Ban Ki-moon’s last hypocritical hurrah

It takes serious nerve for someone who has exhibited anti-Israel bias for years to bemoan the practice. But then, hypocrisy is what Ban and the UN are all about.

December 25, 2016 20:30
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. (photo credit: AFP PHOTO)

The outgoing secretary-general of the United Nations outdid himself this month. In his final briefing to the Security Council last Friday, Ban Ki-moon said, “Over the last decade, I have argued that we cannot have a bias against Israel at the UN. Decades of political maneuvering have created a disproportionate number of resolutions, reports and committees against Israel. In many cases, instead of helping the Palestinian issue, this reality has foiled the ability of the UN to fulfill its role effectively.”

Listening to the head of the international body that long ago ceased to fulfill any role other than that of providing a platform for despots, one might have mistaken him for an innocent bystander whose voice has been drowned out by the cacophony against the Jewish state.

In fact, Ban is a prominent member of the Israel- bashing choir he has been conducting for the past 10 years, taking every opportunity to equate the only democracy in the Middle East with the forces bent on its destruction and on the subjugation of the West.

Indeed, a mere week after making his statement, Ban wholeheartedly welcomed the adoption of the very kind of anti-Israel Security Council resolution that he had pretended to denounce. Calling Israeli settlements in territory obtained by Israel after the 1967 Six-Day War a “flagrant violation” of international law and a “major obstacle” to a two-state solution with the Palestinians, Ban said, “The resolution is a significant step, demonstrating the Council’s much-needed leadership…”

This is in keeping with his farewell address, in which he equated Israel with the terrorist organization that runs Gaza. Israel, he said, “needs to understand the reality that a democratic state, which is run by the rule of the law, which continues to militarily occupy the Palestinian people, will still generate criticism and calls to hold her accountable.” Hamas, with its “anti-Semitic charter, which seeks to destroy Israel,” he said, should “condemn violence once and for all and recognize Israel’s right to exist.”

He conveniently forgot to mention that Israel withdrew completely from Gaza in 2005, and that Hamas – which took control over the enclave two years later – has no reason to “condemn” the violence against Jews that it perpetrates and promotes.

But no matter. Ban, like the rest of his cohorts at the UN, never lets facts get in the way of ideology. Nor do his own contradictions in terms cause him to pause, which is why he had no problem saying that though the Palestinian conflict is not at the root of the other wars in the Middle East, “its resolution can create momentum in the region.” If he has some notion of how, exactly, the mass murder of Syrians at the hands of the Russian – and Iranian-backed regime of President Bashar Assad and rebel forces would be affected by some deal between Jerusalem and Ramallah, he is keeping it under wraps.

What he has never been quiet about, however, is his belief that Israelis are responsible for Palestinian terrorism, and his hurt feelings when called to task for holding this view. Take last January, when Ban said it was “human nature” for downtrodden people like the Palestinians to express their frustration through violence. This caused a stir among defenders of Israel, particularly since the UN chief had never made a similar statement about, say al-Qaida, Islamic State or Boko Haram – the group that, at the end of the same month, burned 86 Nigerian villagers alive, among them many children.

Offended at the mere suggestion that he had justified Palestinian terrorism, Ban penned an op-ed in The New York Times – titled “Don’t shoot the messenger, Israel” – to claim that his words had been unfairly ”twisted.” To prove that he had been misquoted, he clarified, ”The stabbings, vehicle-rammings and other attacks by Palestinians targeting Israeli civilians are reprehensible. So, too, are the incitement of violence and the glorification of killers. Nothing excuses terrorism. I condemn it categorically.”

Then, without skipping a beat, he proceeded to blame Israel.

”It is inconceivable… that security measures alone will stop the violence,” he wrote. “As I warned the Security Council last week, Palestinian frustration and grievances are growing under the weight of nearly a half-century of occupation. Ignoring this won’t make it disappear. No one can deny that the everyday reality of occupation provokes anger and despair, which are major drivers of violence and extremism and Israeli settlements keep expanding… Palestinians – especially young people – are losing hope over what seems a harsh, humiliating and endless occupation.”

Given his false depiction of the situation – including by omitting Israel’s withdrawal from more than 90% of the territory it obtained after the attempt of surrounding Arab armies to obliterate it in the Six-Day War – it stood to reason that his proposed solutions would be preposterous. And they were.

”We continue to work with Israel and the Palestinian Authority to rebuild Gaza and prevent another devastating conflict, and to press Palestinians for genuine national reconciliation,” he wrote, ignoring the fact that it has been impossible to “rebuild” Gaza, when Hamas has used all the American and European funds provided for this purpose to rebuild all its terror tunnels through which to kidnap and kill Israelis – and boast about this in video clips.

However, he said, he was ”disturbed by statements from senior members of Israel’s government that the aim [for a two-state solution] should be abandoned altogether” because the “stalemate” will lead to “a corrosion of the moral foundation of Israeli and Palestinian societies, ever more inured to the pain of the other.”

After attacking Israel for “lashing out at every well-intentioned critic,” Ban concluded that ”the status quo is untenable. Keeping another people under indefinite occupation undermines the security and the future of both Israelis and Palestinians.”

It takes serious nerve for someone who has exhibited anti-Israel bias for years to bemoan the practice. But then, hypocrisy is what Ban and the UN are all about.

The writer is the managing editor of The Algemeiner

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