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A DIMINISHED WORLD BODY:

ANTI-ISRAEL BIAS AT THE UN

IF ALGERIA INTRODUCED A RESOLUTION


DECLARING THAT THE EARTH WAS FLAT
AND THAT ISRAEL HAD FLATTENED IT,
IT WOULD PASS BY A VOTE OF 164 TO
13 WITH 26 ABSTENTIONS.

A BBA EBAN, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF ISRAEL TO


THE UNITED NATIONS (1949-1959)

Table of Contents
3 The Missing Headlines
4 Israel as Second-Class UN Citizen
5 Dashed Hopes
6 Anti-Israel Bias By the Numbers
9 The UN Human Rights Council

10 Geographically Incorrect
12 What Can Be Done?

2 A DIMINISHED WORLD BODY: ANTI-ISRAEL BIAS AT THE UN

HERE ARE TWO NEWS ITEMS IN RECENT MONTHS


THAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED, SINCE THEY
APPARENTLY DIDNT MERIT HEADLINE TREATMENT:
ON MARCH 20, 2015, THE UN COMMISSION on

again, no other state or group was singled out for

the Status of Women (CSW) issued a report blaming

reproof, not any of the countries or terrorist gangs

Israel for high levels of unemployment and poverty

engaged in systematic slaughter, not even the

among Palestinian women, who allegedly still

Syrian regime, which has been conducting a cruel

face significant obstacles in accessing basic services,

war against its own people since 2011, killing more

health care, psychosocial support, water and

than 200,000 and displacing more than seven

sanitation, justice institutions, and economic

million. Israel, in fact, far from harming anyone in

opportunities. No other country or non-state entity

the Golan, has been providing life-saving treatment

was the object of CSW criticism, even though the

for wounded Syrians who flee there. That these

mistreatment of women in numerous Arab countries

startling perversions of the truth, which would have

and in ISIS-controlled territoryincluding honor

fit well in George Orwells 1984, received minimal

killings, female genital mutilation, rape, torture, bans

attention shows just how used the world has become

on driving, and enforcement of draconian dress

to the UNs bias against Israel, the only functioning

codesis widespread.

democracy in the Middle East.

Two months later, on May 20, the UNs World


Health Organization (WHO) voted 104 to 4, with
6 abstentions, to condemn Israel for violating the
health rights of Syrians living in the Golan. Once

IN MAY 2015 THE UNS WORLD


HEALTH ORGANIZATION
INEXPLICABLY CONDEMNED
ISRAEL FOR VIOLATING THE
HEALTH RIGHTS OF SYRIANS
LIVING IN THE GOLAN.
WHILE BASHAR AL-ASSADS
REGIME HAS SLAUGHTERED
HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS
OF SYRIANS, ISRAEL HAS
TREATED WOUNDED SYRIANS
AT MILITARY HOSPITALS LIKE
THIS ONE.

3 A DIMINISHED WORLD BODY: ANTI-ISRAEL BIAS AT THE UN

I SOMETIMES FELT
LIKE I WAS ON THE
GAME SHOW 1 VS.
100. ALMOST EVERY
DAY I FELT ITIM
TALKING ABOUT
INSTITUTIONALIZED
DISCRIMINATION.
RON PROSOR, PERMANENT
REPRESENTATIVE OF ISRAEL
TO THE UNITED NATIONS
(2011-2015)

ISRAEL AS SECOND-CLASS UN CITIZEN


EVEN THOUGH ARTICLE 2 OF THE UN CHARTER states that

The Organization is based on the principle of the equal sovereignty


of all its Members, Israel doesnt receive equal treatment. The world
bodys two most recent secretaries-general have admitted as much. On
August 16, 2013, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that Israel has
been weighed down by criticism and suffered from bias and sometimes
even discrimination, which he attributed to the Israel-Palestinian
conflict. His predecessor, Kofi Anan, noting on September 20, 2006,
that supporters of Israel feel that it is harshly judged by standards that
are not applied to its enemies, added: And too often this is true,
particularly in some UN bodies.

4 A DIMINISHED WORLD BODY: ANTI-ISRAEL BIAS AT THE UN

DASHED HOPES
The irony is startling. Created in 1945 in the wake of
World War II and the Holocaust in which six million
Jews were annihilated; propelled by the vision of
world peace first set forth by the Hebrew prophets;
even inscribing the words of Isaiah on a wall outside
its headquartersThey will break their swords into
plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor
will they learn war anymorethe UN has become
a major fount of hatred toward the worlds only
Jewish state.
CROWDS IN TEL AVIV CELEBRATE THE UNS VOTE FOR
PARTITION IN 1947.

