IN THE MEDIA

How a shining hope became a moral stain

Jan 11, 2023 | Justin Amler

Image: Shutterstock
Image: Shutterstock

Daily Telegraph – 11 January 2023

 

Out of the smouldering ash of a broken Europe and a tortured world, the United Nations was born, carrying with it the hopes of a better future for all peoples, enshrined with its values of peace, justice, respect and human rights.

The victorious allies wanted to make the world a better place – and who can disagree with that?

But these lofty principles that may have existed once in a distant past have long since faded, betrayed by the very institution that was set up to uphold them.

And every year that erosion continues, as the United Nations exposes itself as an embarrassing moral blight on all the virtues it says it holds dear.

The Jewish people know this all too well.

For no country has been targeted or singled out or condemned or criticised or scapegoated as much as the Jewish homeland of Israel – a country 353 times smaller than Australia!

Since 2015, there have been 140 resolutions passed condemning Israel, compared to just 68 for the rest of the world combined. In the past year alone, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) condemned Israel 15 times, compared to 13 resolutions for the other 191 UN member states – including such human rights exemplars as Russia, China, Myanmar, North Korea and Syria.

The anti-Israel resolutions all echo each other, using the same language and the same terminology, depicting Israel as the only guilty party while failing to condemn or even mention the terror groups it fights against, like Hamas or Islamic Jihad.

Just some of the resolutions recently passed in the last month or two include the one-sided “Palestine refugees and their properties and revenues” resolution which implicitly endorses the Palestinian “right of return” for all refugees, which, if implemented, would destroy the Jewish state by sheer numbers – the complete antithesis to the two-state resolution that we are told is the only sensible formula for a peaceful settlement. The resolution purposely ignores the claims of the roughly 900,000 Jewish refugees who were expelled and forced from their homes in the Arab world and deprived of their property. Australia, unfortunately, this year voted to support this unfair and biased resolution.

Another resolution of note is the “Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine” which again apportions all blame on Israel alone, while taking no notice of the Palestinian rejection of several Israeli two-states peace deals and offers, from Oslo in 1994 to the Olmert deals of 2008. It reaffirms the “illegality of Israeli settlement activity” including in Jerusalem but ignores entirely the Jewish connection to Jerusalem by using only the Muslim name for the Temple Mount.

This is not an oversight, but a deliberate omission to present Israel as a colonial and foreign entity that has usurped and expelled the indigenous population of Arabs. Australia unfortunately chose to abstain on this resolution, rather than vote against it as it has previously.

And in the final resolution of the year, Israel alone was referred to the International Court of Justice in The Hague (ICJ) for an “advisory opinion”, while all Palestinian transgressions and violence were ignored.

It was just another resolution in which the facts don’t matter, as Israel is already deemed guilty, and the only question remaining is how best to punish the Jewish state.

To Australia’s credit, it did vote against this latest farce – which politicises international law, even as it also makes any actual hopes for Israeli-Palestinian peace more distant by encouraging and rewarding the ongoing Palestinian refusal to compromise, or even negotiate over recent years.

The main “yes” votes came from the Arab and Muslim states and their developing nation allies.

Other countries that supported the resolution included the usual suspects such as China, Russia and Iran, but also some European countries that should know better like Belgium, Portugal and Ireland.

Collectively, these farcical resolutions are so lopsided and unfair that one has to wonder if it’s a genuine attempt to be taken seriously, or just some kind of bizarre satirical commentary on society, in the mould of English satirist Jonathan Swift.

But in an institution where brutal dictatorships have the same value as peaceful democracies – and sadly, a majority of the world’s nations are not democracies  –  how could it be different?

As Israeli ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan said, “Any decision from a judicial body which receives its mandate from the morally bankrupt and politicised UN is completely illegitimate.”

Australia values the UN as a key component of our foreign policy. But it is hard to see how our commitment to this body can genuinely benefit our national interests unless our politicians and diplomats do a better job of standing up to the discrimination, corruption and politicised bullying which have turned this once shining hope into a moral stain.

Justin Amler is a policy analyst at the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC).

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