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The UN

Discussion on UN devlopments with regard to Israel and the Middle East

Israel faces rampant discrimination at the United Nations

by Julian Schvindlerman November 5, 2002
Originally published in the Miami Herald, November 1, 2002.

The article

All it takes for a baseless statement to be accepted at face value at the United Nations is for an Arab diplomat to utter it. Just observe the evolution of the newest diplomatic charge by Arab leaders: the United Nations, it turns out, is biased in favor of Israel.

Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz protested in May that, while sanctions were imposed on Iraq for noncompliance, they were not imposed on Israel for its violations of U.N. resolutions.

In September, Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk Shara asked why should the world demand that Iraq adhere to U.N. resolutions while Israel was allowed to be above international law.

A few days later, the representative of the Arab League to the United Nations complained that the world community was ignoring Israeli violations of U.N. resolutions while pressing for their enforcement on Iraq.

To see how inaccurate this comparison is, one has to understand the different legal weights that U.N. resolutions carry.

The main distinction is between U.N. General Assembly resolutions and U.N. Security Council resolutions. The former have political (and in the eyes of public opinion, even moral) authority, but are not legally binding. The latter do create legal obligations for the states they refer to, but -- as United Nations Watch, a Swiss NGO, reported -- the implementation of these obligations vary depending upon the chapter of the United Nations Charter under which they are adopted.

Thus, resolutions adopted under Chapter VI of the U.N. Charter, entitled ''Pacific Settlements of Disputes,'' require negotiation. Such is the case, for instance, of U.N. Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, adopted in 1967 and 1973 respectively, which call for an Israeli withdrawal from disputed territories in the framework of a negotiated comprehensive peace settlement.

In opposition to this, resolutions adopted under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, entitled ''Action With Respect to Threats to Peace, Breaches of the Peace, and Acts of Aggression,'' can be enforced by third parties. Moreover, as noted by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, the United Nations can authorize under Article 42 of its Charter the use of military force if a Chapter VII resolution is violated.

Here comes the trick. All U.N. Security Council resolutions that involve Israel were promulgated under Chapter VI of the U.N. Charter. All but two U.N. Security Council resolutions related to Iraq's invasion and subsequent occupation of Kuwait were adopted under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter.

This crucial legal distinction means that there is no legitimate basis for the trendy comparison between Iraqi and Israeli compliance, or lack of thereof, with U.N. resolutions.

Now, if the charge that the United Nations is biased against Iraq is unfounded, the implication that the international body is biased in favor of Israel is just bizarre.

Discrimination against Israel in the U.N. system is rampant.

In a constellation of 190 member-states, Israel is the sole nation prevented from winning a seat at the New York-based U.N. Security Council. The Geneva-based U.N. Commission of Human Rights devotes disproportionate attention to real or putative Israeli violations of human rights under a special item of its agenda during its annual meeting; the remaining 189 states are collectively examined under another agenda item.

Furthermore, Israel is the only country ever to have been branded a ''non-peace loving state'' by the U.N. General Assembly, which is driven by the Arab-Muslim bloc.

As a matter of fact, in more than 50 years, the United Nations voted in favor of Israel just two times: in November 1947 (partition of Palestine) and in May 1949 (admission of the Jewish state to the United Nations). It would be hard to find a single pro-Israel resolution since, with the notable exception of the 1991 resolution that revoked one from 1975 that compared Zionism to racism.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan is aware of this reality. A few years ago, after citing the appalling U.N. record on Israel, he said that "it has sometimes seemed as if the United Nations serves all the world's peoples but one: the Jews."

But of course, don't confuse Arab diplomats with these facts.

Other articles in this section

The U.N. discovers the cause of anti-Semitism: Jews By ANNE BAYEFSKY, Opinion Journal, November 18, 2004

Useful quotes made by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Elie Wiesel on the UN and antisemitism

The UN's Jewish Problem Ruth R. Wisse, Weekly Standard, March 31/02 (04/08/2002, Volume 007, Issue 29)

Israel faces rampant discrimination at the United Nations Julian Schvindlerman, the Miami Herald, November 1, 2002.

A Typical UN Press Release Forum Post by Wendy, Thu Aug 25, 2005

British diplomats push Annan for a 'no excuses' definition of terrorism By Charles Laurence, Sunday Telegraph, 24 July 2005

UN Record on Israel and Arab East Jerusalem Forum Posts by Oboler, Wendy, Aug 25, 2005

Some good news, Dan Gillerman appointment Forum Posts by Wendy Sept 2005 + JPosy article

ADL suggestions for reforming the UN Forum Posts by Wendy Sept 2005

Sharon and Peace at the UN Forum Posts by Wendy Sept 2005 and article New York Times, September 16, 2005 By JOEL BRINKLEY

The UN's Palestinian Problem Forum Posts by Wendy October 2005 and article

Australia for Israel at the UN Forum Posts by Miriam downunder and Wendy October 2005 and article from The Australian

Canada to reject anti-Israel UN resolutions Forum Posts by Wendy visiting Canada December 2005 and article

Bauer on UN antisemitism From lecture notes on antisemitism

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US Library of congress & CIA World Fact Book on Israel
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