The UN helped create the State of Israel by its 1947


partition resolution that called for dividing Palestine
into Jewish and Arab statesa step accepted by the
Jews, who proclaimed the independence of Israel
the next year, but not by the Arabs, who fought,
unsuccessfully, to destroy it. Israel became a member
of the UN in 1949.
While the Arab and Muslim world remained hostile
to Israel, it was not until the 1970s, when the Soviet
Union and its satellites turned sharply against Israel,
that a UN majority coalesced in opposition to the
Jewish state. In 1975 the UN General Assembly, in
which all countries are represented, overwhelmingly
approved Resolution 3379 declaring Zionismthe
founding ideology of Israel, affirming the need for a
Jewish state in the historical homeland of the Jewish
peoplea form of racism. It was not until 1991 that
THE LATE SENATOR DANIEL PATRICK MOYNIHAN
DESCRIBED THE UNS ZIONISM-IS-RACISM
RESOLUTION, WHICH FOUND ZIONISM TO BE A
FORM OF RACISM AND RACIAL DISCRIMINATION,
AS OBSCENE. FOR 15 YEARS, AJC LED THE
ULTIMATELY SUCCESSFUL FIGHT TO REPEAL THIS
ODIOUS LIE.

5 A DIMINISHED WORLD BODY: ANTI-ISRAEL BIAS AT THE UN

the resolution was repealed, largely due to U.S.


influence.

ANTI-ISRAEL BIAS BY THE NUMBERS


BUT EVEN REPEAL OF THE ODIOUS ZIONISM IS RACISM

resolution did not undo the widespread denial of Israels legitimacy,


and a virtually automatic anti-Israel UN majority has remained a
constant threat to the Jewish states international position. Of the
193 member nations of the UN today, 21 belong to the Arab League,
57 to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and 120 to the
so-called Non-Aligned Movement, which strongly identifies with
the Palestinians (the chairmanship is currently held by Venezuela,
which took over from Iran in 2015). What the legendary Israeli diplomat
and ambassador to the UN Abba Eban said years ago remains true
today: If Algeria introduced a resolution declaring that the earth was
flat and that Israel had flattened it, it would pass by a vote of 164 to
13 with 26 abstentions.

THE AUTOMATIC ANTI-ISRAEL MAJORITY

65%

of UN Member States belong


to anti-Israel voting blocs

anti-Israel voting blocs within


3 main
the United Nations

120
Non-Aligned Movement

57
Organization of Islamic Cooperation

21
Arab League

6 A DIMINISHED WORLD BODY: ANTI-ISRAEL BIAS AT THE UN

And in defiance of the UN Charter that calls on all members to refrain


from the threat or use of force against another, at least one member
state now seeking nuclear weapons capabilityIranhas called
repeatedly for the end of the State of Israel, and the UN has
taken no steps to rebuke it.

IRANIAN MEN BURN AN


ISRAELI FLAG DURING
A PRO-PALESTINIAN
DEMONSTRATION UNDER
THE AZADI (FREEDOM)
TOWER IN TEHRAN ON
MAY 15, 2012.

This barbaric, wolf-like, and infanticidal regime of Israel, which

spares no crime, has no cure but to be annihilated. Tweet by Iranian


Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on November 8, 2014
Shockingly, the number of UN General Assembly resolutions
criticizing Israel far outnumbers those targeting any other member
state. Revelation of the utterly disproportionate mistreatment of
Israel elicited laughter at the UN itself as a raft of anti-Israel resolutions
were pushed through the General Assembly on November 14, 2013,
and an interpreter, thinking that her microphone was off, uttered to
her colleagues:

I THINK WHEN YOU HAVE LIKE A TOTAL OF TEN


RESOLUTIONS ON ISRAEL AND PALESTINE, THERES GOTTA
BE SOMETHING, CEST UN PEU TROP, NON? [ITS A BIT
MUCH, NO?] I MEAN THERES OTHER REALLY BAD ST
HAPPENING, BUT NO ONE SAYS ANYTHING ABOUT THE
OTHER STUFF.
But even that indiscrete truth-telling failed to embarrass the
Israel-haters: The next year, at the 2014 session, 20 resolutions
denounced Israel and just three were aimed at other nations.

