This week I took the official tour of the UN headquarters in New York. I noticed that next to every “pro-Jewish” item in the iconic building, there is something to counterbalance it. Thus, adjacent to Chagall’s stunning stained glass window in the lobby there is a statue of Count Folke Bernadotte, a UN official who was killed by members of the Jewish underground group Lehi in Jerusalem during the War of Independence. Next to a small display on the Holocaust there is a huge exhibition on “Palestine.”
I attended a session run by the Israeli delegation at the UN. Danielle Brown, an articulate former Canadian who made Aliya, served in the IDF, and graduated from IDC ran the briefing. She was an advisor to Ambassador Ron Prosor. Brown noted how traditionally Israel used to be “bullied” in the UN and was always on the defensive. Israel has however radically changed its tactics and has gone on the offensive. Now other ambassadors are hesitant to criticise Israel, because each time that an Arab representative gets up to speak of alleged humanitarian violations in Israel, the Israeli representative gets right back up and speaks of actual humanitarian violations, and hypocrisy in that country.
The official tour of the UN building was highly revealing regarding the UN policy of “balance” and fair play. The UN guide led me through the General Assembly room, complete with its “Palestine” “country sign,” during a session. I was then led to a floor with a display of the results of violence. Some of the highlights included exhibits on landmines, nuclear conflict, and a small display on the Holocaust. The official UN guide did not mention the Holocaust exhibition, but did stop at the display titled “Palestine.” I asked her why she did not talk about the Holocaust exhibition, and she answered that it was “too controversial.” This did not stop her, and every other guide stopping and explaining the “Palestine” exhibition. This large display, on a bright orange background was full of half-truths and misconceptions. It was nothing less than crude Palestinian propaganda, which was lent a veneer of legitimacy by being part of the official UN tour.
When I started to point out some of factual inconsistencies, the guide cut me off and hurried on with the tour. Some of the gems were:
Of the two States to be created under resolution 181 (ii), only one, Israel, has so far come into being as an independent and sovereign State.
This neglects to mention that the Palestinian Arabs, and indeed the entire Arab world, rejected the UN partition plan and tried to annihilate the nascent Jewish State through force of arms. If they would have accepted, as the Palestinian Jews did. there would be no Arab Israel conflict.
In 1948, as a result of the war between Israel and neighbouring Arab states, almost 750,000 Palestinians were uprooted and became refugees.
This fails to contextualise that the “war between Israel and her neighbouring Arab States” was one of self-defense by the Jews after an unprovoked combined Arab armies attack whose sole purpose was to wipe Israel off the map. The majority of Arab refugees, whose numbers are vastly inflated, left without ever seeing an Israeli soldier, in order to facilitate the Arab armies in “finishing their job.” There is no mention of the 830,000 Jewish refugees from Arab lands, some who had been there for thousands of years, who left everything behind.
No other entity or trouble spot in the world had a place on the UN tour (not even Syria, where over seventy thousand civilians have been killed in two years of civil wars). This would seem to indicate a clear bias against Israel, that bastion of democracy and human rights in the despotic Middle East.
So much for balance and objectivity.