How the UN delegitimizes the Jewish state 

There’s one country that’s decidedly more horrible than any other on the planet. No, it’s not what you think. Syria, Afghanistan and North Korea are viewed as quite ok. According to the United Nations, no country in the world is more dastardly than Israel. 

Last year the General Assembly of the United Nations passed 21 resolutions against Israel, by the end of this year the number will probably reach 20. Only six resolutions were directed against other nations. In regard to proportionality, the 193 member states of the United Nations in the Special Political and Decolonization Committee  have condemned various nations in a total of 27 resolutions, with Israel ›leading‹ the rest of the world at a mind-boggling rate of 21:6.

A standard work

This kind of disproportionality is the result of a decades old obsession within the UN with Israel, which Alex Feuerherdt and Florian Markl document with precision in their book »Vereinte Nationen gegen Israel« (United Nations against Israel). Despite the weighty subject, the book is not a dry treatise, but is written in an engaging and compelling style. The book contains anecdotes that are equally informative for readers familiar with the subject as well as to newcomers.

In the first eight chapters, the authors describe the history of Israel and its relationship to the world community. In retrospect, the historic UN Partition Plan for Palestine of 29 November 1947 was »both the climax and the beginning of the end of friendly relations between the United Nations and Israel«. 

The last balanced statements of the UN date back to the time shortly after the Six-Day War of 1967, when Security Council Resolution 242 laid the foundation for a peace process under the formula »land for peace«. From then on, the UN embarked on an increasingly anti-Israeli course. Not because Israel has changed, but because the United Nations has changed. In 1947 the UN had 57 members. In the course of decolonization, 85 new states emerged, which increased the number of member states dramatically. Many of the former colonies developed into autocratic and dictatorial regimes cooperating with the Soviet Union and the Arab world. By 1975, only about a quarter of UN member nations were free and democratic. An anti-Western majority had automatically established itself within UN institutions. 

From the early 1970s onwards, the United Nations became the most important stage for the struggle of supposedly progressive forces »against the West in general and the USA in particular«. Their favorite target – Israel. The use of the »oil weapon« after the Yom Kippur War in 1973 strengthened the new majority alliance – not only in terms of voting behavior within UN committees. When Israel was attacked by its enemies, no support came from the Europeans. On the contrary. American transport aircraft were neither allowed to be refuelled in Europe nor to cross European airspace. Great Britain and France imposed an arms embargo. The threat of an oil boycott by the Arab states against countries friendly to Israel was a complete success. 

Through terrorist acts Palestinian groups had already succeeded in catapulting their particular interests onto the world stage. The rise of the PLO was meteoric. Merely two years after Palestinian terrorists kidnapped and brutally murdered the Israeli team at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Arafat made his acclaimed speech to the UN General Assembly in New York. In line with the spirit of the times, the perception of the Arab-Israeli conflict was inverted. The Israeli David, who fought against a Goliath, i.e. the comparatively huge Arab world, was now a military Goliath, an occupying power that no longer faced the entire Arab world, but »the newly discovered ›Palestinians‹ who now slipped into the role of David«. With the help of the UN, the terrorist attacks of the PLO were reinterpreted as part of a liberation struggle and thus legitimized. 

The United Nations reached its lowest point »when the UN General Assembly in 1975 condemned solely Zionism, of all national liberation movements in the world, as a racist ideology«. Only after the collapse of the Soviet empire could that resolution be repealed in 1991. During those 16 years »the United Nations laid the foundation for a downright anti-Israeli infrastructure, which was also anchored in the heart of the organization, the UN Secretariat, and which since the late 1970s has produced a never-ending stream of anti-Israeli propaganda«. Just one example: from its founding year 2006 to 2015, the UN Human Rights Council condemned the state of Israel 62 times in resolutions, and all other countries 55 times. In the eyes of this institution, Israel commits more human rights violations than the rest of the world combined. That is a grotesque distortion of reality. 

In the book’s introduction, the authors anticipate the results of their research: the UN violates »in its treatment of the Jewish state and by promoting its declared enemies … the principles laid down in its Charter«, and does so »with full intent«. In the concluding four chapters, thematic focal points illustrate how the anti-Israeli course of the United Nations expresses itself. 

One learns how legal means are used as weapons against Israel. Lawfare, warfare by all legal means, aims directly at the right of existence of the Jewish state.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), ensures that the refugee status of the Arab Palestinians is inherited over generations. The UNRWA is closely intertwined with the terrorist organization Hamas and elevates anti-Semitism to an educational program. 

The book also shows how UN institutions and NGOs work together to delegitimize the Jewish state. From UNESCO to WHO to the Women’s Rights Commission (›Commission on the Status of Women‹), no opportunity is missed to slander and delegitimize Israel – with bizarre results: in 2015, the 59th annual meeting of the Women’s Rights Commission condemned exactly one state for violating women’s rights. You guessed it: Israel.

The authors’ bitter conclusion: with the help of the UN, massive efforts have been coordinated to demonize Israel, criminalize its self-defense and isolate the state politically. The United Nations is decisively involved in the dual strategy of lawfare and terror. »In the meantime, the UN has turned into the opposite of what it once stood for. … And even though it may sound drastic, it is by no means absurd to describe the United Nations with all its sub- and subsidiary organizations as the world’s largest anti-Zionist organization.«

With 282 pages, plus 701 footnotes and a 20-page bibliography, Feuerherdt und Markl have succeeded in creating a captivating standard work that belongs in every curriculum. If you are interested in the United Nations, ›the Middle East conflict‹ (as if there were only one) or simply in politics and contemporary history, this book is an informative must. Give it to your friends as a gift and lend it to your colleagues, bring it to schools and educational institutions. As a dedication we recommend this note: Attention, this book can change your view of the United Nations!

Translation by William Wires

Alex Feuerherdt/Florian Markl:
Vereinte Nationen gegen Israel

Hentrich & Hentrich, Berlin, 2018
ISBN: 978-3-95565-249-4
24,90 Euro

Alex Feuerherdt is a freelance journalist whose articles about Israel and the Middle East, anti-Semitism and soccer are regularly published in the Jüdische Allgemeinentv.deJungle World  and Konkret, as well as in other media outlets. He also manages the well-known blog, Lizas Welt.

The political scientist Florian Markl is scientific director of the independent Middle East think tank Mena-Watch. He was previously archivist and historian at the General Settlement Fund for Victims of National Socialism and lecturer at the University of Vienna.

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Über den Autor / die Autorin

Thomas M. Eppinger

Thomas Eppinger ist davon überzeugt, dass alle Menschen mit unveräußerlichen Rechten geboren sind, zu denen das Recht auf Leben, Freiheit und das Streben nach Glück gehören. Daraus ergab sich alles andere, auch diese Website.
Der Publizist ist 1961 in Vöcklabruck geboren, lebt heute in Graz und arbeitet in Wien als Lead Editor bei »Der Pragmaticus«. Davor leitete er den unabhängigen Nahost-Thinktank Mena-Watch.