Scott Thomas
Scott Thomas
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It’s time to fight the United Nations’ anti-Israel bias

How long will world powers, including the United States, allow the UN's obvious attempts to isolate and demonize Israel continue?
Members of the UN Security Council vote in favor of condemning Israel's settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem on December 23, 2016, at United Nations Headquarters. (Manuel Elias/United Nations via AP)
Members of the UN Security Council vote in favor of condemning Israel's settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem on December 23, 2016, at United Nations Headquarters. (Manuel Elias/United Nations via AP)

Without Israel as its primary target for condemning resolutions and direct isolation, the United Nations (UN) would have little reason to exist. It does not condemn or act against state-sponsorship of terrorism by Iran. It looks the other way at ethnic cleansing in China. It is impotent in responding to Russia seizing the territory. But with Israel, as they say, where there’s a will there’s a way.

So, it is no surprise that the UN General Assembly is launching an unwarranted investigation against Israel for potential “war crimes” during the latest 11-day conflict with Gaza. According to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry, 243 people were killed by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Israel reported 12 deaths from Hamas rocket fire. Hamas and its primary supporter, Iran, are walking away from their unprovoked assault without so much as an inquiry into clear criminal offenses. It is illegal to attack civilians and it is illegal to use civilians as human shields. Hamas is guilty of both.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, acknowledged as much last month, saying that Hamas stored “military assets in densely populated civilian areas, and [launched] attacks from them.” Tragically, 680 Hamas rockets that misfired and exploded inside Gaza — killing Palestinians — are also being ignored by the UN.

Tellingly, Bachelet admitted that Hamas violated “international humanitarian law,” yet she still chose to purport that “the actions of one party did not absolve the other from its obligations.” In other words, regardless of the violent terrorism and actual war crimes that Hamas had committed against Israel’s citizens, the Jewish state was “not absolved” of the actions it took in defending its people, which included compromising the integrity of military operations by providing unprecedented advance warning of sites being targeted.

It would be bad enough if the UN was morally equating the attacks of an Iranian-backed terrorist organization with the lawful self-defense of a UN member state. But that’s not what’s happening. Rather, the UN is saying, by virtue of its investigation into Israel alone, that it holds Israel to one standard and Hamas and Iran — the unlawful aggressors targeting civilians — to far lower standards. This has exposed the UN once more as a biased organization where judgments are pre-determined and the Jewish state is scapegoated.

Anti-Israel prejudice is nothing new from the UN. Since its founding, this 193 member-state body has singled-out and criticized Israel more than any other nation. Even during the global pandemic in 2020, the UN still found ways to scathe Israel by directing nearly three-out-of-four of all resolutions against the Jewish state. Israel was the focus of 17-times more action by the UN than North Korea, Iran, Syria, or Myanmar.

The UN’s laser-focused scrutiny of the Jewish state is anti-Israel bias. The UN leadership, its sub-organizations, and bullpen full of anti-Israel nations are focused on demoralizing and delegitimizing Israel and its right to exist. That’s sick. It’s sad. And it’s anti-Semitic.

But the overarching question remains: how long will world powers, including the United States, allow the obvious attempts to isolate and demonize Israel continue?

Though the majority of UN-member states claim that they are wholeheartedly pro-Israel, power-hungry UN bodies and a minority of adversarial nations continue to deny Israel’s right to self-defense and target it for scorn. Their success is the best indicator that the time has come for the United States to double-down on its steadfast commitment to supporting Israel’s safety and security, and to closely examine its own relationship with the UN.

Absent systemic reform led by America, Israel will continue to be targeted and America will lose out on the benefit of a UN system that is functional, respected and consistent. Prioritizing change should be driving the Biden administration’s work in Turtle Bay, where the only constituency that should matter to the president — the American taxpaying public — has had little voice or influence over how elected leaders have engaged with the global diplomatic corps for eight decades.

About the Author
Pastor Scott Thomas is a member the executive board of Christians United for Israel.
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