Israel Among the Nations: UN and Anti-Semitism

United Nations Photo - Flag of Israel Takes its Place among Flags of Member Nations at UN Headquarters.
United Nations Photo - Flag of Israel Takes its Place among Flags of Member Nations at UN Headquarters

There is only a single country in the world that is a member of the United Nations, yet is openly threatened with destruction by another UN-member country, in complete contradiction to the UN Charter. The State of Israel is threatened by the Islamic regime that controls Iran, and having witnessed the terrible massacre by their Hamas proxy-forces that took place last month, we all understand the nature of that threat firsthand.

The UN Secretary General is not moved by the threat of annihilation made by one UN member state against another UN member state. He is also not moved by the demonstration of that threat by Iran’s proxy forces in Gaza. What shocks him is the response of the Israeli government and its army, which offers escape corridors for civilians, allowing hundreds of thousands to flee. But the UN Secretary General is shocked that there were those who were unable to escape because Hamas terrorists prevented them from doing so, and he lays the blame on Israel.

A civil war has been raging in Syria for over ten years, with Russia and Iran and its proxies deeply involved. About half a million people were murdered there, including many women and children. Six million(!) Syrians became refugees. The war is not over yet, and men, women and children continue to be killed. Similar events took place in previous wars, such as in Afghanistan. The United Nations was not shocked by the war crimes and the murder of children, nor was the regime of mass murderer Assad regime suspended from the United Nations community. The world media, including the media in America and Europe, also “got used to it”.

But the State of Israel fighting in Gaza is a different story. There is not a day in which the number of children killed in Gaza are not counted, and the blame is placed on Israel. The Hamas massacre has already been forgotten – or is actively being denied.

Russia invaded Ukraine about two years ago, and hundreds of thousands of soldiers and civilians have been killed in battles and bombings – I have not found anyone keeping track of the number of murdered children – and millions of Ukrainians have become refugees! Indeed, in this case, the world was shaken much more than in Syria, and Russia was suspended from the European Council. But activities in the UN continue as usual, with no drastic measures taken against Russian aggression. NATO and America equip the Ukrainians and support them, but the world – and the UN in particular – has “gotten used to” Russian brutality.

Let us return to Gaza. There are about a million “refugees” taken care of by UNRWA, the UN relief agency established especially for the “Nakba” refugees who fled from Jaffa, Ashdod, Ashkelon and Be’er Sheva during Israel’s War of Independence. That war began with terrorist attacks by local Arabs after the Partition Plan decision at the UN, and intensified with the invasion of Arab armies after the declaration of the State of Israel. The Arab nations started a war that ultimately caused many Arabs living in pre-state Israel to flee.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) deals with all the refugees from wars around the world, and its main responsibility is to help assist in their resettling in the countries to which they fled and in countries that are ready to accept them. The UNHCR has successfully resettled more than seventy million refugees and displaced people all over the world. Of all the refugees in the world, only the Palestinians have a special separate agency (UNRWA), for its refugees. Developed on the basis of Resolution 194 of the United Nations Assembly that established the “right of return” for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA assists with relief, employment and “education” in order to maintain the continuation of wars against Israel.

Moreover, only Palestinian refugees bequeath their refugee status to their children and grandchildren, so that the number of refugees continuously increases. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) does not have any automatic mechanism of passing refugee status to future generations.

It is amazing to discover that the largest donor to UNRWA is our great friend (the United States), followed by friendly countries from Europe. Do they understand the purpose of UNRWA and the unique “right of return” that is reserved only for Palestinian refugees and their descendants?

From all of this it is clear that the United Nation’s attitude towards the State of Israel is one of principled and essential discrimination, an attitude that has existed since the establishment of the State and its successful War of Independence. It appears that the UN sincerely regrets its recognition of the State of Israel as a Jewish state, which cannot exist if millions of Palestinians return to it.

All these discriminations have distinct anti-Semitic overtones. The attitude towards the State of Israel in the United Nations is fundamentally different from its attitude towards any other country. This can only be explained by structural anti-Semitism!

The State of Israel must condition any future negotiations on Gaza on the deletion of the “right of return” for Palestinian refugees, on the elimination of ongoing refugee status bequeathed from generation to generation, and on the inclusion of UNRWA within the United Nations General Commission for Refugees to assist in their resettlement.

About the Author
Dr. Rabbi Yoel bin Nun is one of the founders of Yeshivat Har Etzion. He received his rabbinic training at Yeshiva Merkaz HaRav and his Ph.D. from Hebrew University. In 1986, he established Michlelet Yaakov Herzog for training Jewish Studies teachers, especially in Bible instruction. Between 2000-2006 he served as the Rosh Ha-Yeshiva of Yeshivat HaKibbutz HaDati in Ein Tzurim.
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