WASHINGTON – US Secretary of State John Kerry delivered a full-throated defense of Zionism at the United Nations on Wednesday night.
Commemorating 40 years since Chaim Herzog, then Israel’s ambassador to the UN, blasted the General Assembly for equating Zionism with racism, Kerry effectively equated anti-Zionism with racism – a scourge, he said, that remains as “abhorrent” and widespread in 2015 as it was in 1975.
Herzog’s task that year was to deliver Israel’s response to Resolution 3379, which was originally crafted to condemn historic racist and colonialist trends, and quickly transformed into a vehicle to undermine the founding principles of the Jewish state, Kerry said. It passed on “a day of infamy” when “the abomination of anti-Semitism was given the appearance of international sanction.”
Those who supported the proposal, Kerry declared, acted in “willful ignorance of history and truth.” Referring to Israel as the “historic homeland of the Jewish people,” he said that hatred of Jews remains an international challenge in several international bodies.
“Too many outside this room fail to realize the global reality of anti-Semitism today.”
And yet, while praising the ultimate product of Zionism – a modern and self-reliant Israel – Kerry also said that “the Zionist dream” of an absolutely democratic Jewish state cannot be realized until Israel reaches a comprehensive two-state arrangement with the Palestinians.
“The only way to have that democracy is to have that peace.” Thus, the United States remains equally committed to the Zionist cause, as it does to the founding of a Palestinian state, he added.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Zionist Union Party leader Isaac Herzog, Chaim’s son, also spoke at the event. In brief remarks, Ban said the 1975 resolution “badly damaged” the UN’s credibility as a just international parliament.
Herzog took the opportunity to address news out of Brussels that the European Parliament would support widespread labeling of Israeli settlement products sold in the continent. “ We are fed up with being labeled, being shunned, being singled out as something different,” he said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, fresh off of a three-day trip to the United States, also addressed the gathering via video. The premier condemned the UN for its “irrational and obsessive bashing of Israel” and said that the practice had become such a common occurrence that it was almost benign.
“The banality of evil,” he quipped.