

The unmaking of the United Nations 

How the U.N. became the handmaiden of terrorists.

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres (right) with Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas. Source: Twitter.
U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres (right) with Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas. Source: Twitter.
Clifford D. May
Clifford D. May is the founder and president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), as well as a columnist for “The Washington Times.”

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres observed last month that Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israelis “did not happen in a vacuum.” He’s not wrong.

But what he neglected to mention are the multiple ways the United Nations encouraged Hamas’s orgy of mass murder, rape and child-stealing, the U.N.’s efforts to demonize and delegitimize Israel and its campaign to make Israel an international scapegoat, whipping boy and pariah.

I’d trace this campaign back to 1975, when the Soviet Union led the U.N. General Assembly to adopt a resolution calling Zionism “a form of racism.”

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Daniel Patrick Moynihan rose to declare that “this is a lie” and to denounce that “the abomination of antisemitism has been given the appearance of international sanction,” and to state unequivocally that the United States “does not acknowledge, it will not abide by, it will never acquiesce in this infamous act.”

Ambassador Moynihan understood that, prior to 1948, Zionism was the movement in support of self-determination for the Jewish people in part of their ancestral homeland which had been, for millennia, under the rule of foreign empires.

Since Israel’s declaration of independence, Zionism has meant supporting Israel’s right not to be annihilated. And let’s acknowledge the obvious: The disestablishment of Israel would require genocide.

In 1991, the United Nations underwent a moment of sanity: 111 nations voted to revoke the “Zionism is racism” resolution, with only 25 nations, “mostly Islamic and hard-line Communists,” as The New York Times reported, “voting against.”

That reflected “the shifting political currents of recent years, the Persian Gulf war in particular, which split the Arab and Islamic worlds, and the changes in the former Soviet bloc, fostered by the collapse of Communism.”

Before long, however, the Jew-haters were back. On Sept. 22, 2001, the United Nations staged an “anti-racism” conference in Durban, South Africa that morphed into a festival of Jew-hatred.

Participants held up signs reading: “For the liberation of Quds [Jerusalem] machine-guns based upon FAITH and ISLAM must be used!” and “The martyrs’ blood irrigates the tree of revolution in Palestine!” and “Down with Nazi-Israeli apartheid!”

American and Israeli representatives walked out. But the United Nations has stuck to its guns, so to speak. There’s been a Durban II, III and IV.

And, at the 20th-anniversary gala in 2021 in New York City, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, foreign minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran, declared: “I’m honored to announce that my nation’s willpower is dedicated to the total elimination of all forms of racial discrimination, including apartheid and Zionism.”

I need to note how ludicrous the apartheid charge is. Israeli Arabs—about 20% of the country’s population—have political parties, vote and hold office. Jewish and Arab students matriculate in the same universities. Jewish and Arab doctors work together in Israeli hospitals. Israeli Arabs volunteer to serve in the Israel Defense Forces.

As for Gazans, they’ve been ruled by Hamas since 2007—two years after Israelis withdrew from that territory. The only Jews in Gaza are hostages.

Palestinians in the West Bank are governed by the Palestinian Authority. Israeli civilians are barred from entering Palestinian cities. Israeli troops enter only to battle terrorists.

To see apartheid in practice, you need only visit Mr. Amir-Abdollahian’s country, where Baha’i, Christians, Sunni Arabs and other minorities face intense discrimination and persecution, and women are maimed and murdered for not “properly” covering their hair.

Yet last week, Martin Griffiths, the top U.N. humanitarian aid official, met with Amir-Abdollahian to discuss the situation in Gaza.

And last month Tehran became chair of a U.N. human rights forum—appointed by the president of the U.N. Human Rights Council, which has become a club for human rights abusers.

Also last month, the U.N. General Assembly failed to pass a resolution condemning Hamas’s most recent war crimes.

Other U.N. agencies that are soft on Hamas include the WHO (World Health Organization); the U.N. Office on Genocide Prevention; and UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency), a welfare agency that employs Hamas members and confers refugee status on the millions of descendants of the 1948 Arab war against Israel. This definition of “refugee” applies nowhere else in the world.

Francesca Albanese, the U.N.’s Special Rapporteur on Palestine, argues that Israel has no right of self-defense because Gaza is a land “it colonizes”—ignoring the fact that Jews lived in Gaza centuries before armies from Arabia conquered and colonized the territory. Also, as noted above, all Israelis left Gaza in 2005.

And then there’s Navi Pillay, who heads the U.N. Commission of Inquiry, a sort of Spanish Inquisition charged with blood-libeling Israel in perpetuity. She claims Israelis have no right to defend themselves because the International Criminal Court opined that self-defense is limited to combating state actors, not terrorist groups. Hamas’s response to that opinion: “We salute the court’s decision.”

The U.N.’s hostility toward Israel is augmented by its incompetence. One example: After the 2006 war in Lebanon, the U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 1701, establishing a multinational force to disarm Hezbollah in the territory adjacent to Israel’s border. Hezbollah has since installed tens of thousands of missiles in that territory with no serious objections—much less actions—by the United Nations. Hundreds of those missiles have been fired at Israel since Oct. 7.

The United Nations came into existence in Oct. 1945, in the aftermath of World War II and the Holocaust. It was meant “to maintain international peace and security, give humanitarian assistance to those in need, protect human rights, and uphold international law.” 

It consistently fails to accomplish those missions.

Instead, it has become the handmaiden of Islamic supremacists, Chinese Communists, Russian imperialists and Palestinian terrorists.

No good can come from failing to recognize this disappointing reality.

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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