Hamas tunnel found in southern Gaza.
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)
As Israel’s permanent representative to the United Nations, I’m no stranger to the challenges we face in the international arena. Every day, the diplomats at our mission face numerous attempts to damage the security and well-being of our country. This includes everything from proposals for UN Security Council resolutions seeking to prejudice the results of future possible peace talks, to the creation of a database aimed at damaging companies that do business with Israel.
Recently, however, we are witness to an unfortunate phenomenon which not only seeks to counter our diplomatic efforts, but is also an indication of something more troubling in Israeli society.
Just last week, as Israelis were already deep into their Shabbat celebrations with their families, the Security Council met for an informal session to debate the need for “protection” for the Palestinian people.
It goes without saying that the very concept of such a meeting is ludicrous. In a week when Israelis were stabbed in the streets and two new attack tunnels from Gaza were uncovered, the call to convene the council did not even mention the suffering Israelis face every day.
The content of the meeting came as no surprise to us. With no role provided for the Israeli side, and with numerous anti-Israel groups invited to provide “expert” testimony as to the suffering of the Palestinians, it was clear from the outset that this was to be a completely biased and irrelevant meeting that must be shunned and not provided with any undeserved legitimacy.
One group of Israelis, however, did take part in this anti-Israel circus. Representatives from the Israeli NGO Yesh Din addressed the council and joined the others who accused the IDF of repeatedly violating international law and the human rights of the Palestinian residents of Judea and Samaria.
Harmful comments by hostile ambassadors are not new to us. Just recently the Palestinian representative to the UN, Riyad Mansour, compared Israel to the Nazi regime and its attempts to repress the Warsaw Uprising, and at the meeting on Friday the Venezuelan ambassador questioned whether we were planning for the “final solution” of the Palestinians.
But the accusations made by Israeli NGOs in the most prominent of international forums are particularly damaging.
With an inherent majority of non-democratic dictatorships in the UN, we know that on any given day a large number of member states stand ready to vote against us any time a resolution is brought forward critical of Israel. In recent months this has led to Israel being condemned for everything from the poor state of Palestinian women in their society, to the dangers facing Palestinian minors who participate in terrorist attacks.
Some countries even voted, nonsensically, against an Israeli initiative promoting advancements in agricultural technologies just because the Jewish state stood behind the proposal.
This is why much of our efforts at the UN are focused on what we call the “moral majority.” These are countries that are often critical of our policies, but when provided with the appropriate facts and reasoning can many times be counted on to support us when it comes to the most important issues.
When organizations like Yesh Din, which bills itself as an Israeli human rights organization, come to the Security Council and spread lies about IDF soldiers and Israeli policies, these diplomatic efforts are set back significantly.
Any fair observer knows that Israel is a thriving democracy where the law reigns supreme and free speech is protected for all. If anyone in Israel genuinely feels that an injustice has occurred there are numerous public forums and law enforcement officials they can turn to and demand that their claim be addressed. It can only be assumed that those who instead seek out international forums that serve no purpose but to criticize Israel unfairly must have other motives in mind other than the human rights of those they claim to represent.
Nothing makes me prouder than to stand at the helm of a dedicated team of diplomats who work tireless on behalf of our beloved country against those who seek to besmirch our good name. Thanks to these efforts, we are able to thwart many anti-Israel initiatives and we consistently rally our many of our allies at the UN on the issues that matter most.
We will continue to stand strong in defense of our good name and international standing and repudiate any claim to the contrary, whether it comes from adversaries from abroad or unfair critics from within.The author is Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations.