It is one thing to bring fair criticisms against Israel. It is another thing to single out Israel for unrelenting, biased, and unfair criticism. And when an individual or organization continually treats Israel unfairly and brings false accusations against the nation, that individual or organization has gone beyond anti-Zionism. The line has been crossed into anti-Semitism. The UN has crossed that line time and time again.
As noted by Israeli journalist Ben-Dror Yemini, "there is a place, indeed a vital place, for publicizing facts and advancing criticism. The problem lies in maintaining a sense of proportion. When the loaded term of opprobrium 'apartheid' is regularly attached to garden-variety cases of discrimination, when the various organs of the United Nations condemn Israel more than any other state in the world, when Amnesty International and other bodies zero in on Israel more than on any other country— the result is total distortion."
And that total distortion has deadly consequences.
Regarding the UN, Yemini notes that "in 2012, the UN General Assembly passed 22 resolutions against Israel, in contrast to four against the rest of the world. In 2015, the General Assembly adopted 20 resolutions singling out Israel for criticism— and only three resolutions regarding the rest of the world combined. As of 2010, since its inception in 2006, the UN Human Rights Council has adopted 33 resolutions against specific countries, of which 27 were against Israel. In 2013, the Council adopted 25 resolutions, four for all the other countries in the world and 21 against Israel. Hundreds of thousands of people around the world were victims of tyrannical regimes, and countless massacres and pogroms were committed. Israel did not commit even a fraction of these misdeeds, but it has been condemned more than any other country, perhaps more than all other countries combined" (Industry of Lies: Media, Academia, and the Israeli-Arab Conflict).
This has been the UN's pattern for decades, and it was not about to break form this week, passing yet another anti-Israel resolution.
This time, without even mentioning the provocations of Hamas terrorists, the UN condemned Israel for "excessive use of force" against Gazan border protesters. The vote was 120 nations for, 8 nations against, and 45 abstaining.
As reported by the Washington Post, "The U.N. General Assembly approved a Palestinian-backed resolution Wednesday blaming Israel for violence in Gaza and deploring its 'excessive use of force,' after narrowly rejecting a U.S. demand to add a condemnation of attacks on Israel by Gaza's Hamas rulers.
"The votes reflected wide concern in the 193-member world body that the resolution sponsored by Arab and Islamic nations was one-sided and failed to even mention Hamas, which has fired over 100 rockets at Israel."
But Hamas not only fired rockets at Israel. It rallied tens of thousands of protesters whose goal was to break down the boundary fence and attack and kill Israelis. In the words of Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, "We will take down Israel's border and tear out Israeli hearts from their bodies." Those sound like violent, fighting words to me.
In truth, these were anything but peaceful protests, and Israel did its level best to stop the violence before it happened. As noted by the Jerusalem Institute for Justice:
- The Hamas terror organization led another round of its confrontation campaign from Gaza against Israel. Orchestrated by Hamas, approximately 40,000 rioters gathered at the border and several thousand tried to storm into Israel at 13 locations.
- The rioters hurled firebombs and explosive devices, burned tires, threw rocks and launched flaming objects with the intention of igniting fires in Israeli territory, breaking into Israeli villages, and harming Israeli security officers.
- Israel made relentless efforts to prevent the masses from violently breaching the border. These included early warnings (by leaflets, direct phone calls, on radio and social media), as well as the use of non-lethal means (water cannons, tear gas, smoke grenades, rubber bullets).
- Inflamed and violent crowds cannot be allowed to storm the border fence, opening a way to infiltrate into Israeli towns and threaten Israeli civilians.
But when it comes to Israel and the UN, there is only one side, the anti-Israel side, which is often a close neighbor to the anti-Semitic side. Israel (= the Jewish nation) is always in the wrong.
Thankfully, under the Trump administration, and with the able leadership of Ambassador Nikki Haley, there has been a vigorous response to UN bias. As Haley remarked after the vote, "In the face of Hamas terrorists routinely inciting violence, firing over a hundred rockets into Israeli communities, and even attacking the crossing point that brings humanitarian supplies into Gaza, today the UN made the morally bankrupt judgment that the recent Gaza violence is all Israel's fault."
Israel's ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, shared similar sentiments: "The hypocrisy of the General Assembly knows no bounds as anti-Israel elements deceitfully blocked the condemnation of Hamas, a murderous terrorist organization. This was a badge of shame for the UN."
The good news (what little good news there is after this latest fiasco) is that there was a strong effort to single out Hamas for its terrorist activities, although the US-led effort ultimately did not pass. Still, as Haley noted, "a plurality of 62 countries voted in favor of the U.S.-led effort to address Hamas's responsibility for the disastrous conditions in Gaza. We had more countries on the right side than the wrong side."
That, for sure, is a positive sign. Forgive me, though, if I'm not holding my breath, expecting the UN to turn on a dime and begin to treat Israel fairly. Past history gives me cause to remain skeptical.
I would love to be proven wrong.