It is hard to believe that it has been almost 44 years since the United Nations passed Resolution 3379, which declared that Zionism – the foundation stone of the State of Israel that declares Jews an indigenous people to the Holy Land formerly known as Palestine, and who have a right to that land – is a racist endeavor.
Adopted by a 72-35 vote with 32 abstentions, it passed on November 10, 1975, by no coincidence the 37th anniversary of another landmark day of antisemitism: Nazi Germany’s Kristallnacht, or the Night of Shattered Glass.
Israel’s ambassador that day was Chaim Herzog, later Israel’s sixth president, who delivered what is called today an “instant classic” – an historic 3,700-word speech that was hailed then and is still quoted today.
“Zionism is the name of the national movement of the Jewish people and is the modern expression of the ancient Jewish heritage,” he said addressing the General Assembly. “The Zionist ideal, as set out in the Bible, has been – and is – an integral part of the Jewish religion.
“Zionism is to the Jewish people what the liberation movements of Africa and Asia have been to their own people.
“Zionism is one of the most dynamic and vibrant national movements in human history. Historically it is based on a unique and unbroken connection, extending some 4,000 years, between the People of the Book and the Land of the Bible.”
Resolution 3379 remained on the books until it was revoked 16 years later on December 17, 1991, a month and a half after the Madrid Conference when international relations with Israel were beginning to open up.
Fast forward 28 years. Last week, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination met for the first-ever review of the Palestinian Authority’s compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
As The Jerusalem Post’s Tovah Lazaroff reported, the committee wanted to know how come there was “antisemitic and anti-Israel prejudice and incitement to hatred” in the “media and speeches of state officials,” and what the Palestinians were doing to curb that rhetoric.
At the hearing on Wednesday, the PLO’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Ibrahim Khraishi, flipped the script. Suddenly it was Zionism rather than Palestinian rhetoric that constituted racism.
“I would like to remind you that in 1975, the General Assembly adopted Resolution 3379, indicating that Zionism is a form of racism,” Khraishi said. “That is the root of the problem that we face.”
It simply boggles the mind. Not just that the resolution was revoked in 1991, which Khraishi did not mention, but that he would take such a backward move to belligerency.
“It was the Zionist movement that was behind the creation of the State of Israel,” said Khraishi, claiming that the Palestinians are the victims of Zionism.
Yes, it was the Zionist movement that was behind the political creation of the State of Israel. And it was also 3,500 years of Jewish history. Is this not a given in 2019?
The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination was looking into written submissions by a number of NGOs, including UN Watch, NGO Monitor and IMPACT-se, which provided it with examples of Palestinian hate speech and antisemitism against Jews and Israel.
This included classic anti-Jewish stereotypes, and the PA’s policy of monetary payments to terrorists who killed Jews as well as to family members of those terrorists.
IMPACT-se showed how violence against Israel and glorification of those killed, including suicide bombers, was present even in basic math problems in school textbooks. All evidence was ignored.
“This was the first UN report on the egregious racism and discrimination in the PA, and in response, the PA representative chose to ignore the findings and instead redirect his animus against Israel by evoking the despicable ‘Zionism is racism’ rhetoric,” said Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the UN in New York, in response. “That the Palestinian leadership traffics in this form of antisemitism should be condemned on the world stage. It shows they are the problem – by continuing to incite their people against Jews and the Jewish state.”
For shame on the United Nations for not focusing on that – and for continuously allowing itself to be used as just another forum to bash Israel.