In 1947, the newly created, intergovernmental organization called the United Nations (UN) played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Jewish State by passing UN Resolution 181, which called for the partition of British Mandate Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab. Following Israel’s independence in 1948, Israel became an official member-state of the international body.
Yet, since Israel’s establishment, the UN has a decades-long history of a one-sided, antagonistic approach towards Israel. It’s record and culture continues to demonstrate a predisposition against Israel, having passed more condemnations against Israel than all other countries in the world combined. Even Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has in recent years made statements admitting this view publicly. “Unfortunately, because of the [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict, Israel’s been weighed down by criticism and suffered from bias — and sometimes even discrimination,” Ban said in response to a question about discrimination against Israel at the UN.1
The United Nations General Assembly (GA) is made up of 193 member states, each having equal representation and only roughly forty percent are considered to be democratic nations. With each country having equal weight in votes, two-thirds of the voting power of the GA is represented by approximately only eight percent of the world population. This made it easy for the Arab-Soviet-Third World bloc – nearly all dictatorships and autocracies – to form in the mid-1970’s, creating a powerful forum for isolating and condemning Israel. With support from third-world nations, particularly the Non-Aligned Movement, and others, the Arab states have had little difficulty passing harsh anti-Israel resolutions through the GA and using its power to establish and authorize funding for several anti-Israel committees. For decades, Israel was the only member state consistently denied admission into a regional group, the organizational structure by which member states can participate in UN bodies and committees. Israel’s participation in the UN is still limited and it cannot fully participate in UN Geneva-based activities. Until today, the strength of these groups in the world body allows them to continue rebuking Israel.
While anti-Israel resolutions are easily passed in the GA, this is not the case in the Security Council, where resolutions are binding and legal in nature. The Security Council has five permanent members that can veto any resolution: the United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia and China. On several occasions, the United States has used its veto power to prevent the passage of resolutions that single-out Israel for accusations. Yet, on the same token, Russia has used its veto power to cover for Syria.
One of the harshest critics of Israel within the UN body is the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), a committee assigned in 2006 to replace the Commission on Human Rights, whose main purpose is to oversee human rights issues. HRC has maintained an extreme focus on and biased treatment of issues relating to Israel, particularly in comparison with its mild action on pressing international human rights crises. The permanent agenda of the HRC includes a specific item targeting Israel – Agenda Item #7 – and mandates that Israeli violations of human rights be debated at every session. Israel is the only country to appear on the HRC’s permanent agenda, while other countries such as Iran and Sudan, notorious for their human rights abuses, are only included as part of the general debate. Ironically or not, the countries that were voted in by the General Assembly to sit as the arbiters of this council for human rights are some of the largest human rights abusers in the world – Saudi Arabia, China, Russia, Pakistan, Venezuela, and Cuba.
There have been more UNHRC resolutions against Israel than against all other member countries combined. In the nine years since the UNHRC was established, it has issued condemnations of Israel 62 times, in comparison to the 55 condemnations of other countries from across the world issued in the same period. Syria, a country that has used chemical weapons, torture, rape and human shields to carry out deliberate and indiscriminate attacks on innocent civilians, killing more the 250,000 and displacing more than 7 million people, has been subject to the committees’ criticism a mere 17 times. North Korea, which keeps its citizens in a state of perpetual starvation, and cut off from the rest of the world, has received just eight condemnations, whilst Saudi Arabia received none at all.
In 2015, the HRC published a report on Israel’s 2014 military operation against Hamas in Gaza (Operation Protective Edge), which accused both Israel and Hamas of violations of international law which could amount to war crimes. The report accused Israel of using disproportionate force in Gaza, and not doing enough to prevent civilian casualties. Israel and the United States rejected the report and there have been several objective, nonpartisan investigations refuting these claims.
Israel was the only country in the world singled out as a violator of “health rights” during the UN World Health Organization’s (WHO) annual assembly in May of last year. Despite the fact that Israeli hospitals provide health care for injured Syrians and Palestinian Arabs daily, the WHO decided to look the other way at real health crises in countries like Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya or North Korea.
There are countless other examples of the United Nations’ outright bias and double standard against Israel. The UN’s disproportionate assault against the Jewish State goes against the very principles and values it means to uphold as an impartial international body. We can see here, through some of these examples, that this discrimination does not happen by accident, but is a systematic and collaborative effort on behalf of those nations who refuse to accept the existence of a Jewish nation in the Land of Israel. We know that this is one of the signs of the Last Days, when all of the nations will gather against Israel’s holy city of Jerusalem. Let us make sure that we are standing strong on the side of God.
“Behold, I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the peoples around; and when the siege is against Jerusalem, it will also be against Judah. It will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it.” (Zechariah 12:2-4)
1 “Ban Ki-moon Admits United Nations Anti-Israel Bias,” The Algemeiner, August 17, 2013, https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/717/05/.
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