Tonight the UN General Assembly voted to demand a ceasefire in Gaza. Inevitably, it is directed at Israel. There was no mention of hostages or Hamas’ atrocities. The vote seems designed to aid Hamas, who are falling apart, with their combatants (who are supposed to “love death” more than life) surrendering in droves rather than being killed. A ceasefire would preserve what men and materiel the terrorist group has left as well as allowing Yahya Sinwar and other leaders to be spirited away to Iran, Qatar or Turkey.
Aside from 29 November 1947 (when the UN voted Israel into existence, apparently by fluke), the UN has always hated Israel, the result of a mixture Jew hatred; Soviet/Russian sponsorship for the Arab world; the power of the Arab oil; general Third World solidarity; and anti-Americanism/anti-Westernism.
Many people, including myself, have written about the UN collaboration with Israel’s enemies. To cite just a few points: UNWRA, the UN agency that deals with Palestinian refugees, has different rules to UNHCR, which deals with all other refugee situations, rules designed to perpetuate the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. UNWRA has a history of collaboration with Hamas: Hamas teachers teach in UNWRA schools, which use violently Jew hating material; Hamas stores weapons at UNWRA sites; IDF soldiers currently report being fired on from UNWRA schools. UNIFIL in Lebanon is just as bad. It was supposed to stop Hezbollah rearming along the Israeli border. Instead, it has allowed the Iranian-backed terrorist group to stockpile 150,000 missiles, far more than Hamas had, some of which it is currently firing at Israel. The UN failed to adequately condemn the 7 October attacks or even to single out Hamas as the aggressor and UN Women in particular failed to adequately condemn the rape of Israeli women.
But all this is just to stress the moral bankruptcy of the world we live in. Does a General Assembly that includes China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Burma/Myanmar (etc.) have the moral high ground? No, it does not. Does it have the capacity to recognise evil and oppose it? Again, no. Can it side with good and aid its victory? No, because that would be signing its own death warrant.
Here I note a powerful statement from Michael Wyschogrod in The Body of Faith: God in the People Israel. His thesis in the book is that theologians, Jewish as well as Christian, have failed to pay adequate attention to the central premise of Judaism, namely that God is present in a people who He freely chose. Jews do not believe that God is incarnated in the Jewish people in the way that Christians believe that God is incarnated in Jesus. Nor do they believe that Jews are morally perfect and infallible (far from it). We do believe (and this is my analogy, not his) that God is present in the Jewish people in the way that an author is present in a book; our story reveals His intervention, concern and care, and His values and ethics can be discerned from our history as much as from halakhah (Jewish law).
Wyschogrod states, “the essential belonging to the people of election is derived from a descent from the Patriarchs. The election of Israel is therefore a corporeal election… The Jewish body as well as the Jewish soul is therefore holy, a truth that was well understood by those enemies of God who knew that they had to murder the Jewish body along with the teachings of Israel.” [emphasis added]
I have shied away from saying this for the last nine and a half weeks for fear of being thought insane, but I’m going to say it now: the current war isn’t just a war on the Jewish people and the Jewish state, it is a war on the Jewish God. I don’t think all Jew hatred (I refuse to dignify it as “antisemitism”) falls under this category. I think that Jew hatred has multiple causes. However, some Jew haters seem to be motivated less by specific grievances (real or imagined) than by hatred of the Jewish God and the ethics He demands, particularly the sanctity of human life and the prohibition of sexual violence. To the Jewish God, life can only be taken in self-defence and sexual violence is forbidden. In a world full of violence, this inevitably provokes hatred for God and the people who bear His message. It does not matter whether you believe the Jewish God actually exists; as long as a people who claim to bear His name and His message exist, it is impossible to destroy the message without destroying the messenger.
As we have seen, Hamas rejoices in death and in sexual violence, the latter both in this world and the next, with the promise of seventy-two sex slaves to dead “martyrs.” Can Hamas, or other Islamists across the Middle East, accept the Jewish God? Can anyone really say that China, with its ongoing genocides of the Uyghurs and Tibetans, live with the Jewish God? (Even aside from official Chinese atheism and persecution of religion.) Can Russia, with its war crimes in Ukraine, accept the Jewish God? Can North Korea? Or Burma/Myanmar?
As for the Western world, I leave it to you to decide whether the sanctity of life and the prohibition of sexual violence is still seen as viable or even defensible here or if it is something that has drifted out of fashion in favour of more “progressive” ideologies. In fact, I leave it for you to decide whether you yourself hold to these values or not. I would advise you to make your mind up quickly. You may not have much more time to decide.