In recent weeks the United Nations has gone on the warpath against Israel, defaming the Jewish state and providing aid and comfort to its enemies.
Indeed, in a series of moves, the world body has sent the Jewish state a clear and unmistakable message that its decades-old hostility remains as potent as ever.
First, there was the decision last month by UNESCO – the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization – to establish a chair at the Islamic University of Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas and has become a hotbed of Muslim extremism and terror.
This is the very same university whose laboratories have been used by Hamas to produce explosives and rockets that were later deployed against Israel. And in May, the University’s dean of Koranic studies called for the Islamic conquest of Spain and the Vatican.
It is simply unconscionable that UNESCO, which is ostensibly dedicated to “building peace in the minds of men and women”, would choose to partner with a Hamas-run outfit that inculcates students with anti-Israel and anti-Western values.
Not to be outdone, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) decided to get into the act last week by turning up the heat on Israel.
At the close of its 20th session in Geneva, the august body appointed a three-member fact-finding team to be dispatched to the Middle East.
But have no fear: the diplomatic trio in question will not be garnering frequent-flyer miles to investigate the Syrian government’s slaughter of its own civilians, nor will it be rushing through airport security to get a first-hand look at the fundamentalist takeover in Egypt.
Instead, despite all the turmoil in the region, the UNHRC is determined to get to the bottom of what it considers to be a far more vexing problem: ongoing Jewish housing construction in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem.
That’s right. A Jew enclosing a porch in Ariel, or extending a living room in Hebron, apparently poses a more significant threat to the rights of all humanity than rising Islamic fundamentalist extremism or the crushing of dissent.
The move comes following a UNHRC resolution passed back in March which employed all the classic anti-Israel bias and one-sidedness that has become standard fare in the halls of the UN.
Lest anyone had been toying with the naïve thought that the UNHRC might give Israel a fair hearing, the text of the resolution went out of its way to bash the Jewish state and its policies in the harshest of terms.
In its preamble, the decision affirmed that “Israeli settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in East Jerusalem, are illegal under international law and constitute very serious violations of international humanitarian law and of the human rights of the Palestinian people therein.”
It also expressed “grave concern” about “the continuation by Israel, the occupying Power, of settlement building and expansion.”
The UNHRC then defined the mandate of its investigative team, instructing it to explore “the implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people.”
What do you think the chances are that Israel will get a fair hearing?
Not surprisingly, Israel was quick to reject the proposed UNHRC mission, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor saying, “The fact-finding mission will find no cooperation in Israel and its members will not be allowed to enter Israel and the territories.”
“Its existence,” he added, “embodies the inherent distortion that typifies the UNHRC treatment of Israel and the hijacking of the important human rights agenda by non-democratic countries.”
And then, to top it all off, came reports in the Israeli press that the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has been supporting and even building illegal structures for Palestinians in Judea and Samaria.
OCHA has ignored repeated Israeli requests to cease such activities, to the point where the government is now said to be considering imposing sanctions on its employees.
This is nothing less than a deliberate snub of Israel and its sovereignty and violates all norms of diplomatic decency.
Clearly, as the above examples illustrate, the UN remains as antagonistic as ever toward the Jewish state, treating it in ways it would not dare to treat any other country.
It’s time American Jews speak out loudly against this discriminatory stance, particularly since this is an election year in the U.S.
After all, the United States contributes half a billion dollars each year toward the UN’s budget, which represents a quarter of the organization’s total.
Through its impeccable record of mistreating Israel, America’s closest ally in the Middle East, the UN long ago made a mockery of the principles it claims to champion.
There is no reason why the American taxpayer needs to continue funding this campaign of demonization.
So in the months ahead, as your senators and congressmen seek to elicit your support, utilize the opportunity to drive home a simple message: in a time of austerity, cutting U.S. funding to the UN would not only be fiscally prudent but also morally and diplomatically warranted.
Michael Freund is chairman of Shavei Israel (www.shavei.org), which assists lost tribes and hidden Jewish communities to return to the Jewish people.
About the Author: Michael Freund is the Founder and Chairman of Shavei Israel. He writes a syndicated column and feature stories for the Jerusalem Post, Israel’s leading English-language daily, and he previously served as Deputy Director of Communications & Policy Planning in the Prime Minister’s Office under Benjamin Netanyahu. A native of New York, he holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia University and a BA from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.
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