The United Nations and impartiality (or lack of)
An Open Letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
To His Excellency Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:
I must confess my surprise at your recent statement that, "No, I don't think there is discrimination against Israel at the UN."
Respectfully, Mr. Secretary-General, there is discrimination against Israel at the UN, and it is not new, either.
* Israel is the only UN member state that has been targeted for annihilation by another UN member state, Iran, which has suffered no sanction from a world body devoted to the pursuit of global peace and security.
* Israel is the only country not included as a permanent member of one of the five all-important regional groups, which determine membership on key UN bodies. It has temporary status with WEOG (the West European and Others Group) in New York and no status in Geneva, while it is excluded from its natural home, the Asian group.
* Israel is the only UN member state with a permanent agenda item devoted to it at the UN Human Rights Council.
* Israel is the target of more than half the resolutions of the UN Human Rights Council, while many serial human-rights abusers get away, quite literally, with murder.
* Israel is the only country subject to a battery of UN General Assembly resolutions annually, irrespective of the facts on the ground.
* The Palestinians are the only "refugee population" in the world not covered by the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). Rather, they have their own agency - UNRWA.
* Speaking of UNRWA, the definition of a Palestinian refugee is totally different from that of all others. Palestinian refugees and all their descendants without limit are included in the UNRWA definition.
* Further to UNRWA, unlike UNHCR, its mandate is not to resettle the refugees, but rather to keep them in limbo, unsettled, and, yes, angry. As early as 1951, though, when John Blanford, UNRWA's director at the time, proposed resettling up to 250,000 refugees in Arab countries, those countries refused, leading to his resignation. The message got through. No UN official since then has pushed for resettlement.
* And how about the standing divisions in the UN - the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People, and the Division for Palestinian Rights in the UN's Department of Political Affairs - and the special rapporteurs in Geneva, all devoted permanently to supporting the Palestinian cause and demonizing Israel? Is there anything remotely comparable in the UN for any other country in the world?
The list, I'm sorry to say, goes on.
In fact, you yourself have acknowledged, publicly and privately in the past, that there is discrimination against Israel at the UN. And it is in violation of the noble UN Charter, which assures the equal rights of all member states, big and small.
Mr. Secretary-General, as an organization whose link to the UN began at the founding conference in San Francisco in 1945, we count on your voice, and your moral authority, to be heard in condemning the systemic singling out and unfair treatment of Israel, a UN member state in good standing since 1949.
AJC Executive Director