Naphtali Perlberger

Thank You Togo

I just read a Facebook post that thanked Togo for being one of the seven nations that voted with the United States and Israel against the Turkey-Yemen UN resolution, condemning President Trump’s declaration that Jerusalem is the capitol of Israel and that the US embassy will be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The vote on the “Status of Jerusalem” was 128-9, with 35 abstentions. This action came after the U.S. veto of a similar resolution by the Security Council three days earlier, where the vote had been 13-1.

Had I not done well in Geography class, I would have had to have searched laboriously for where Togo exists on the world map. The handful of “nos” did include nations with which I was totally unfamiliar. On the other hand, while votes from traditional U.S. “enemies” and the Muslim world were no surprise, going down the list of other countries which refused to stand with the United States and Israel on this outrageous resolution could surprise many. Perhaps, those who abstained felt righteous that they did not vote “no”, but is sitting on the sidelines, really an act of morality?

Before the votes were cast, Ambassador Nikki Haley, whose words were echoed by President Trump, warned the United Nations and its General Assembly members that this condemnation could result in the revisiting of the United States’ giving billions of dollars to the United Nations and those member countries. This proposed response to the vote met with little restraint. Afterwards, Ambassador Haley stated that the UN vote would be “remembered”.

In reality, there should be no surprise to this latest affront to Israel’s sovereignty and the long history of brash and flagrant votes by the UN in the hundreds of resolutions against Israel, often originating in the so-called “human rights” councils of which terrorist and blatant human rights-violator nations are acting as the moral watchdog of the world! But, is it enough to threaten or even carry out the intention of cutting of financial aid to the UN or to those nations that voted “no”?  What about the abstentions?

Surely, if financial aid is diminished or cutoff, President Trump will be condemned, especially by the politicians and media that want him out. It will be one more nail in the coffin that has been readied for the President since his stunning election. Just yesterday, one tweeter dreamed of the day when he could enjoy reading the “obits” of the President and the other GOP leaders who advance his agenda.

But, rather than getting into a political football game, which is not my intention, the purpose of this article is to get behind the votes and see from where they spring. United Nations Resolution 3379, adopted on November 10, 1975 by a vote of 72 to 35 (with 32 abstentions), “determine[d] that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination”. It took 16 years – 1991 – before this resolution was revoked!  However, this attitude toward Israel did not stop there as anti-Israel declarations have emanated unalterably from the international body that holds itself out as the beacon of world peace. At the same time, the UN has praised and failed to condemn the suicide bombings, rocket launches and murders of men, women and children by the so-called “Palestinians” and their co-conspirators.

In his second treatise on Law and Government, John Locke wrote that “tacit consent”, i.e., not taking a stand in the face of governmental action is tantamount to agreement. Unfortunately, he pointed out, much of the citizens of a state behave in this manner, rather than voting for or against any particular policy. This conduct served as an “excuse” for many in post-war Germany and collaborating countries to declare that their inaction was because they did not know or were ordered to do so. This was the over-arching plot in the celebrated film, Judgment At Nuremberg — the last scene between the American and German jurists – played by Spencer Tracy & Burt Lancaster – displays the silent guilt and humiliation of the convicted judge when confronted with his own tacit behavior in failing to actively oppose and refuse to carry out Hitler’s agenda.

So – what of the abstentions and those countries that didn’t vote at all? Of the possible votes, 56 nations fall into this category. Perhaps unexpectedly to some, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Japan — America’s otherwise staunch allies — voted in favor of the resolution. Regardless of the “yes” vote or no vote, virtually the entire world could not stand by Israel.

What other country in the world cannot determine its own capitol? What other declaration of where its embassy should be located in a sovereign nation has received international condemnation?

Part of the problem is that Israel has bought into the fiction that its existence and the location of its capitol, Jerusalem, derive from the Balfour Declaration and ultimately the UN vote in 1947. This narrative has been embraced by the world and manipulated into historical absurdity by the Muslim world.

This most recent vote should (although sadly it probably won’t be) be a stark reminder that anti-Semitic thought and action have not been eradicated in the post-Holocaust 21st Century. There are those whose hatred is patent and furthered by speech and violence, and then there are those whose actions are more ambiguous, whose support is fleeting and who come out of the woodwork when the formality of a UN vote presents itself. In some ways, the “yes” votes are honest; while the “no-votes” and “abstentions” are veiled, suggesting caution and explained away by political sensitivity. More often than not, they may be rationalized as the product of fear of terrorist reprisal or an unwillingness to lose lucrative contracts with oil-rich producers.

In the end, we must face the fact that anti-Israel is really anti-Jew! And critically, we must accept that the abstentions and no-votes are nothing more than tacit consent.  Their silence should not be construed as siding with Israel or the Jewish People.

So, yes, thank you Togo!  No thank you the world!  Israel must stand strong and resolute, have emunah, and be grateful for the few who support her.  We should embrace and praise the courage of the United States to declare what has always been the Truth.

May Hashem watch over us and may we not flinch from standing up unashamedly and unapologetically for the Jewish People and for Israel.  Am Yisroel Chai!






About the Author
Naphtali Perlberger is a senior lecturer for AISH HaTorah and gives weekly shiurim at Chabad of Golden Beach and Aish Chaim of the Main Line. He is one of the founders and a past president of the Philadelphia Community Kollel. He is Founder & President of Philadelphia Chapter of Children of the Holocaust, and past FJA Chairman of Men's Organizations; past President of Kosloff Torah Academy; and, talk show host for a radio show, "G-d is Listening".