UN Anti-Semitism Unconscionable
The UN's escalating anti-Semitism and hostility toward Israel, and what the United States can do to stop it, was the topic of a hearing held today on Capitol Hill.
Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), along with Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27), co-chaired the hearing with hopes that a united Congress and President will cast aside the failed policies of the previous Administration and return the U.N. to its original mission.
“In a world of oppressive dictators, international menaces, and systemic human rights abusers, UN institutions repeatedly cast Israel—the Middle East’s only liberal democracy—as a sort of pariah state,” said Smith, Chairman of the House Panel on International Organizations. “The UN General Assembly in September issued 20 anti-Israel resolutions, more than the total number of resolutions on Syria, Iran, and North Korea combined. Equally astonishing, the General Assembly did not pass a single resolution addressing human rights abuses in China, Cuba, Turkey, Saudi Arabia or Venezuela.”
“It is clear from many U.N. decisions that a growing number of member states and institutions prefer to construct an alternate universe rather than build sustainable peace,” said Smith. “In one especially unconscionable example, UNESCO in October voted to approve two resolutions that erased every single reference to Judaism and Christianity from the ancient holy sites of Jerusalem’s Old City. And as we are all aware, the UN Security Council in December passed Resolution 2334, papering over decades of agreements concerning the 1949 Armistice Line and essentially declaring it to be Israel’s established border with the Palestinian territories.”
“The great Natan Sharansky twice testified at hearings I have chaired. In his testimony he spoke of the demonization, double standards, and delegitimization – the famous “3 D” test that distinguishes ‘legitimate criticism’ of Israel from anti-Semitism.” Click Here to Read Smith’s Full Statement.
“[UN Security Council Resolution 2334] was a departure in policy by the Obama Administration, and it was a move that was overwhelmingly opposed by many of us in Congress,” said Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa. “Some argue incorrectly that Resolution 2334 has no real practical impact. But those who make this argument fail to see 2334 as part of a larger agenda – one piece of a larger plan by the Palestinians to undermine, isolate and delegitimize Israel…After years of failed attempts at peace, and years of false moral equivalencies between Israel and the Palestinians, we have an opportunity to reassess our relationships and our objectives. The push at the UN by the Palestinians has created an atmosphere of complete mistrust for the Israelis – almost to the point of no return. We now have an opportunity to grow and strengthen our alliance with Israel and show the world that we support our friends – we don’t leave them out to dry.”
Hillel Neuer, the Executive Director of U.N. Watch, noted the unique way that Israel is treated by the UN: “Perhaps the most striking example of the council’s predetermination that Israel must be condemned is the presence of an item on its standing agenda dedicated solely to the Jewish state. No other country in the world is subjected to stand-alone focus, engraved on the body’s permanent agenda, ensuring its prominence, and the notoriety of its target, at every council meeting.” Click Here to Read Neuer’s Full Statement.
An Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of International Organization Affairs under George W. Bush and founder of Latitude, LLC, Brian Hook, evaluated the failures of the Obama Administration in his testimony. “Israel has faced an almost robotic hostility across the UN system for decades. Since Israel is an important American ally, we have traditionally shielded both Israel and the UN itself from some of the UN’s worst impulses. The Obama Administration broke from this tradition at critical times, which weakened our alliance with Israel.” Click Here to Read Hook’s Full Statement.
“The resolution provided momentum to the international movements that seek to delegitimize Israel, including the global BDS campaign,” said Dr. Jonathan Schanzer, the Senior Vice President for Research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, while examining the damage done by Resolution 2334. “In other words, the resolution helped spur on an anti-Israel economic warfare campaign, an extension of the Arab League boycott. The goal of this extended campaign is not only Israel’s ouster from the disputed territories, but every square inch of Israel.” Click Here to Read Schanzer’s Full Statement.
Robert Wexler, President of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace, called on Congress to use it’s power to influence the U.N.. “For the benefit of Israel, Palestinians and credibility of the UN, Congress should exercise its leverage to reform the problematic UN infrastructure reflecting a renewed international commitment to a negotiated two-state outcome focused on building Palestinian institutions and economic growth.” Click Here to Read Wexler’s Full Statement.
In January of this year Smith joined with the House of Representatives to overwhelmingly pass H. Res. 11, Objecting to the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334. Smith has been a leading voice in the call for U.N. reform, last year he help two hearings on corruption within the U.N., including an investigation into abuse and sexual exploitation of those most vulnerable by U.N. peacekeepers titled “Peacekeepers: Allegations of Abuse and Absence of Accountability at the United Nations.” Smith is currently planning a hearing to look into the Corruption in the FAO.