A historic vote at the United Nations General Assembly condemning Hamas for terrorism failed to pass. Some were confident that it would be approved, or viewed the majority of votes for the US motion as positive news. It should not be surprising that the vote failed. The United Nations has long been a morally-bankrupt institution that does nothing. In 2016, Donald Trump bemoaned that fact that the UN seems to have lost its significance in favor of being a place where the elite gathers to talk.
On Syria, Darfur, Kurdistan, Iran, China, Ukraine, and Rwanda, the UN has offered meager condemnations that amount to little more than an embarrassing slap on the wrist. More frequently, the UN ignores crimes against humanity altogether. It chooses to focus obsessively on Israel’s presence in the West Bank/Judea & Samaria and wars in the Gaza Strip. A few motions condemning Israel for certain abuses are expected and justified—every country, after all, violates rights at some point in their history. That being said, the UNGA has condemned Israel 700 times while never reciprocating for Hamas. This is a good example of the corruption of the UN.
Danon and Haley’s Noble Offensive Campaign
Israeli UN Ambassador Danny Danon and American UN Ambassador Nikki Haley have waged an admirable offensive campaign at the UN in the past two years. While Israel was defended by past US Administrations in the world body, Haley and Danon went on the offensive. They drafted measures against Palestinian, Hezbollah, and Iranian terrorism and human rights violations.
In theory, this is the correct step to take. In fact, it should have been done years ago, in the Bush 43 and Obama Administrations. Yet facts on the ground have changed. Many countries have voted against the measure because they have been infested by Turkish and Iranian influence in recent years—something egged on by the haplessness of former US President Barack Obama and the European Union. Others vote against the measure simply because they despise US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Israel is responsible for decreasing the automatic pro-Palestinian majority at the UN (and international organizations in general) as well as engaging more fruitfully on the diplomatic scene. But the Jewish state needs to face the reality: many of these organizations are far too gone to be saved. The United Nations is no exception. The UN has been responsible for thousands of cases of child abuse around the world. It is behind the cholera epidemic in Haiti, and enormous economic fraud. Nobody has held the organization to account for its own crimes against humanity and violations of international law. It is, in its own eyes, above the law–because it sees itself as crafting the law.
Lessons from Today? “Power is Power”
Israel has been going to the UN in diplomatic efforts to bring quiet in Gaza. It is doing the same take action against Hezbollah in Lebanon. The Jewish state has gone to the UN, in conjunction with the US, over Iranian threats in the region. Jerusalem did this to prove it exhausted diplomatic peaceful efforts before engaging in an almost-certainly inevitable war with the “Axis of Resistance.” This is a wise step, yet it’s unlikely to change the instinctive anti-Israel bias in the UN.
I mentioned earlier, the UN doesn’t do or achieve anything. As annoying as the double standard against Israel or other democratic countries gets; as disgusting as it is to see countries like Saudi Arabia have a role in the Human Rights Council; as unjust as it is to witness the UN distort history, the organization has become obsolete. Originally its role was to prevent a Third World War and promote democracy. Still, the Soviet Union collapsed and democracy spread, so the UN has seemingly met its original purpose. Ever since, it has admitted various corrupt dictatorships that have corroded its efficiency, image, and values. As it is, no countries or combatants engaged in alleged human rights violations—including Israel—change their policy based on the organization’s condemnations.
A new leverage
The best way to respond to the double standards, biases, bigotry, and inefficiency of the UN is not to adopt a more aggressive stance in it. Rather, it is simply to ignore it altogether and speed up its irrelevance. Netanyahu recently allegedly told close advisors that power is the most important thing in foreign policy.
This is true—realpolitik and interests always trump morality. Israel is increasing its leverage & power throughout the world. As such, the Arab countries’ only real support for the “Palestine cause” is through votes in New York City. If Netanyahu admires Winston Churchill so much, he should simply take a page out of his book—“keep calm and carry on.”