We all know that the UN is an anti-Semitic – oops, I mean disagrees with the Israeli government’s policies. And we all know that the UN Human Rights Council is also a hypocritical bunch of – oops, I mean a fair minded organisation that supposedly adjudicates fairly on issues affecting human rights. And since they’re made up of cruel dictatorships – oops, flourishing democracies, and they like to single out Israel – oops, I mean fairly criticize all countries of ill repute, we have to sometimes ask ourselves why every year, Israel even bothers attending this waste of time talkfest – oops, wilful use of leaders’ time in an effort to get their points across.
After watching Bibi’s speech, a couple of things struck me. Firstly, no one really listens. In fact the only applause that we could hear is probably from the Israeli delegation and Sara Netanyahu, as well as the public gallery where they had taken a wrong turn and thought they were headed for the Judge Judy tv show studio. I also noticed lots of gaps among the audience. In an unbelievable shock, some Arab countries and Iran weren’t there – probably too busy putting down protests in their own countries. The United States watched on, probably thinking, right, how am I going to be able to explain this to the Coalition of the Squirming in their fight for justice and freedom – coalition partners exempted. Guatemala looked concerned, as the delegate probably couldn’t remember if they had left the stove on at home. The delegate from Syria looked serious, but he may have been studying the menu of a new kosher deli across the road, anxious to try out the brisket. The Greek delegate – well, she was just happy to be there! And as for the delegate from the State of Palestine, she looked particularly stern, but secretly I reckon she was probably laughing on the inside, loving the fact they were able to con the world into getting this seat!
Bibi spoke well, as he always does, articulating his points in a clear and defined manner, delivering a good balance between defending his country against the slander of Abbas, warning of the dangers that lie ahead, and seeking peace. But this is the UN, where people love the sound of their own voices even more than the free food at the local canteen. So in light of that, is there any point in ever speaking out?
Well, I say there is, but not because it will necessarily change attitudes or opinions at the UN. I think it’s important that with all the lies and slanders that are hurled at Israel, it’s important to counteract them with a heavy dosage of truth. Too much in the past, when Israel is criticised, I think the attitude may have been to shrug and dismiss it as anti-Semitism. And while a lot of that is true, the problem is that if lies are repeated often enough, people eventually perceive it as truth. This is one of the reasons that the Palestinian narrative is simply accepted as ‘truth’ without any bearing or relationship to the actual facts.
It’s true that there is a large portion of the world whose attitudes to Israel are as ingrained as the Grand Canyon, as deep-seated as the Mariana Trench – and those attitudes will never be changed. But perhaps there are those whose ignorance has dictated their policies more so than any form of hatred, and when one of those delegates re-enters the great hall, with half a bagel hanging out their mouth, some salad stuck in the teeth, and some mayonnaise on the side of their cheek – they might hear the words of a speech such as this and think – maybe he has a point.
The only way to counteract any lie is with a bit of truth. Whether we like or dislike Bibi, agree or disagree with him, support him or oppose him, when he does stand on the podium of a world body such as the UN, as any Israeli Prime Minster would, he represents both the State of Israel and the Jewish world. At that exact moment in time, he is our defender of truth against a tsunami of lies.