Reuven H. Taff

Hypocrisy at the UN–Applause and Jubilation—-When Will the Civilized World Wake Up?

I will never forget my first visit to the United Nations. I was a teenager and the group tour started outside the building where the flags of every member country flew proudly. I remember the pride I felt seeing the American flag and as a proud Jewish American, seeing the flag of Israel alongside all of the other flags representing nations which were included in this world body whose mission is to create bridges of understanding and promote peace throughout the world.  Sadly, the promise of those who gathered to create the United Nations in San Francisco in 1945, in the wake of one of the worst calamities known to mankind, has once again been severed. I make this conclusion based on the most recent vote last week by the UN Security Council to again censure the State of Israel.  The obsession with Israel is indicative of a deeper decay in a world organization that operates not on conflict resolution, but on conflict perpetuation. And on scapegoating one of the world’s exemplary democracies.

No one should be surprised for Jews have been victims of scapegoating since the days the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt for more than four centuries.

It was painful to me that President Obama decided to authorize Samantha Powers, our country’s UN Ambassador to abstain in the most recent resolution against Israel.  The Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles called last week’s UN Resolution the “top anti-Semitic incident of 2016.”   But what also bothered me in addition to the 14-0 vote and the United States’ failure to veto the resolution condemning Israel, was the report that immediately after the resolution was approved, that there was a spontaneous raucous applause by the Security Council members.  Applause I suspect that the Council was successful once again in demonizing the Jewish State.  I say once again, because it is clear that the UN’s obsession with Israel has become the world organization’s main agenda item.  According to U.N. Watch, a Geneva-based non-profit organization, in 2016 alone, the U.N. General Assembly passed more than 20 resolutions singling out the Jewish state for condemnation. This, in a year in which the Islamic State and the Syrian-dictator Bashar al-Assad—supported by Iran and Security Council member Russia—have carried out mass slaughter in the Middle East. Twenty resolutions which singled out Israel and only three resolutions on the rest of the world combined.  The three resolutions that do not concern Israel are: one on Syria (where 450,000 people including 50,000 children have been killed), one on Iran, and one on North Korea.  And how interesting that not one UN Resolution was adopted on the horrible routine abuses committed by China, Cuba, Egypt, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Yemen, Zimbabwe, or on dozens of other perpetrators of gross and systematic human rights violations.

Even the outgoing U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon admitted in a speech a few weeks ago that the U.N. is biased against Israel.  He told the U.N. Security Council:

“Over the last decade, I have argued that we cannot have a bias against Israel at the U.N. Decades of political maneuvering have created a disproportionate number of resolutions, reports and committees against Israel. In many cases, instead of helping the Palestinian issue, this reality has foiled the ability of the U.N. to fulfill its role effectively.”

How refreshing that the UN Secretary General admitted the truth.  But his words of acknowledgment are meaningless unless the world body changes its attitude.  While no country is perfect, including Israel, the sad reality is that if the United Nations continues its hypocrisy in singling out Israel, then the world body which has a lovely building and nice flags flying outside on the banks of the East River of New York is nothing but an empty shell. If the UN continues with its theme of treating Israel differently than the other member nations, maybe it might be time for our government to reconsider our taxpayer dollars (about $3 billion this year) which goes to the U.N.’s regular and peacekeeping budgets.

Or, even better, maybe it is finally time to consider relocating the world body headquarters.  I will never forget after 9/11 when Syria was voted by a majority of countries to be included on the UN Security Council.  Syria, which continues to support terrorist organizations like the one connected to the Sept. 11 attack on our country, was rewarded with a seat on the UN Security Council. How despicable and shameful to the civilized people of our world. And how insensitive to the people of New York (home of the UN), victims of one of the most heinous terrorist attacks in the history of our country.  Maybe it is finally time to move the United Nations to a new venue. Damascus would be a fitting site.

About the Author
Reuven Taff has spent 50 years serving Jewish communities. For 25 years, he was the rabbi and spiritual leader of Mosaic Law Congregation in Sacramento, California, now serving as Rabbi Emeritus. As a Hazzan and Jewish Educator, he served as Cantor and Educational Director at Beth El Congregation in Phoenix, Arizona and Headmaster of Gesher Jewish Day School of Northern Virginia. In addition to his blog on Times of Israel, his opinion pieces have been published in The Sacramento Bee, Sacramento News and Review, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Algemeiner, The Jerusalem Post, The Jewish Forward and other publications. He can be contacted at