7 A DIMINISHED WORLD BODY: ANTI-ISRAEL BIAS AT THE UN

This tilt against Israel carries over to the UN Security Council as well.
While the veto power that the U.S. wields has prevented a number of
anti-Israel resolutions from passing, the balance of forces in the Security
Council has ensured that not one resolution critical of Arab attacks on
Israel has ever passed in that body.
The strong anti-Israel bias at the UN has also led to the creation of
numerous pro-Palestinian bodies within it that simply do not exist for
any other group. The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable
Rights of the Palestinian People is the only General Assembly committee
devoted to a single people. The Division for Palestinian Rights is the
only division within the UN Secretariats Department of Political Affairs
devoted to a single people. And the Special Committee to Investigate
Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People
is the only committee in the UNs human rights structure devoted to a
single people.
Another glaring example of bias is the UN treatment of refugees. While
the UN High Commissioner for Refugees is assigned to handle the needs
of all the worlds refugees, a separate organization, the UN Relief and
Works Agency (UNRWA), deals only with Palestinians. And thats not
allthose Palestinian refugees are treated differently than the others.
For one thing, while the High Commissioners portfolio includes only
people who have fled their homeland, UNRWAs also includes the
descendants of persons who became refugees in 1948, so that the
original 860,000 Palestinian refugees have mushroomed into five
million. Also, part of the High Commissioner mandate is to help resettle
refugees, whereas UNRWA leaves its clients stateless, living in camps
throughout the Middle East. Indeed, there is strong evidence indicating
that UNRWA schools in those camps teach children hatred of Israel.

8 A DIMINISHED WORLD BODY: ANTI-ISRAEL BIAS AT THE UN

THE UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL


THE MOST BLATANT ARENA OF UN DISCRIMINATION AGAINST

Israel is surely the world bodys Geneva-based Human Rights


Council (UNHRC). Established in 2006 to replace the Human Rights
Commission, it has only one permanent agenda item targeted at a
specific country, Israel. It is Item 7, dealing with the human rights
situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories. In striking
contrast, Item 4 covers human rights situations that require the
Councils attention in the entire rest of the world. This fixation upon
Israel leads to disproportionate condemnation of the Jewish state: the
Council adopts every year at least five resolutions censuring Israel, while
other countries that are subject to Council resolution normally receive
criticism in one annual resolution each. Furthermore, the UNHRC has
appointed an outside expert as Special Rapporteur on the Situation of
Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories Occupied since 1967, the
only international conflict for which the Council has required reporting
on the conduct of only one side and not the other.

ISRAEL IS THE ONLY COUNTRY


IN THE WORLD WITH A
SEPARATEAND PERMANENT
AGENDA ITEM, #7, AT THE
GENEVA-BASED UN HUMAN
RIGHTS COUNCIL. NO OTHER
MEMBER STATE, INCLUDING
SERIAL HUMAN-RIGHTS
VIOLATORS LIKE NORTH KOREA,
SYRIA, IRAN, AND SUDAN,
GETS ITS OWN AGENDA ITEM.

9 A DIMINISHED WORLD BODY: ANTI-ISRAEL BIAS AT THE UN

To its great credit, the U.S. government has spoken out eloquently
against the UNHRCs treatment of Israel. In March 2013 it sent a
letter to the Councils president complaining about the blatantly
unfair treatment that one UN member state receives in this body. The
legitimacy of this Council will remain in question as long as one country
is unfairly and uniquely singled out under its own agenda item. In
both 2014 and 2015 the U.S. delegation to the UNHRC manifested its
opposition to the focus on Israel by refraining from participation in the
discussion of Item 7. The EU has also agreed not to speak under this
agenda item.
The hypocrisy of the Councils fixation on Israel becomes even more
apparent from a scrutiny of the list of its members. Among the 47
states chosen to enforce the human-rights ideals of the UN are such
less-than-perfect paragons of those rights as China, Cuba, Qatar,
Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela.
Israel, the object of their repeated censure, and, unlike them, a westernstyle democracy, has never served on the UNHRC, and is unlikely to do so
for the foreseeable future. In fact Israel has never served on the Security
Council or on the other UN specialized agencies. The reason for this
reveals yet another aspect of the UNs mistreatment of the Jewish state.

