In November 1948 almost exactly 65 years ago the head of the Ministry of Foreign affairs for the provisional government of Israel sent the following letter to the United Nations requesting membership for his tiny, new born country;
“Mr. Trygve Lie,
Secretary-General of the United Nations
On May 14, 1948, the independence of the State of Israel was proclaimed by the National Council of the Jewish people in Palestine by virtue of the natural and historic right of the Jewish people to independence in its own sovereign state and in pursuance of the General Assembly resolution of November 29, 1947. Since that date, Israel has been consolidated administratively and defended itself successfully against the aggression of neighboring states. It has so far achieved recognition by nineteen powers.
On behalf of the Provisional Government of Israel, I have now the honor to request the admission of Israel as a member of the United Nations in accordance with Article 4 of the Charter.
In view of the special nature of this application I would request that its consideration should proceed without regard to the deadlines fixed by Rule 60, Paragraph 1-4, but in conformity with paragraph 5 of the same Rule 60 of the Provisional Rules of Procedure of the Security Council.
A formal declaration that the Government of Israel accepts all the obligations stipulated in the United Nations Charter is enclosed.
My government submits that Israel’s admission to the United Nations will constitute an act of international justice to the Jewish people, fully consistent with United Nations policy on Palestine, and will contribute to the stabilization of the Middle East and to the cause of international peace.
I have the honor to be,
Minister for Foreign Affairs of the
Provisional Government of Israel.”
Through an act of the United Nations, through the supreme will and courage of Jews who rejected the diaspora they had been born into and built a new country with their sweat and their blood, through the actions of the brave and the bold Israel had been brought into being.
There were two complimentary forces that ensured Israel existed as a state, the fighting Jews on the front line and the diplomats working day and night at the United Nations and in the capitals of the world to ensure the support of those countries who would be voting Israel into existence.
It’s a shame that we have done those diplomats such an injustice over the past few days and years. In fact right now we are reaping the malaise sown by this government over a period of several years. When the Prime Minister of Israel can think of no way to communicate with his closest ally other than by ordering him around on television Israel has a problem.
The problem is not the Iranian nukes that the Americans are attempting to negotiate out of existence, nor is the problem the current occupant of the White House (despite his failings). The problem is that Bibi Netanyahu destroyed the best tool that he had for dealing with other countries and the loss is being sorely felt.
Once upon a time Israel had a Foreign minister who was fluent in ten languages and was so eloquent in his speech, so well respected by fellow diplomats from all around the world that he raised Israel to a plateau every time he spoke. Abba Eban was described admiringly by Henry Kissinger who said;
“I have never encountered anyone who matched his command of the English language. Sentences poured forth in mellifluous constructions complicated enough to test the listener’s intelligence and simultaneously leave him transfixed by the speaker’s virtuosity.”
Today we have Avigdor Liberman who is barely allowed into the White House at all. He made it through the door twice in a three and a half year period. A far cry from the treatment of Israeli Foreign Ministers of yesteryear. One former employee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said to me in exasperation;
“When I worked at the MFA, Livni was the FM, how different times were. She was so respected worldwide, I remember when she was elected as leader of Kadima, all the important Foreign Ministers called her including David Miliband. Today we got Liberman who is persona-non-grata!”
That former army officer became sick of earning 5,000 NIS per month and abandoned his promising career in the Ministry in order to earn enough money to provide for his family. How many other talented, up and coming young diplomats have done the same?
After years of telling the Israeli public and the world at large that Iran is on the cusp of creating a nuclear weapon and after purposefully dividing the responsibility of the Foreign Ministry among the various personalities in his coalition, the Prime Minister has left Israel exposed. Rather than use diplomatic channels for diplomatic problems the Prime Minister has left Israel looking war hungry and aggressive while our natural allies ignore us in order to negotiate with Iran.
To make a mockery out of the concept of unity the first thing that our old/new Foreign minister did was contradict the Prime Minister in public and leave us looking fragmented internally as well as without a clue in the field of international affairs.
It wasn’t always like this. Israel in no small measure owes her very existence to the diplomats who used every degree of skill they possessed to ensure that the United Nations passed a resolution allowing the State of Israel to be declared and providing the Jews with a voice among the nations of this earth.
Against all odds our diplomats became the midwives who ushered our state into being.
I am glad they can’t see us now.