Australia/Israel Review


The UN since October 7

Dec 21, 2023 | Justin Amler

Pakistani UN representive Zaman Medhi (screenshot)
Pakistani UN representive Zaman Medhi (screenshot)

The United Nations has a long history of bias against Israel, dating back to the 1970s, when it declared Zionism, that is, support for Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish homeland, a “form of racism”. 

While that resolution was repealed in 1991, the extensive pro-Palestinian bureaucracy inserted into the UN as an institution from that time remains today. 

Year after year, Israel continues to be singled out for scrutiny with numerous resolutions condemning the Jewish state on numerous different pretexts. More resolutions are passed against Israel each year than the combined total of every other state on Earth. 

That means that, thanks to the numerical domination of the UN by states aligned with the Arab and Islamic blocs, Israel – a democratic state with a strong human rights record – is condemned much more than mass-murdering, totalitarian terrorist-supporting entities like Iran, Syria, or North Korea.

But perhaps this shouldn’t be a surprise in an institution dominated by human rights abusers and the “special rapporteurs” these abusers arrange to appoint, some of whom have spread antisemitic tropes.

The UN’s ideals were always honourable, even inspirational, formulated in the aftermath of the horrors of World War II to work towards preventing the world falling into such moral disrepair again.

Unfortunately, those ideals are seldom being met.

On October 7, Israel experienced the worst terror attack in its history. Approximately 1,200 people were butchered, many in their homes in some of the most cruel and depraved ways one could ever imagine. Women were raped. Children beheaded. Families burnt alive. The worst of human savagery was in full display, recorded on GoPro cameras in high definition by terrorist monsters who rejoiced in their blood lust. Even the mass-murder was not enough, as about 250 innocents were dragged to Gaza as hostages, including babies, toddlers, and elderly men and women.

And yet, the aforementioned UN, whose ideals are supposed to shine like a beacon of light in a murky world, was nowhere to be seen, with no words to be heard. UN bodies have overwhelmingly failed to even condemn this most heinous act of butchery, which should have been the easiest thing in the world to do. 

Let’s review for a moment what the United Nations has done since this infamous day of horror.

Just two days after the October 7 massacre, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) demonstrated exactly why it is one of the UN’s most notorious and hypocritical organisations. The Pakistani representative, Zaman Mehdi, called for and received a minute’s silence to remember the victims in the “occupied Palestinian territories” and elsewhere, saying it was a result of more than “seven decades of foreign occupation, aggression and disrespect for the international law.” He didn’t mention Israel and he also failed to mention Hamas – the perpetrators of the massacre. 

In other words, even as the blood of Jewish victims of Hamas’ pogrom was not yet cold, and even as their bodies had not yet been collected or even discovered or identified, the UNHRC made a point of blaming Israel’s very existence for the massacre of its citizens, attributing all the blame to over “seven decades of foreign occupation” meaning Israel’s existence since 1948. 

Another disturbing aspect of the Hamas attack was the deliberate sexual violence Hamas perpetrated against Israeli women. Jewish women were raped, degraded and murdered in an attempt to “dirty them”, in the words of captured Hamas terrorists, who said such sexual violence was part of their orders on October 7. In many cases, the rape was so violent that women’s pelvic bones were shattered. There is overwhelming forensic evidence, including eyewitness reports, as well as Hamas’ own videos of naked dead women being paraded on pickup trucks in the heart of Gaza along with living women who had blood all over their pants indicating the violent sexual assault against them. 

Yet this use of rape and sexual violence was completely ignored for months by the United Nations, including groups whose entire purpose is to protect women, such as UN Women. Only after two months did the UN Women organisation issue a weak condemnation after an international campaign to call attention to the UN’s complete failure to even acknowledge the sick sexual violence.

Interestingly, on Nov. 30, UN experts did in fact say they were “appalled” by the use of sexual violence as a tool of war – but they were talking about Sudan, not Israel.

Then there is the United Nations Relief and Works Agency known as UNRWA. It is an organisation supposedly dedicated to helping Palestinian refugees, but in reality it is one of the major impediments to any kind of peaceful coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians. The majority of its $1.6 billion (A$2.4 billion) budget is dedicated to educating children. However, it is not the kind of education that promotes peace and cultural understanding, but rather perpetuates rejectionism and violence, including advocating the “right of return” for Palestinians into Israel – meaning ending the existence of the State of Israel.

Australia contributes $20 million dollars annually to UNRWA.

Although UNRWA staff, officials and teachers have been exposed for involvement in terrorist violence multiple times in the past, the last couple of months have revealed even more damning evidence. This included celebrations of the October 7 massacre by numerous teachers and in schools, the discovery of Hamas weapons caches in UNRWA schools and even the holding of an Israeli hostage in the attic by an UNRWA teacher. And yet, the United Nations has not condemned any of the pro-Hamas activities by UNRWA officials.

UNRWA instead released a statement saying it is being defamed.

Finally, there is the most powerful person in the UN hierarchy, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who on October 7 itself, had the nerve, even as Hamas terrorists were still running wild and massacring civilians through towns and villages of southern Israel, to call for “maximum restraint” from Israel.

He then continued his descent into the moral abyss by appearing to encourage “understanding” of the attacks by Hamas, even while ostensibly condemning them, saying they “did not happen in a vacuum. The Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation. They have seen their land steadily devoured by settlements and plagued by violence; their economy stifled; their people displaced and their homes demolished.”

He then took a further seven weeks, despite the overwhelming evidence, before calling for an investigation into the sexual violence that occurred on October 7, saying “gender-based violence must be condemned. Anytime. Anywhere.” It’s hard to take those words seriously considering how long it took him to say them.

Eventually, he also decided to take the rare and unprecedented step of invoking Article 99 of the UN charter which states “The Secretary-General may bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security” to demand the Security Council impose a ceasefire in Gaza. 

Note that he has failed to invoke Article 99 for any other conflict that has raged during his tenure – including the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, or the Syrian civil war, in which hundreds of thousands of people have been killed.

Since October 7, the United Nations has only underscored the degree to which it remains obsessed with the only Jewish state, while largely ignoring all misdeeds and crimes of the world’s worst human rights abusers

The world body has, unfortunately, failed to show basic moral clarity even in the face of an unprecedented, unprovoked atrocity like October 7. 

It therefore shouldn’t be a surprise when a terror-supporting, serial human rights abuser like Iran was elected to chair the UNHCR Social Forum at the end of October. 

Since October 7, UN “experts” and bodies have focussed almost solely on condemning or questioning what Israel is doing in its defensive war against Hamas, while pretending the events of October 7 never happened or are ancient history. While almost every Western government has recognised Israel’s right to self-defence against Hamas, we were unable to identify any UN body or expert who did so – indeed some “experts” have explicitly and absurdly argued that Israel does not have any such right to self-defence.

Instead of shocking the UN out of its long-standing pattern of complete one-sidedness when it comes to Israel, the atrocities of October 7 appear to have only led to the UN entrenching itself even further on the side of undemocratic actors which seek to undo Israel’s creation, with UN approval more than 75 years ago. 

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