Total UNHRC Condemnations, 2006-2015


55 ISSUED TO

ALL OTHER
NATIONS
COMBINED

61 ISSUED TO

ISRAEL

Methodology: includes all resolutions from 2006 to 2015 that singled out specific countries for
condemnation under agenda items 4 and 7. Excludes resolutions that also praise the country
concerned, or thoseadopted as matters oftechnical cooperation. Source: UNWatch

10 A DIMINISHED WORLD BODY: ANTI-ISRAEL BIAS AT THE UN

GEOGRAPHICALLY INCORRECT
MEMBERSHIP ON THE UNS VARIOUS committees

There has been some improvement in this situation

and agencies is allotted by five regional groups of

in recent years. In 2000, WEOG, which represents

statesAfrica, Asia-Pacific, Eastern Europe, Latin

Western-style democracies irrespective of geography,

America-Caribbean, and West Europe and Others

accepted Israel as a temporary member at UN

(WEOG). Each grouping nominates which countries

headquarters in New York, a status that was made

from that region will serve on the various UN bodies,

automatically renewable in 2004. The WEOG label

and their choices are then approved by the vote of all

has enabled Israeli ambassadors to serve twice as

UN members. While Israel belongs geographically in

vice presidents of the General Assembly, and Israel

the Asia-Pacific category, that groupwith its heavy

has submitted its candidacy for membership on the

Arab and Muslim representationdoes not accept

Security Council for the 2019-20 session. In 2013

it, and so Israel for many years was the only country

Israel was admitted to WEOG at the UNs Geneva

unaffiliated with a regional grouping, and hence

headquarters, but it remains unidentified with a

ineligible for membership on a UN body.

regional group at the UNs other sites in Nairobi,


Rome, and Vienna.

MADELEINE ALBRIGHT AND I PASSED THE AJC


AD AROUND THE ROOM OF EUROPEAN UNION
MINISTERSTHATS HOW IT ALL STARTED.
RICHARD HOLBROOKE, U.S. PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE TO
THE UN (1999-2001)

A COMPELLING ADVERTISEMENT SERIES AJC PLACED


IN THE NEW YORK TIMES HIGHLIGHTED A MULTIYEAR
CAMPAIGN TO ADVANCE ISRAELS EQUAL TREATMENT
AT THE UN. IN 2013, ISRAEL ANNOUNCED ITS BID FOR
A SEAT ON THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL FOR 20192020. THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN IMPOSSIBLE IF NOT
FOR ISRAELS INCLUSION IN THE WESTERN EUROPEAN
AND OTHERS GROUP (WEOG). ISRAEL WAS INVITED
TO JOIN WEOG IN 2000 IN PART BECAUSE AJC, IN THE
WORDS OF THE NEW YORK TIMES, LED THE CAMPAIGN
ON BEHALF OF ISRAEL THROUGH QUIET DIPLOMACY
AT THE UNITED NATIONS AND EUROPEAN CAPITALS,
INCLUDING A POWERFUL AD SERIES IN THE PAPER.

11 A DIMINISHED WORLD BODY: ANTI-ISRAEL BIAS AT THE UN

WHAT CAN BE DONE?


THERE IS LITTLE REASON TO THINK that the automatic anti-Israel

majority at the UN will come to an end anytime soon. But there are four
concrete steps the UN can take to furnish a more level playing field for
the Jewish state:
1  Eliminate the anomalous UN entities that target only Israel
the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the
Palestinian People; the Division for Palestinian Rights; and the
Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the
Human Rights of the Palestinian People.
2  If it proves politically impossible to dissolve UNRWA and place
Palestinian refugees under the aegis of the High Commissioner for
Refugees, at least task UNRWA with resettling the Palestinians, and
monitoring its schools so that they do not teach hatred.
3 Do away with the UNHRCs Agenda Item 7, and address charges of
Israeli violations of human rights under Item 4, together with those
charged against other nations.
4 Grant Israel permanent membership in a UN regional group
at all UN offices around the world.

THE UN CHARTER CALLS FOR THE EQUAL RIGHTS


OF MEN AND WOMEN AND OF NATIONS LARGE AND
SMALL. SADLY, INSTITUTIONALIZED ANTI-ISRAEL
BIAS HAS THUS FAR PREVENTED THE WORLD BODY
FROM LIVING UP TO THIS NOBLE VISION.

12 A DIMINISHED WORLD BODY: ANTI-ISRAEL BIAS AT THE UN

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Jewish people and Israel, and to advance
human rights and democratic values
around the world

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