The United Nations’ Betrayal of Israel

It’s hard to capture the fury of Israel and Jews themselves over the effort of the world body to blame the slaughter launched by Hamas on Israel itself.

AP/Mary Altaffer, file
The United Nations secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, June 8, 2022. AP/Mary Altaffer, file

The speech today by the secretary general of the United Nations, António Guterres, blaming Israel for the attack on it by Hamas is one of the most shocking moments in the history of the world body. It absolutely infuriated Israel, its diplomats, and the Jewish community world wide. It is hard to imagine that the UN, already a deeply corrupted institution obsessed with Israel, can continue with business as usual.

We grasp that there was a certain diplomatic subtlety to the way Mr. Guterres couched his libel — a blood libel, at that.  There is no justification for the October 7 attack by Hamas, he said, and then justified it by claiming it “did not happen in a vacuum.” As our Benny Avni reports, he enumerated hardships inflicted on Palestinian Arabs. His remarks smacked of attempts by enemies of the Jews to suggest that the Jews deserved the Holocaust.      

The betrayal at Turtle Bay this afternoon was no doubt amplified by the fact that it came from the world body that ushered the Jewish state into being in the first place. Israeli diplomats, though, grasped immediately the mendacity and bigotry of what Mr. Guterres said. The ambassador of the Jewish state to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, promptly went on X to declare that Mr. Guterres is “not fit to lead the UN.”

The foreign minister of the Jewish state, Eli Cohen, who was visiting Turtle Bay, canceled in protest a planned meeting with Mr. Guterres. The minister addressed reporters alongside several family members of more than 220 Israelis still being held hostage at Gaza. As long as Mr. Guterres remains at the helm, Mr. Erdan told reporters, “there is no justification for this building.” He added that Israel will have to reassess its relations with the UN.

Good for him, we say. The New York Sun has been calling for both Israel and America and other major Western democracies to reassess their relationships with the world body since the Sun revived its print edition early in this century. Our issues were hostility to American values, antisemitism in the United Nations itself, and the UN’s long campaign to isolate and condemn Israel in the proceedings of the UN institutions. The record is shocking.

This has been a sad journey for those from families that, long ago, gathered around the radio to hear a broadcast of the voting in 1947 at Lake Success. That is where the United Nations voted to partition Palestine, opening the way to the declaration of the State of Israel 75 years ago. Since then, the General Assembly has proceeded to pass some 20 anti-Israel resolutions a year, by far more condemnation than to all world countries combined.

The UN Human Rights Council dedicates on its calendar a special agenda item to condemn Israel, a privilege afforded to no other country. It just formed a special permanent investigative body to find faults in the conduct of the Mideast’s only democracy.  Its special rapporteur on the Palestinian Arabs just handed to Mr. Guterres a draft anti-Israel report. The alphabet soup of UN bodies is no better, dedicating a special space for Israel condemnation.

This record underscores the difficulties of reforming the United Nations. The effort would be blocked and parried at every turn by Communist China and Russia, each of which, along with America, Britain, and France, has a Security Council veto. America, too, would have to look to a Congress that has been blindly funding the UN for decades. Skip reform, we say. Israel would be smart to decamp — and America with it, the sooner the better.


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