Few in the Jewish community are surprised by the blatant and ugly anti-Israel bias at the United Nations. As UN Watch, the NGO founded by the Jewish-American public servant Morris B. Abram, puts it, “An alien observing the United Nations’ debates, reading its resolutions, and walking its halls could well conclude that a principal purpose of the world body is to censure a tiny country called Israel.”
Thus it is heartening to hear world leaders acknowledging what Israel and its supporters have known all along. For that reason, remarks last week by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power need to be read, heeded, and widely distributed. Speaking in Israel to Israeli and Palestinian Model UN students, Power defended the United Nations as an institution, but bluntly outlined the ways “Israel is just not treated like other countries.”
“As you all know, the UN Charter guarantees ‘the equal rights of nations large and small,’ and yet we have seen member states seek to use the UN Security Council, the General Assembly, and even the most arcane UN committees in ways that cross the line from legitimate criticisms of Israel’s policies to attempts to delegitimize the State of Israel itself,” Power told the students.
As an example, she noted how ZAKA, an Israeli humanitarian relief group, was denied accreditation by the UN’s NGO committee for years, despite its ecumenical assistance efforts after the 2010 Haiti earthquake and the 9/11 attacks. And she noted the array of annual resolutions condemning Israel, while atrocities in Syria and North Korea are sidelined or go unmentioned.
In response to a student, Power noted that, because of this persistent piling on, the United States is committed to defending Israel against bias at the UN. “We will always defend Israel from those kinds of attacks and we will always stand up again for its security,” she declared.
In other words, wrote Yair Rosenberg in Tablet in reporting on Power’s remarks, “Being an honest broker means keeping the U.N. honest.”