Thursday, July 16, 2015

At the UN, the Torah is right

In 1991, following the first Gulf War, the Office of Israel’s then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir hired an Israeli to do some research (Sha’i ben-Tekoa, “The UN's Obsession with Israel by the Numbers”, American Thinker, July 14, 2015). The Israeli was a man named Sha’i ben-Tekoa. The research he was asked to do focused on the United Nations’ voting patterns.

The Prime Minister’s Office wanted to understand how the UN General Assembly and its Security Council tended to vote when it came to Arab nations and Israel. Since this request had been made in 1991, ben-Tekoa’s research covered only the period, 1945 (when the UN was founded) to 1989 (the last year public records for UN voting were available) (ibid). Here’s what Tekoa found:

Regarding the Security Council:

-26% of all Security Council resolutions focused on the Arab-Israeli conflict. Forty-two percent of these votes were neutral. Among the remainder, 4% were critical of an Arab state or states. 96% criticized Israel. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was never criticized (ibid).

-During the UN’s first forty-five years, at least one Arab state sat on the Council thirty-nine times. Israel never sat on the Council (ibid).

-During this 45-year time-period, the Security Council “called upon,” “demanded,” “requested,” etc Israel to “comply, desist, refrain,” etc from some action more often than Arabs. In these calls, Israel was explicitly named 105 times. An Arab country was named only twelve times. The PLO was never named (ibid).

-the Security Council expressed its “concern,” “grave concern,” “regret,” “deep regrets, “shock,” etc. over Israeli actions thirty-one times. During these 45 years, the Security Council expressed similar negative sentiments regarding Arab states and the PLO zero times (ibid).

-the Security Council “condemned,” “censured,” “deplored,” “strongly deplored,” etc the state of Israel forty-nine times. Regarding the Arab states and the PLO, the Council never “condemned,” “censured,” “deplored,” “strongly deplored” any of them (ibid).

Voting was even more anti-Israel in the General Assembly.  Of the 690 votes taken during this 45-year period, 30% were neutral (ibid). These votes typically were procedural in nature—for example, re-authorizations of budgets for peacekeeping forces. Of the remaining 485 votes, 8% (56) opposed Arab desires, commonly in opposition to fresh funding for peacekeeping efforts. 429 votes (62%) went against Israel.

The General Assembly “called upon,” “demanded,” “requested,” etc. the Arabs to “comply, desist, refrain” from some action four times. Israel was “called upon,” “demanded,” “requested” to “comply, desist, refrain” 305 times (ibid).

The General Assembly expressed its “concern,” “grave concern,” “regret,” “deep regrets, “shock,” etc. over Israeli actions 179 times. Regarding Arab actions: never (ibid).       

The General Assembly “condemned,” “vigorously condemned,” “strongly condemned,” “deplored,” “strongly deplored,” “censured” or “denounced” Israel 321 times. No Arab state and the PLO were ever condemned (ibid).

The most recent 25 years haven’t gotten any better for Israel. Israel still hasn’t served on the Security Council (not that it should want to). Israel is still the butt of anti-Israel votes at the UN. Arab nations and the Palestinian Authority (the direct descendant of the PLO) still get too many ‘free passes’.

But this anti-Israel bias is perhaps most famously visible outside the General Assembly/Security Council. Most anti-Israel actions at the UN these days take place outside the Security Council and the General Assembly.

For example, since the UN’s Human Rights Council (UNHRC) was established, the state of Israel has been condemned more times than all other nations combined (“Report: In 9 Years' Existence, UNHRC Condemned Israel More Times Than Rest of World Combined”, UNWatch. org, June 25, 2015).

The UNHRC has passed condemnations of nations 117 times since its inception in 2006 (ibid). Including the most recent 2015 UNHRC Gaza Report, the UNHRC has condemned Israel 62 times. By contrast, there are only a total of 55 condemnations for all of the rest of the world.

Among the UN’s Special Rapporteurs, who study specific countries, there exists a Special Rapporteur for ‘the Occupied Territories’ (i.e, Israel’s treatment of ‘Palestinians’). But this Special Rapporteur is unique among his peers at the UN. He is the only one at the UNHRC whose mandate examines only one side (Israel’s actions, but not Hamas, Islamic Jihad, or Fatah). He is the only one who, in advance, presumes the country concerned (Israel) to be guilty. He is the only one whose mandate has no expiration (ibid).

By contrast, even the HRC mandate on Sudan examines all sides, government and rebel (ibid). The Sudan mandate does not presume violations in advance; and, most important, that mandate must be renewed each year (ibid). In addition, the mandate against Israel was the only one inherited in 2006 from the old Commission on Human Rights that was not subjected to the required review, rationalization and improvement (RRI) process (ibid).

As essayist Tekoa noted in his essay (above), this UN behaviour reminds us of our Torah. The UN hammers home a lesson: the Torah is correct.

More than 3,000 years ago, the Torah spoke of the prophecy of the gentile prophet Bilaam (Bamidbar, 23:9). Bilaam said, the nation of Israel ‘is a people that will dwell alone and not be counted among the nations'.

Tekoa is correct. The UN isolates Israel. The UN forces Israel to stand alone. The UN teaches us: the Torah is correct.

You might want to remember that the next time you see Israel vilified. You might want to remember our Torah’s other prophecies about Israel and the nations the next time you see the UN attempt to demonize, isolate or criminalize Israel.

Remember: our Torah—not the UN—is correct.




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