Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Is This the New UN?

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres
I used to think the UN was - at best - a complete waste of time and money. And at worst an antisemtic body whose primary goal was to destroy Israel. Despite the ironic fact that the State of Israel was created in 1947 - partitioning Palestine in a majority vote by the UN General Assembly.

It is no secret that this body extreme bias with respect to Israel. Israel has been the constant focus of condemnation and scorn.

In recent years, the Middle East was the subject of 76% of country-specific General Assembly resolutions, And 100% of the Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolutions. These resolutions most often criticized Israel for its ‘occupation of Palestinian land and its oppression of Palestinians.’ They condemned Israel almost exclusively about committing violence against Palestinians, and rarely about the reverse. On the other hand UNHRC has mostly failed to condemn other human rights abuses. Like what is happening in the people in the East African nation of South Sudan. Which by comparison makes Palestinians in West Bank seem like they are living in paradise!

This climate of anti Israel animus culminated with the recent US abstention on a vote condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank. It was them passed with all the other members of the Security Council voting on favor of it. I could go on. But any unbiased observer of the UN’s attitude towards Israel can see the obvious. No matter what kind of atrocities were going on in the world. Syria, Libya, East Africa… they are all practically ignored by the UN when one looks at who they focus the majority of their animus on.

It did not help matters that the UN Secretary-Generals in the past seem to harbor that same anti Israel bias. Even though they tried to hide it – it wasn’t that hard to notice that they did little to stop the Israel bashing going on there. Nor did it help that one of their past Secretary-Generals was Kurt Waldheim, a Nazi officer during the Holocaust.

Until a short while ago, when former US representative to the UN Samantha Power refused for the first time to veto a one-sided resolution condemning Israel (on instruction from her boss, the former President) it that seemed like things were only going to get worse. But just when I thought the UN was hopelessly antisemitic, Nikky Haley was appointed US representative to the UN by the New administration. She was not only aware of the bias that permeated that body, she actually did something about it. She minced no words in forcefully condemning it!

But I was not prepared for what happened on January 1st of this year. That is when former Portuguese Prime Minister, António Guterres was elected the new Secretary-General of the UN.

Unlike past leaders of the UN, he actually understands what Jewish suffering was all about throughout history. He even acknowledged his own country’s participation in that during the inquisition when they expelled all the Jews from their country. And he spoke about the Holocaust in terms of it being primarily Jewish tragedy.

It is one of the most moving speeches I have ever heard by a non Jewish leader. Mr. Guterres addressed entire body of diplomats in the UN on Holocaust Remembrance Day. The very same diplomats that focus on condemning Israel all the time.

I had no clue about this speech given back in January. Someone sent me a link to it yesterday. I would have publicized it sooner if I had. This 11 minute speech is well worth listening to. If this is the ‘New UN’ then I am a fan.