The hypocrisy and blatant antisemitism of the United Nations has been well known to Jews for decades. This body, representative of the nations of the world, has never failed to disappoint us.
We remember the most infamous General Assembly resolution of all. On November 10, 1975, 72 nations voted to degrade the Jewish people’s national aspirations, declaring Zionism was “a form of racism.” It was not until 1991 that resolution 3379 was overturned, making it one of only two General Assembly resolutions to ever be revoked. In personally introducing the resolution to revoke, United States president George W. Bush said, “Zionism is not a policy; it is the idea that led to the creation of a home for the Jewish people…” and “…to equate Zionism with the intolerable sin of racism is to twist history and forget the terrible plight of Jews in World War II and, indeed, throughout history. To equate Zionism with racism” Bush said “…is to reject Israel itself…” The UN is very good at rejecting Israel itself.
According to UN Watch, since 2005, there have been 140 condemnatory General Assembly resolutions against Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East. The second most condemned state has been Russia, with 23 censures. Syria has been condemned 10 times, North Korea eight and Iran 7. Since 2006, the UN Human Rights Council has issued 104 condemnatory resolutions against Israel while never doing so to China, Syria, Saudi Arabia or Qatar. Even the World Health Organization has targeted Israel, making it the only country this organization has condemned since 2015, having done so nine infamous times.
While the UN’s attacks on Israel have been sustained throughout the years, they increase in times of aggression against the Jewish State. On October 7, Hamas terrorists unleashed the most barbaric attack on Jews since the Holocaust. A pogrom was carried out in the south of Israel, when 1,400 people were slaughtered and 242 were taken hostage. Among the captives are some 30 children, taken from the safety of their homes and families into a territory controlled by the worst savages the world has ever seen.
As a Jewish father, while mourning the loss of life, I found myself fixated on these children. Who are they, where are they and how are they? I was distraught. If the terror had struck me so profoundly in Toronto, what must it be doing to their parents and brothers and sisters? They are only children! They don’t even speak the language of their captors. I waited for the world to cry out and demand their immediate release. Surely the nations of the world would not allow this most heinous of acts to stand. Surely they would move heaven and earth to return our children.
I was reminded of the kidnapping of 276 Christian schoolgirls by Boko Haram in Nigeria in 2014. They too were taken by an Islamic terrorist organization into a dangerous territory behind enemy lines. The UN Security Council almost immediately demanded their return and condemned their captors by name, demanding they “unequivocally cease all hostilities and all abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law, and disarm and demobilize.”
So in the aftermath of October 7, as the war between Israel and Hamas raged and more details of the hostages became known, Israelis and Jews the world over waited for the UN. They waited and cried and demanded until October 27 when this venerated body of international leaders spoke. On October 27, 2023, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution entitled “Protection of civilians and upholding legal and humanitarian obligations” by a vote of 120 to 14, with 45 abstentions. It demanded humanitarian access to Gaza by UN agencies and the “immediate release of all civilians being illegally held.” What the resolution did not do was condemn Hamas. Prior to its passage, an amendment tabled by Canada, which would have condemned the terrorist attacks of October 7 and demanded the safety, well-being and humane treatment of the hostages in compliance with international law, was rejected. The world’s leaders chose darkness over light, death over life.
On October 27, 2023, the UN told the world that Jewish children from Israel were not the same as Christian children from Nigeria. Jewish children in captivity were not worthy of humanitarian protections under international law. Their despicable captors would not even be named, let alone condemned. On the contrary, their country, the only country in the world willing to protect them from the twin diseases of antisemitism and terrorism, should agree to “…an immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce leading to a cessation of hostilities.”
How do we explain the dichotomy to our children? How do we tell them history is repeating itself and the nations of the world, on balance, have forsaken their kind? What language are we supposed to use when speaking to them about this sad reality? Do we even discuss it or should their innocent ears and hearts and souls be spared the trauma? And if we choose to spare our children for now, will they come to learn these facts by themselves, perhaps when they go to university and experience first-hand how hated they really are?
The answer is to instill in our children an unyielding, even stubborn love and appreciation for their people. To explain to them, in word and deed, that they are essential links in an unbroken chain of benevolence and progress. A chain that began with the founders of monotheistic morality and continues with the warriors of the IDF. That no matter what the forces against them do (and there will be many forces against them) they are here because their people have always chosen light over darkness and life over death.
The UN is dead to me but it doesn’t matter because the Children of Israel will live.
Am Yisrael Chai.
November 3, 2023