The United Nations General Assembly votes to adopt a draft resolution to deplore the use of excessive force by Israeli troops against Palestinian civilians at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., June 13, 2018 .
(photo credit: REUTERS/MIKE SEGAR)
Global antisemitism can best be observed at the General Assembly of the United Nations. Senior diplomats of many democracies participate actively in these major annual antisemitic activities.
The widely accepted definition of antisemitism agreed upon by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) states that an antisemitic manifestation, “…might include the targeting of the State of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.”
Despite its genocidal past against Jews in their “grandfather’s generation,” contemporary Germany participates wholeheartedly in these antisemitic manifestations at the UN. This issue came to the fore in March. Germany’s largest daily, Bild, published that in recent years the General Assembly accepted more than 500 resolutions against Israel and not a single one against the Palestinian terror group Hamas.
Bild gave some examples for the period 2014-2017. In 2014, of all resolutions directed against a specific country, 87% were against Israel. In 2016, the number was 77%; in 2017, 78%. In the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), more than half of the resolutions were against Israel. The newspaper pointed out that Germany regularly sides with Israel’s enemies. Last November, of 21 General Assembly resolutions against Israel, 16 were supported by Germany and it abstained on four.
There are no similar resolutions anywhere near these numbers against any other country at the GA. This means that the anti-Israeli votes of Germany and other countries supporting the condemnations of Israel are manifestations of antisemitism.
The German liberal party Free Democratic Party (FDP) recently proposed a motion in the country’s parliament, the Bundestag, to change its policy of voting against Israel. The motion said that the ongoing disproportionate condemnation by numbers of Israel in its total picture goes far beyond legitimate criticism.
In the parliament, 408 members voted against the resolution, 150 agreed and 63 members abstained. Only the populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) Party sided with the FDP and supported the motion. With one exception, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats and its Bavarian allies of the Christian Social Union, the Socialists and the Left Party all voted in favor of maintaining the country’s antisemitic voting at the UN. The Green Party abstained.
In German politics, there is a “cordon sanitaire” around the AfD. This implies from the side of the boycotters: “We are good and white; the AfD is bad and black.” The vote in parliament, however, showed that, concerning parties that opposed the FDP resolution, the difference with the AfD may only be a different shade of grey. After the vote, US Middle East expert Daniel Pipes tweeted: “Merkel just talks; AfD delivers.”
GERMAN FOREIGN Minister Heiko Maas, a socialist, has often said that Auschwitz inspired him to go into politics. He defended the government’s attitude, claiming that it was better to participate in drafting the text of these anti-Israeli resolutions and make them more moderate, rather than not participate in the discussion and vote against them. Insiders claim that this attitude is part of a game. The Palestinians prepare a radical resolution, knowing full well that the ultimate text will be less extreme. The Europeans negotiate a more moderate text and then claim that they have succeeded in weakening the original resolution.
After the Holocaust and many other huge crimes, the United Nations agreed on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. Its first article says: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience.” After the Second World War, many Germans and others who had participated in criminal activities claimed that they had followed the orders of superiors. This argument was frequently used by defendants in the post-war Nuremberg trials. The German expression for “an order is an order” – Befehl ist Befehl – became an international expression. The courts did not consider superior orders a valid claim for allowing those who had committed crimes to go free.
Jewish religious law already understood the nature of the issue more than a millennium ago: If somebody charges another to carry out a sin, the messenger who follows these instructions is responsible for the sin he has committed.
The UNHRC is even worse in its anti-Israeli incitement. An alien from Mars who comes to Earth in order to get a quick idea of what human rights means would probably focus on a visit to the council in Geneva. He could then report back to those who sent him that the inhabitants of Earth have developed a perfect immoral system to condemn states. Every country transgresses what they call “human rights.” Thus, a majority in the UNHRC of those who misbehave on human rights – including some that do so severely – can target any country they want.
Foreign ministries decide whether to support the wholesale condemnations of Israel at the General Assembly. If they do so, these people commit antisemitic acts. Their diplomats at the UN execute the orders. These people “are endowed with reason and conscience.” They cannot deny their responsibility by saying, “I am just an elite messenger who carries out the orders from my bosses.”
For each democratic diplomat who has participated in the massive UN and UNHRC condemnations of Israel, a file should be established of how often he or she has participated in such manifestations of antisemitism. Carrying out antisemitic acts is frequently not a crime, yet it is always an expression of an individual’s defective character.The writer is emeritus chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He was given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Journal for the Study of Antisemitism, and the International Leadership Award by the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>