Pat Moynihan’s November stand in the UN

As we approach the 29 November anniversary of the 1947 UN Partition plan that gave birth to the Jewish State, it is only appropriate to remember a good friend of Israel who went to bat for us also in the month of November but some twenty-eight years later in 1975. His name was Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

Pat Moynihan, the former UN ambassador, and US senator has now passed on but should be remembered by everyone, especially fellow Israelis, as the man who stood up against the ‘Zionism is racism’ obscenity that the UN general assembly endorsed in November 1975.

This brief honorable mention of Senator Moynihan isn’t supposed to be a full history lesson on those days. If you want to learn something more about what he did and that important and infamous episode of Israeli history, see here.

No, this purposeful and brief mention of the esteemed US patriot and friend of Israel is about the State of Israel and its Knesset doing something right that’s easy to do and long overdue: Naming a prominent location in Jerusalem after Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

This initiative is only a normal thing for us to do in Israel and to the best of my knowledge, we’ve seemed to have overlooked Pat. Or, perhaps it is only fitting that some time has gone by to give us some historical perspective before we go about the substantial work of erecting a public monument to Pat or perhaps, naming a prominent street or highway in his beloved memory.

Regardless, on this soon-to-be 68th anniversary of the UN Partition plan and forty years since Pat Moynihan stood up to the UN to denounce its hypocritical resolution against Zionism, it is only fitting that the leaders of Israel come together to honor what one man did for all of us. Without trying to put words into Pat Moynihan’s mouth and with respect for his passing, it seems clear that he would agree with the following:

Zionism is the legitimate expression of Jewish Nationalism. Israel is legitimate and this legitimacy is unquestionable and to question Israel’s legitimacy is both racist and anti-Semitic. The UN endorsed the creation of Israel as the legitimate state of the Jewish people. It is wrong and anti-Semitic to equate Zionism with racism as if the need we Jews have for preserving and strengthening our Jewish homeland as a safe haven for the Jews is somehow tantamount to the supremacism that civil rights leaders in the US and South Africa fought against to achieve racial equality in those countries.

In Israel, Arabs and Christians have equal civil rights before the law and the courts. There are social challenges to social equality in Israel and in many other nation states for sure. However, these social challenges are not the same thing as codifying racial superiority into statutory law. Israel doesn’t do that!

Pat Moynihan, a liberal democrat, a man with whom I would disagree over a host of public policy issues understood the difference between racism and the Jewish Nationalism that we Israelis proudly call Zionism.

Let’s erect a public monument in Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s honor, an honorary Zionist, if there could ever be such a thing…Thanks, Pat!

I am not a racist. I am a Zionist and I am proud to call myself a Zionist. It is an honor to be a Zionist because like Pat Moynihan, I know what this word means. Do you?

About the Author
David Lasoff is an American Jew from Southern California. He made aliyah in May 2012 and is now the director of the department of Applied English Linguistics for the University of the Holy Land in Jerusalem. He teaches academic writing and supervises the school's English language learning programs.