Commentary and Newsletters

Anne Bayefsky

The UN War on Israel: Bush and Rice, don't let the UN Sell out Israel

Thursday, January 8, 2009

This article, by Anne Bayefsky, originally appeared in The New York Daily News.

The United Nations war on Israel has never been on the back burner, and its feeding frenzy over Gaza is no exception. The Security Council has now held four sessions. The General Assembly has scheduled an emergency session for Thursday night, and on Friday, the UN's lead human rights body, the Human Rights Council, will hold a special session to damn Israel.

To put this in perspective, the Security Council is the UN's lead response to terrorism. After 9/11, the Security Council started convening as "the Counter-Terrorism Committee" or CTC. The CTC has never identified a single terrorist, terrorist organization or state sponsor of terrorism - because the Islamic chokehold on the UN leaves it without a definition of terrorism to this day.

The General Assembly has had 10 emergency sessions in its history. Six of those, including the 10th, have been on Israel, and the tenth has been "reconvened" 16 times since 1997. In other words, there is a permanent General Assembly emergency session on Israel. The same Assembly never managed to hold a single emergency session on the 800,000 people who died in the Rwandan genocide, or the 3 million who are dead or displaced in Sudan.

As for the "reformed" Human Rights Council, it is now holding its fifth special session on Israel. By comparison, the Council has held nine regular sessions on human rights in all of the other 191 UN states. In fact, over its two and a half-year history, the Council has condemned Israel more often than all other states in the United Nations combined.

It is hardly surprising, therefore, that since Israel finally decided to defend itself against the 8,000 rockets and mortar shells directed at its civilian population over eight years, the long UN knives have been quickly drawn. In addition to all the meetings, which are now webcast for propaganda purposes around the world, UN officials have used their global platforms to vilify the Jewish state and to try to tie Israel's hands behind its back. In one form or another, UN officials always manage to choke on the word "self-defense."

From out of the woodwork come UN gurus from the myriad UN bodies which have Israel-bashing as part of their job description: Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories Occupied Since 1967; Karen AbuZayd, Commission-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA); John Ging, UNRWA Director of Operations in Gaza; Maxwell Gaylard, United Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories (UNSCO), Paul Badji and the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People; Robert Serry, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process; and Christine van Nieuwenhuyse, World Food Program Representative in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

Right alongside those folks for the past two weeks have been the UN "experts" and agencies whose well-being - their stature and internal authority, re-appointment, promotion, pension, operational funding and institutional perks of all kinds - depend on being on the Arab side of all Arab-Israeli conflicts. These people include the Secretary-General, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and UN Emergency Relief Coordinator; the UN Office of the Humanitarian Coordinator (OCHA); the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict; the Chairperson of the Coordination Committee of Special Procedures; the Executive Director, UN Population Fund (UNFPA); and the Director-General, UNESCO.

Together all of these UN actors have mounted a feverish chorus alleging that Israel has committed "wanton aggression," "monstrosities," "massacres," and "crimes against humanity." In each case humanized Palestinian victims are placed on one side of the scale, and a small number of Israeli deaths are set on the other. Evidently, the UN only started counting Israeli bodies last week. Left out of this phony "proportionality test" is the terror associated with every Hamas-driven attempt to cause more death and destruction. And it is politically incorrect in the extreme to mention that the blameless Palestinians freely elected a terrorist group sworn to killing Jews.

In short, Hamas has perfected a form of human sacrifice in the 21st century. It launches rockets from schools, uses ambulances as transport, hides behind women and children, and wears civilian clothing as camouflage. Palestinian civilian casualties are the Palestinian leadership's weapon of choice. The only body still allegedly oblivious to this grotesque calculation is the UN. Asked about Hamas' use of civilians as human shields, UNRWA chief, AbuZayd responded: "I don't know of these human shields being used... What I would say is that Hamas very much leave us alone; let me say, they respect us."

The UN cacophony is not what Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had envisaged for her swan song. She hoped to exit with a Security Council resolution that she rammed through on December 16th, against Israel's wishes, praising her stillborn Annapolis initiative and bringing UN tentacles ever closer to their Israeli target by involving the Security Council more closely in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Which brings us to today's situation. Every anti-Israel idea out there has one major goal - whether it is propagated by France, Europe, Russia, Egypt, or the UN. They all want in on the Arab-Israeli conflict. Solutions subject to negotiations between the parties? Israeli control over its own borders? Not if any of these players can help it.

The drafts of UN presidential statements and resolutions now being floated include one key element. Wrest control from Israel and diminish Israeli sovereignty. The drafts insert international players via calls to "provide protection for civilian populations" or "establish and deploy an international observer force." Any such insertion of international actors will have only one result: to diminish the ability of Israel now and in the future to protect its citizens.

Israeli leaders must reject any formula that smacks of such a degradation of their inherent right to control their own destiny. And as for the United States, if President Bush is looking for an honorable swan song, it's now or never. This is the moment to tell your Secretary of State, after her years of a vain-glorious search for approval from the international community, that Israel is not for sale.