“When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews.”
– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
In our world of cultural relativism, calling someone anti-Semitic is usually dismissed as beyond the pale. The usual retort is that legitimate criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitism. At the UN, it goes much further. Israel is a nation designated for special treatment, much like South Africa was years ago. Critics use the template of apartheid South Africa for the Jewish state. Because apartheid is beyond the pale of civilized norms, they argue, Israel deserves special treatment. This allows the UN to bypass any legitimate defense of Israel and Zionism. No one can defend apartheid, so it must be destroyed.
Non-democratic states overwhelmingly control the UN. They often mouth the words of moderation, but defend nations that give sanctuary to terrorists. How else can one explain that some of the most odious nations on earth are elected to the UN Human Rights Council? In fact, Israel’s judge and jury at the UN are often nations that enable terrorism and anti-Semitism.
To accurately judge the United Nations, we need a definition. If Israel is treated and judged completely differently than other nations and held to a standard not applied to any other member nation, then that should be considered anti-Semitism.
The Inter-Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti-Semitism (ICCA), composed of 140 parliamentarians from 40 countries, affirmed the definition of anti-Semitism by the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA). It states, “Applying double standards by requiring of [Israel] behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation” is anti-Semitism.
As Abe Foxman of the ADL said, “anti-Zionism constitutes anti-Semitism if Zionism is the only nationalism being opposed.” When criticism of Israel devolves into demonization and delegitimization of its right to exist as a Jewish state, you have anti-Semitism. If Zionism is described conspiratorially as scheming to take over the world, you are dealing with anti-Semitism.
Robert Wistrich, of The Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism, said, “The deplorable combination of discrimination, delegitimization and double standards at the United Nations has in recent decades been a lethal source of globalized anti-Semitism.”
Defenders of the UN claim it was created in the wake of the Holocaust, and that the organization annually commemorates the world’s most heinous genocide against the Jews. That is commendable, but historical revisionism has universalized the Holocaust, and its special characteristics pertaining to Jews have been watered down until the Holocaust has become merely one among many genocides throughout the ages.
A 2014 ADL poll revealed “the most anti-Semitic region in the world is the Middle East and North Africa, with 74 percent harboring anti-Semitic views.” The Palestinian Arabs living in the West Bank and Gaza had a 93% anti-Semitic rating.
If the double standard of treating Israel profoundly differently than other UN members is anti-Semitism, consider the following:
The UN Human Rights
Council Israel is the only nation in the world that has a standing agenda item against it at every session of the UNHRC. Not North Korea, not China, not Pakistan, not Syria, not Sudan, not Iran. The Council never has mentioned the word “Hamas.”
From 2006 through 2013, Israel has been subjected to 45 condemnation resolutions. No other nation in the world comes close.
Special Rapporteur on Palestine John Dugard said in 2006, “Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories has many features of colonization. At the same time it has many of the worst characteristics of apartheid.” In explaining Palestinian violence, UN “expert” Dugard sees moral equivalence with the partisans who fought the Nazis! Mr. Dugard is also a judge on the UN’s International Court of Justice.
UN General Assembly Resolutions
From 1947 to 1991, there were about 300 anti-Israel General Assembly resolutions against Israel. In 2012, there were 22 GA resolutions specifically against Israel, while there were only four for the rest of the world combined.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency
The Palestinian refugee organization UNWRA changed the definition of “refugee” to create a unique status for Palestinians. While other refugees lose refugee status in the following generation, only Palestinians remain refugees forever. This allows UNWRA to receive 50 percent of the UN’s money for all the refugees in the world. Instead of having only 30,000 original Palestinian refugees (if they were counted as every other refugee in the world is), we now have over 5,000,000 Palestinian Arabs refugees – courtesy of the UN.
UN Security Council
The real power of the UN lies in the Security Council. Israel is the only member state that has not – and cannot – serve on the Security Council. From 1948 to 2010, there were 77 resolutions directly aimed at Israel. No other nation on earth even comes close to this record of infamy.
Israel’s Exclusion from Regional Groups
Israel is the only UN member excluded from membership in its own regional group in the Middle East and Asia
The UN’s Durban Conference
The three UN Durban Conferences on Racism have found racism in only one of the 192 nations of the UN: Israel. One of the flyers distributed at the first Durban conference pictured Hitler asking the question, “What would have happened if I had won?”
Ignoring and not acting against the worst nations in the world
Anne Bayefsky, a Senior Fellow with the Hudson Institute, said: “There has never been a single resolution about the decades-long repression of the civil and political rights of the 1.3 billion people in China.... Every year, UN bodies are required to produce at least 25 reports on alleged human rights violation by Israel, but not one on an Iranian criminal justice system which mandates punishments like crucifixion, stoning and cross-amputation. This is... demonization of the Jewish state.”
UN Special Rapporteurs Richard Falk (2008-2014) and Makarim Wibisono (2014-2020)
Richard Falk is a notorious anti-Semite, infamous 9/11 conspiracy theorist and Boston Marathon bombing apologist.
His successor, Makarim Wibisono, according to UN Watch, has accused Israel of “unconscionable use of force against the Palestinians,” and of having a “policy of retribution against the entire Palestinian nation.” Wibisono described Israel as showing “ruthless contempt for the lives of the innocent.” His home country has no diplomatic relations with Israel.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Navi Pillay is the UN official who questioned the legality of the killing of Osama bin Laden, and is an enthusiastic supporter of the anti-Zionist Durban conferences. According to Pillay, “The Israeli occupation of Palestine led to large-scale violations of international law.”
Is anti-Zionism at the UN anti-Semitism? You decide.
Here is how United States can fight anti-Semitism at the UN while advancing American foreign policy interests: The US pays for 22% of the UN’s annual $5 billion budget. Congress should legislate support for only humanitarian efforts at the UN. Don’t support or defer to an institution that glorifies anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism.
End financial support for UNWRA until it adopts the definition of “refugee” which applies everywhere else. This would end a root cause of the conflict, as it would reduce from 5,000,000 to 30,000 the number of Palestinian Arab Refugees.
Find democratic coalition partners to support American national security priorities and protect America’s allies.
As the leader of the free world, the US should speak out unapologetically in the UN. Fighting institutionalized anti-Semitism hiding behind the cloak of anti-Zionism would be a great start.
Soon there may be a new Islamic caliphate of al-Qaida in the Levant. So who will be elected to the UN Human Rights Council first, Israel or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)?
The author is the founder and director of MEPIN, the Middle East Political and Information Network.