06 December '16..
In an unpredictable world, one thing remains certain: anti-Israel distortion and discrimination at the United Nations. During my time as Israel’s ambassador, I witnessed some glaring examples, but would struggle to recall an example to top the outrageous recent actions of the president of the UN General Assembly, Peter Thomson of Fiji.
During a formal meeting of the UN, he chose to drape himself in the Palestinian flag. This wildly inappropriate behavior itself took place during one of the numerous events in the UN’s annual hate fest: an event timed to mark the anniversary of the UN Partition Plan but given the biased and one-sided title of marking the Palestinian “Nakba.”
In all my years at the UN, I never observed this kind of identification with any country, observer or member, in any context; not human rights, not natural disasters and not even massacres like the one currently taking place against civilians in Syria.
In choosing to drape himself in the Palestinian flag during an official discussion, the president of the General Assembly reinforced the absurdity of an organization that acts like a drug addict. The UN is unable to resist its anti-Israel fix, constantly increasing its consumption even at the risk of overdosing. This week we have witnessed the further crossing of red lines that Israel must simply not accept. When Fiji sent its representative to fill a role as prominent and prestigious as that of GA president, it surely did not expect that he would disgrace himself or his country by acting like a marching PLO demonstrator, trampling upon the values on which the UN was founded.
Thomson wrapping himself in the Palestinian flag is symbolic of the moral bankruptcy of the UN and its representatives, who continue selling out their souls, piece by piece, in return for Arab votes, while welcoming any Palestinian propaganda, however dishonest, from the UN podium. It is not a secret that Thomson is indebted to the Arab states for his appointment to the position, yet one could have assumed there would be some public limit to his servitude. Instead of covering himself with flags, perhaps Thomson should dust off his copy of the UN Charter and read about the GA president’s role and the values the office is supposed to represent. Until he’s able to perform the role appropriately, he should vacate his chair in favor of someone who can.
Next year marks the 70th anniversary of the UN Partition Plan, Resolution 181, which led to the establishment of the Jewish state. It was a historic decision not only for the creation of Israel, but because it expressed, shortly after the establishment of the UN, those very values of freedom, liberty and equality upon which it was founded. During the 69 years since, however, it seems the organization has suffered from severe identity crisis. Today this body is notorious for the malign interests that drive it and the internal alliances that paralyze it. It’s been taken hostage by tyrants and dictators, and driven by the darkest influences in the global community. Together, they have wiped out all trace of the principles they inherited; those values and principles on which the founding fathers of the UN, the winners of the Second World War, pinned their hopes for a better future.
It pushes understatement to its limits to say the UN has not yet solved all the ills of the world. It has not brought to an end the killings of civilians by autocrats, it has not defeated Islamic State, it has not found solutions to climate change, it has not overcome the challenges of desertification, and it has not put an end to violence against women. It is time for the UN to focus on what is wrong in the world instead of condemning what is right. It is time to stop demonizing and delegitimizing Israel and to end the structural and institutional bias against the only democracy in the Middle East. If, indeed, the UN does want to become relevant again, it must concentrate its efforts upon creating a better world. To do so, it will need to get treatment for its addiction, and get clean of its obsession with the State of Israel, which is costing it too much – in time, energy and credibility.
The writer is Israel’s former ambassador to the United Nations and holds the Abba Eban Chair for International Diplomacy at IDC Herzliya.
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