Politics & Policy

Forsaking Israel

The 2007 U.N Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People follows past precedent.

Hatemongers at the United Nations outdid themselves again at the annual U.N. Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, held every year on November 29. This year was the 60th anniversary of the U.N. General Assembly resolution which partitioned Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state — a resolution rejected across the Arab world. At U.N. Headquarters the day was marked by speeches from all U.N. leaders in a room adorned with just two flags, the U.N. flag and a Palestinian flag. The flag of the U.N. member state of Israel was nowhere to be seen.

In 2005, with Kofi Annan at the helm, the same event sported a U.N. Middle East map without the state of Israel and included a moment of silence honoring the self-sacrifice of suicide bombers. In 2006 — after the scandal was widely publicized — the map did not appear and the moment of silence was cancelled. Instead, the U.N. Trusteeship Council room was adorned with a series of panels rewriting the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict from the Arab point of view, describing 7 or 8 million Palestinians claiming a right of return — enough to destroy the Jewishness of the state of Israel, and lauding the success of the violent Palestinian uprising or intifada.

In 2007 — after the 2006 debacle was also publicized — the panels did not appear. This year, instead, the occasion was marked by what a Secretariat official casually described as “just keeping it clean” — flying only the flags of “Palestine” and the U.N.

Lest the simple message of the organizers who refused to fly the Israeli flag be missed, statements of some meeting participants were more explicit. They glorified violence, complained of the evils of “Judaization,” pressed the message of a racist “apartheid” Jewish state, and called for Israel’s economic strangulation (boycotts, divestment, and so on.) Paul Badji is Chairman of the Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP) which sponsors the annual event, and which was created on the same day as the U.N.’s infamous “Zionism is racism” resolution to implement that message. Badji gushed: “It was 20 years ago that the Palestinians as a people stood up to the occupation, and the world learned a new word — intifada.”

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas delivered a statement through Yasser Abed Rabbo, secretary-general of the Executive Committee of the PLO. This alleged peace partner accused Israel of “the construction of the apartheid Wall” at the same time as he objected to “judaization measures.” Lost on the PLO representative was the contradiction between alleging Israel practices apartheid on the one hand, and objecting to Jews living in “Arab territory” on the other. (He took no notice of the fact that one-fifth of the population of Israel is Arab with more democratic rights than in any Arab state, while Arab states were rendered Judenrein after the creation of Israel.) The logo of the letterhead of the Palestinian U.N. Mission, upon which his statement was officially circulated, has a map claiming all of Israel as “Palestine.”

The representative of “civil society” invited by the U.N. Committee to address the audience was Rev. Chris Ferguson of the World Council of Churches. He could only bring himself to refer to terrorism in quotation marks — “‘terrorizing’ Qassam rocket attacks.” He was given a U.N. platform — webcast around the world — to call upon the international community to “strengthen the global campaign for boycotts, divestment and sanctions…against Israeli…apartheid and oppression,” and to laud the latest NGO “campaign identifying and opposing Israeli policies as violations of the International Covenant Against the Crime of Apartheid.”

During the afternoon of November 29, the General Assembly dedicated yet another session to condemning Israel. PLO representative Abed Rabbo — fresh from the PLO’s Annapolis declaration of peaceful intentions — demanded “the right of more than 4 million Palestine refugees to return to their homes and properties” (thus destroying a Jewish state). He also made a point of analogizing Israeli actions to those of Hitler and apartheid South Africa, making wild accusations about Palestinian “ghettos” and “Bantustans.”

Following the General Assembly meeting, Abed Rabbo, and Paul Badji opened a public exhibit in the entrance hall to U.N. headquarters. The exhibit is billed as celebrating “traditional Palestinian costumes and embroidery” and consists of a series of costumes previously exhibited in various parts of the United States — with one exception. Set in the middle, evidently more attuned to a Palestinian cultural exhibit presented “under the auspices of the U.N. Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, in cooperation with the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations” is a depiction of Israel’s security barrier adorned with flowers. The barrier, which has dramatically reduced Palestinian suicide bombings and terrorist attacks since it was erected, is accompanied by this description — “The Return of the Soul” Ceramic painting by Najat El-Khairy, 2007. “Spring flowers adorn the ‘Wall’ with motifs taken from the traditional embroidered Palestinian costumes; the flowers climb and hide its ugliness.”

Evidently the ugliness of Jewish men, women and children blown apart by suicide bombers was of less significance then the aesthetics of a barrier keeping would-be-killers out.

Though November 29, 1947, was a day celebrated by Holocaust survivors, the following 60 years has seen the occasion bemoaned by the many who wish the Jewish people had never succeeded in creating a haven in the land of their ancestors. Kofi Annan labeled the U.N. Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People “a day of mourning and a day of grief.” Sixty years later, the vast majority of U.N. members and the organization they own and operate, are still trying to turn back the clock.

Anne Bayefsky is senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute. She also serves as the director of the, Touro Institute for Human Rights and the Holocaust and as the editor of EYEontheUN.org.

Anne Bayefsky — Professor A.F. Bayefsky, B.A., M.A., LL.B., M.Litt. (Oxon.), is a Professor at York University, Toronto, Canada, and a Barrister and Solicitor, Ontario Bar. She is also an Adjunct Professor at ...


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