UN-acceptable.

During this year’s Australian Federal Election campaign, three candidates who were running for parliamentary office in my own electorate of Melbourne Ports were scheduled to debate at a forum co-hosted by the Australian Jewish News and Zionism Victoria.

The Greens candidate, Steph Hodgins-May withdrew from the debate claiming among her reasons for doing so, that it was because of Zionism Victoria’s political views such as “labelling the UN as a nuisance and a sham”.

Hodgins-May said at the time that

“as someone who worked at the United Nations, I no longer wanted to participate under those circumstances”.

Apparently, her involvement in a political debate was too political for this would-be politician.

That was back in June, so why am I raising this issue so long after the election took place?

At the time, very few people would have realised it but Zionism Victoria had no such policy or stance on the UN. Rather, this was a viewpoint that I had expressed two years earlier in an article republished on Zionism Victoria’s website slamming the UN as a nuisance and a sham.

Actually, I called it an “embarrassing sham”, and if Ms Hodgins-May had bothered to read the entire article, she would have understood that I was expressing an opinion about the UN’s one-sided stance against a member state that was defending its people during Operation Protective Edge against a constant barrage of rocket attacks from Palestinian terrorists – conduct that in most parts of the world would be described as “war crimes” but not when the intended victims are Israeli or Jewish civilians.

And if the Greens candidate disagreed with that view then she had the perfect opportunity to take part in a free and open debate and to possibly persuade us to change our minds. Certainly, her party placed no constraints on the candidate from an adjoining electorate to take part in meetings organised by Palestinian supporters adopting an openly anti-Israel stance.

As it turns out, I write this in December 2016 and can say that not only do I still stand by every single word I wrote in August 2014, but I am convinced more than ever that the UN remains an embarrassing sham and a nuisance to both Israelis and Palestinians and a hindrance to the cause of peace in the region.

There are several reasons as to why this is so.

A little over a week ago, a number of anti-Israel resolutions were voted on at the UN. One of them was about the Golan Heights, calling for Israel’s withdrawal from the area.

Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a Geneva-based non-governmental watchdog organisation said,

“On a day when forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad are attacking Syrian civilians in Aleppo, causing thousands to flee, it is obscene for the UN to adopt a resolution mentioning Syrian territory invoking the Geneva Convention and the ‘protection of civilians’ – yet only to condemn Israel”.

To drive his point home, he continued,

“at a time when the Syrian regime is killing its own people by the hundreds of thousands, how can the UN call for more human beings to be placed under Assad’s rule?”

Shamefully, Australia abstained from this vote.

On the same day, a resolution about the “peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine” and another on Jerusalem were both passed. And much like the despicable UNESCO resolutions, which deny the historical Jewish connection to the Temple Mount and other holy sites, this resolution only mentions the sites by their Islamic names.

And to rub salt into the wound, the President of the United Nations General Assembly, Peter Thomson of Fiji, chose to mark Palestinian Solidarity Day” just the day before these votes, and wore a Palestinian flag around his neck.

Let’s note that the date for this farce was 29 November.

So that we all understand correctly, the United Nations marks Palestinian Solidarity Day on the anniversary of the passing of the UN Partition Plan in 1947. This was United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 which called for a Jewish State and an Arab State in British-Mandate Palestine. The Jews of Palestine accepted that UN vote but the Arabs rejected it outright with the consequence that a number of Arab states embarked on a war to massacre the Jewish population.

Had the resolution been accepted, the situation of the Palestinian Arabs would be very different today. But by having a Palestinian Solidarity Day on that date, and celebrating it with anti-Israel resolutions, the United Nations is giving legitimacy to the way in which the Palestinians and their leadership have conducted themselves for the past 69 years – with threats, intimidation and violence.

The solidarity with the Palestinians at the UN seems to be all about their failure to accept any sort of partition on the land, and about the failure of the Arab world to destroy the fledgling Jewish state and massacre its people nearly seven decades ago.

For a world body supposedly meant to bring about international peace and harmony, this is not only absurd but, as Hillel Neuer said, it is completely and utterly obscene.

 Emily Gian is the Director of Media and Advocacy at the Zionist Federation of Australia.

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