Five years ago, I wrote that the civilized world would benefit from the dissolution of the United Nations, already then a dysfunctional assembly of nations dominated by tyrannies and dictatorships.
Since then, despite the welcome replacement of secretary-general Kofi Annan by Ban Ki-Moon and aside from a few symbolic meetings in New York condemning anti-Semitism, the situation has dramatically worsened.
The newly created UN Human Rights Commission, intended to be more balanced than its predecessor, shamelessly promotes medieval anti-Semitic blood libels and demonization of Israel at levels unprecedented even by UN standards. Many of the Israel-speeches dominating the agenda could have been delivered at Hizbullah gatherings. Israel is routinely condemned as the world’s worst example of human rights violations by apologists for monstrous regimes like Sudan.
Likewise, representatives from states such as Libya, Iran and Cuba hold key positions controlling the UN Durban II Conference agenda and are unabashedly displaying a determination to produce a replay of their first gathering in 2001 that became the springboard for the new global wave of ant-Semitism cloaked as anti-Zionism. It is no coincidence that the preparatory committee this year scheduled a meeting to review xenophobia on Yom Kippur.
Although occasionally expressing concerns about anti-Semitism, most democratic countries have displayed a penchant to assume positions of neutrality in the face of toxic anti-Israeli hostility. So it is especially regrettable that when Canada courageously called for a boycott of Durban II, Israel hesitated when firm support might have tipped the US and other democracies to follow suit – a move which would have relegated Durban to a coven of discredited dictatorships and extremist NGOs.
But it was at the last General Assembly plenum at the end of last month, when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad transformed the podium into a launching pad for demonic Jew hatred unprecedented since the Nazi era, that UN hypocrisy and double standards reached their nadir. A similar diatribe from such a platform against any other religion or ethnic group would have been inconceivable. The obscene outburst paraphrased the notorious Protocols of the Elders of Zion, accusing “Zionist murderers” of controlling international finance, the media and furtively manipulating global politics. The Iranian president who had repeatedly been calling for the elimination of the Jewish state reiterated that the world would soon benefit from the collapse of Israel, a member state of the organization he was addressing.
The response from many of the government and UN officials will be recorded as a day of infamy for an organization established after the defeat of Nazism to create a new world order based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the rule of international law.
Not only was Ahmadinejad’s tirade greeted by many representatives with enthusiastic applause, but the secretary-general, who only a short time earlier had condemned anti-Semitism, remained silent. The president of the General Assembly, Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, a former Nicaraguan foreign minister and a Catholic priest, made a point of publicly embracing the Iranian Holocaust denier after his vile address, and then attending the bitterly protested dinner in honor of the Iranian president.
If the Ahmadinejad diatribe fails to trigger a dramatic response, there is little doubt that similar depraved onslaughts by representatives of tyrannies will become the order of the day. Indeed, there is even a serious effort under way to elect Iran to a non-permanent seat on the Security Council.
What does this say about the UN? That an organization dominated by tyrannies and dictatorships, not surprisingly, is being exploited as a platform for promoting evil. Moreover, the situation will continue to deteriorate if the tensions between Western nations and Russia degenerate into a new cold war, and the Russians intensify their existing support for rogue states like Iran and Syria.
This horrific UN General Assembly session extending the welcome mat to Ahmadinejad, coincided with the 70th anniversary of the Munich agreement, when Britain and France betrayed Czechoslovakia in a vain effort to appease Hitler, paving the way for the most terrible war in history. Despite the fact that there is not a single recorded instance in which appeasement of terrorist regimes succeeded in achieving peace, the same blunders are repeated, even though the US-led democratic world is militarily far superior to those Islamic extremist regimes challenging Western civilization. What is lacking is the will, fuelled by a combination of cowardice and economic greed, to confront rogue states like Iran before they are able to evolve into immensely more dangerous nuclear powers.
Needless to say, this has special relevance to Israel. Yet in recent weeks, just when some of the more powerful democracies might have been more inclined to back a firm principled stand, our policy toward the UN seems to have taken a step backward.
Our newly appointed UN representative, Gabriela Shalev, while condemning the General Assembly’s embrace of Ahmadinejad and capitalizing on the superb address delivered by President Shimon Peres, was reported to have dismissed the shocking behavior and passivity of delegates as traditional diplomatic behavior. She ludicrously added that some of the ambassadors applauding the Iranian president’s Jew baiting had privately praised Israel to her.
Even more bizarre were media reports quoting Shalev saying that in addition to defending Israel at the UN, she considers her job to be “correcting the UN’s image in the eyes of the people of Israel.” If these reports are true, we may have replaced our former outstanding ambassador Dan Gillerman with an unqualified academic.
Our aspiring prime minister, Tzipi Livni, must be made aware that if her appointees to the UN are going to defend or make excuses for that body, even our allies will conclude that we have taken leave of our senses.
We should initiate a global campaign highlighting the extent to which the UN has deviated from the original hopes and aspirations of its founders, transformed into an instrument for subverting democracy and undermining the civilized world.
We should encourage the emerging view that challenges the validity of democratic states bearing the brunt of the cost of financing a global body exploited for the promotion of evil objectives by the numerically dominant tyrannies. Today, the case for the dissolution of the UN political framework while retaining those welfare agencies which make a constructive contribution has never been greater.
What should be mooted as a substitute is a new multilateral association of countries limited to those who are broadly democratic and display respect for human rights. Such a body could serve as a vehicle to promote democracy throughout the world, simultaneously providing an inducement to autocratic regimes to reform to qualify for inclusion. It would also enhance constructive multilateralism; in the absence of destructive extremist blocs, it would also create a more realistic environment for improved superpower consultations and co-operation.
Such an approach would undoubtedly now find increasing support among increasingly progressively more exasperated democracies including the United States.
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