The Jewish community and friends of Israel are called on to unite in response to the intensifying anti-Israel activity at the United Nations with the obsessive bashing of Israel.
In March 2016 the UN Human Rights Council, where countries with the most appalling human rights records in the world absurdly sit in judgment, and where Israel is the only country the Council has assigned a permanent place on its agenda, five separate resolutions condemning Israel were passed. Among them, one that reaches a stunning new low by calling for an official U.N. database to establish a “blacklist” of companies doing business in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Golan Heights.
The very same Human Rights Council enshrined its bias by appointing yet another special rapporteur with a well-documented record of prejudice against Israel, to investigate and report on human rights violations by Israel against the Palestinians in the territories. Even the government of his own country challenged the choice and advocated for the appointment of a credible and impartial rapporteur.
Most recently, the Executive Board of the Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) adopted a decision erasing any Jewish or Christian religious connection to their most holy sites in Jerusalem and elsewhere in Israel.
On March 24, 2016 at the annual meeting of the UN Commission on the Status of Women
(UNCSW), Israel was once again the only country singled out by name for criticism.
Last October, the perennial automatic majority of the members of the UN General Assembly engaged in its annual ritual of adopting multiple anti-Israel resolutions.
In 2014, United Nations Under-Secretary-General Rima Khalaf, who is also Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), in an official ESCWA report entitled "Arab Integration: A 21st Century Development Imperative" charged Israel with pursuing a policy of state sponsored “ethnic and religious purity” based on its desire to be recognized as a Jewish State. The ESCWA report also endorsed an international boycott of Israeli products produced in the West Bank.
This pattern of Israel bashing is deeply embedded in the institutional infrastructure of the United Nations. During the same session of the General Assembly which adopted the libelous “Zionism is Racism” resolution, the General Assembly also passed a resolution creating the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP).
In 1977 the General Assembly voted to establish the Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR) within the UN Secretariat staffed by UN employees to provide substantive support and services to the CEIRPP. According to the official UN web page of the DPR the staff devotes its time to monitoring political and other relevant developments; organizing international meetings and conferences; implementing a program of publications; maintaining the United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine (UNISPAL); cooperating with civil society organizations active on the issue; organizing the annual observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People; and, conducting annual trainings for staff of the Palestinian Authority.
In addition to organizing and promoting the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on November 29th each year at UN headquarters in New York, Vienna and Geneva, since the beginning of 2014 through May 2016 the DPR has organized 26 separate international meetings around the world in which the CEIRPP attacks Israel.
When the General Assembly finally revoked the Zionism is Racism resolution in 1991, it left this anti-Israel bureaucracy intact and fully operational. Every day the DPR continues to carry out
the malign intent of that odious resolution. Year after year, the cash strapped United Nations provides the funds to keep UN staff working to undermine the legitimacy of Israel.
Since Israel’s founding the United States has consistently opposed efforts to delegitimize Israel or undermine its security, including at the United Nations. The U.S. has worked intensively to overcome the entrenched discrimination against Israel by promoting Israel’s full participation in a number of multilateral bodies, conferences, and consultative groups, such as the Western European and Others Group (WEOG), membership in the Third Committee (JUSCANZ) and informal human rights caucusing group in New York which includes the United States. With U.S. advocacy Yom Kippur was recognized as an official UN holiday. The U.S. also worked closely with Israel, Canada and the European Union to organize an historic United Nations General Assembly meeting on anti-Semitism held in January 2015 and called on more than 50 countries and the European Union to announce clear commitments to address anti-Semitism and religious intolerance, including through the appointment of special envoys.
Despite the efforts of the United States, Israel and a few others, there is an environment of impunity in which vitriolic anti-Israel rhetoric is intensifying in U.N. resolutions, reports, and in the official statements issued on behalf of many member states.
It is time to complete the revocation of Zionism is Racism. It is time to dissolve the CEIRPP and reallocate the resources of the DPR. It is time to end the annual, virtually automatic, process of condemnation and discrimination against Israel.
As his term of office comes to a close Secretary General Ban Ki-moon can reinforce his commitment to fairness and equality as called for in the UN Charter and should be the leading institutional voice in this effort.
The U.N. is able to improve the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world when it adheres to the founding principles of equality and good faith on which it was founded. The institutionalized
discrimination against Israel strays far from those principle, diminishing the good it does by taking much needed attention and resources away from millions of people in dire need.
Taking up the challenge
The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and its member organizations are circulating a Declaration Opposing Discrimination Against Israel at the United Nations. This declaration is only a first step. By publicizing the UN’s violation of its own principles, we hope to create positive change and return the UN to the commitment to principles of fairness and equality on which it was founded.
We seek to enlist others of all faiths and nationalities, political leaders and opinion molders, religious and business leaders, all people of good will who want the UN to live up to the principles and values on which it was founded, to add their support and join in signing and distributing the Declaration below.