Micah Lakin Avni
Turning Trauma into Triumph: New Narratives for a New Israel

Should Israel withdraw from the United Nations?

I have been following the United Nations treatment of Israel for many years. They have been hard at work legitimizing anti-Semitism. This is not a new phenomenon. In 1975, the General Assembly passed a resolution determining that Zionism is a form of racism and discrimination. According to Wikipedia, in recent years, the Middle East has been the subject of 76% of country-specific General Assembly resolutions, 100% of the Human Rights Council resolutions, 100% of the Commission on the Status of Women resolutions, 50% of reports from the World Food Program, 6% of United Nations Security Council resolutions and 6 of the 10 Emergency sessions. The recent UNESCO decision stating that the Jewish people have no connection to the Temple Mount or the Western Wall comes as no surprise.

Six months ago, I spoke at the UN Human Rights Council. It was a terrifying experience. I witnessed from close up how they are systematically laying the ideological train tracks to send us back to the ovens in Auschwitz. Perhaps the time has come for Israel to withdraw from the United Nations, just as Britain as decided to withdraw from the European Union?

Years ago I spent a vacation reading tens of biographies of successful investors. I was looking for commonalities, and I found two. First, all great investors have an investment strategy that they stick to religiously. Second, and this is the important one for our discussion, all great investors cut their losses as soon as they recognize them. They never fall in love with a position.   In 1945, the United Nations was established with the following objectives: maintaining international peace and security, promoting human rights, fostering social and economic development, protecting the environment, and providing humanitarian aid in cases of famine, natural disaster, and armed conflict. All normative people in the world agree with these objectives. The World fell in love with this concept.

Two years after its founding, the United Nations hit a grand slam for the Jewish people, supporting the adoption and implementation of a plan to partition Palestine. This was arguably the most iconic moment in Zionist history: listening to the member states cast their votes. This image is so deeply ingrained in our collective consciousness that we came to believe that the UN was actually responsible for the creation of the State of Israel, and so, therefore, it must be a just and worthwhile organization. Of course, one can make a very persuasive argument that Israel would have been established even if the UN did not exist.

More than seventy years have passed since the United Nations was established. During that period tens of millions of people were killed in wars that the UN failed to prevent:

  • 3.5 million people in the Second Congo War.
  • 2.7 million people in the Soviet-Afghan wars.
  • 2.5 million people in the Bangladesh Civil War.
  • 1.7 million people in the Nigerian Civil War.
  • 1.5 million people in the Vietnam War.
  • 1.3 million people in the Korean War.
  • 1.4 million people in the Second Sudanese Civil War.
  • 0.725 million people in the Algerian War.
  • 0.6 million people in the Iraq and Afghanistan War on Terror
  • 0.5 million people in the Iran-Iraq War.

Tragically, the list is much longer. In the interest of space I limited it to conflicts in which more than a half a million people were killed. In addition, millions more were killed in genocides that the UN failed to prevent:

  • 2.1 million people in the Cambodian killing fields.
  • 1.2 million people in the Hutu and Tutsi Holocaust.
  • 0.7 million people in the Rwandan Genocide.
  • 0.6 million people in the Indian partition.
  • 0.5 million people in the genocide of Bangladeshis in Eastern Pakistan during Operation Searchlight.

Again, only a partial list. There were numerous genocides in which hundreds of thousands were killed: Tibet, Croatia, Khmer Rouge, Darfur, just to name a few.  Hundreds of thousands have been killed in Syria over the past few years and the conflict continues.  Where does the United Nations stand on that you ask?  Twenty-two resolutions against Israel this year.  Zero against Syria.

That is one colossal list of failures. What about successes? Granted, I am not an expert on the UN, but I do not remember any major conflicts that were resolved or genocides prevented with the help of the UN.

I could go on and on, but the picture is clear: the United Nations has failed consistently to meet its objectives. If the UN were a business, it would have declared bankruptcy long ago; if it were a county, there would have been a revolution. However, due to the complexity of its structure, and the universal consensus as to its objectives, the show goes on.  World leaders are afraid to state out loud that the UN is useless and that the time has come to liquidate this irrelevant and wasteful behemoth which actually does more harm that good.  Western democracies fear being labeled as “opponents of peace” while heinous dictatorships benefit from the platform and legitimization at the UN provides for their evil ways.  There is also a lot of money involved.

Why does Israel continue to participate in the United Nations? Perhaps we would be better off returning our membership card and focusing our national resources on direct diplomatic channels and mass marketing to strengthen and protect our valued Israel brand.

Yesterday we began a vibrant online discussion on this topic. Please join in and share your views by clicking the hyperlink on this sentence.

About the Author
Micah Lakin Avni founded Peninsula Group Ltd., a publicly-traded Israeli commercial finance institution and served as CEO for 18 years. He was ranked among the 100 most influential people in Israel by The Marker Magazine in 2015, 2016 and 2018. Prior to founding Peninsula, Micah served as a General Partner with Jerusalem Global Ventures, and Israeli venture capital firm. Before joining Jerusalem Global Ventures, Micah was a corporate attorney with Yigal Arnon & Co., one of Israel's premier law firms. Micah serves in a volunteer capacity as the chairman of "Voices of Israel”, a long-term partnership between the State of Israel and the global pro-Israel leadership to facilitate ongoing strategic cooperation, counter the global Israel delegitimization movement and improve Israel's positive image and standing in world public opinion. In 2015, Micah’s father Richard Lakin was murdered by Hamas terrorists on a Jerusalem bus. While mourning the loss, Micah dedicated himself to raising awareness of the dangers of allowing terrorists to roam free on social media, communicating, recruiting, and inciting. He wrote op-eds in international newspapers, gave interviews, helped produce movies, lectured at universities, filed lawsuits and lobbied for legislation. These efforts helped set in motion a campaign that yielded dramatic change: While there is still plenty of work to be done, social media titans built significant infrastructures to remove terror groups from their platforms. Micah holds an LLB in Law from the Hebrew University Law School and a joint MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and the Recanati School of Business Administration at Tel Aviv University. Micah lives in Tel Aviv, Israel with his wife and four children.