Thomas Friedman once wrote, “Criticizing Israel is not anti-Semitic, and saying so is vile. But singling out Israel for opprobrium and international sanction — out of all proportion to any other party in the Middle East — is anti-Semitic, and not saying so is dishonest.”
Earlier this month, outgoing UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said that the UN has a “disproportionate volume of resolutions, reports and conferences criticizing Israel.”
It’s important to understand that this vote is not an isolated incident. During Ban Ki-Moon’s tenure, there have been over 200 resolutions condemning Israel and only 8, say, condemning Syria.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said, even as she was voting to abstain from Security Council Resolution 2334, she didn’t want anyone on the Security Council to forget the fact that the hostility and hypocrisy against Israel makes it difficult for anyone to take the United Nations seriously:
Member States should also ask themselves about the double standards when it comes to this Council taking action. Just this morning we came together, as a Council, and we were unable to muster the will to act to stop the flow of weapons going to killers in South Sudan, who are perpetrating mass atrocities that the UN has said could lead to genocide. We couldn’t come together just to stem the flow of arms. Earlier this month, this Council could not muster the will to adopt the simplest of resolutions calling for a seven-day pause in the savage bombardment of innocent civilians, hospitals, and schools in Aleppo. Yet when a resolution on Israel comes before this Council, members suddenly summon the will to act.
Samantha Power is correct that the Israelis would listen to the United Nations more if it was seen as an honest broker trying to bring peace to the region. I hope that one day there will be peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. It will happen when the parties sit down and negotiate.
One-sided UN resolutions that focus on Israel only encourage the Palestinians to remain intractable. The good news is that this resolution is not legally binding. In fact, most of the resolutions at the UN are not binding by international law.
All of the resolutions from the UN General Assembly are non-binding proposals, which are only worth looking at to determine the current mood of the member states.
The Security Council resolutions are based on either Chapter VI or Chapter VII of the UN Charter. The first kind of Security Council resolution is based on Chapter VI of the UN Charter, which is entitled: “Peaceful Settlement of Disputes.”
All of the resolutions, pertaining to Israel, including the one passed this past week, are Chapter VI resolutions. Chapter VI resolutions are not legally binding.
After Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, all of the resolutions in regards to Iraq were based on Chapter VII of the UN Charter. This chapter is appropriately entitled: “Action with Respect to Threats to the Peace, Breaches of the Peace, and Acts of Aggression.” Unlike Chapter VI resolutions, those under Chapter VII are legally binding. At least none of these has yet been directed at Israel.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration’s parting shot at Israel shows just how much President Obama detests Prime Minister Netanyahu. I have no doubt the Trump administration will be have a much better relationship with Israel.
As Donald Trump said in his AIPAC speech earlier this year, “The United Nations is not a friend of democracy. It’s not a friend to freedom. It’s not a friend even to the United States of America.… And it surely isn’t a friend to Israel.” In the same speech, Trump said:
When you live in a society where athletes and movie stars are heroes, little kids want to be athletes and movie stars. In Palestinian society, the heroes are those who murder Jews — we can’t let this continue. You cannot achieve peace if terrorists are treated as martyrs. Glorifying terrorists is a tremendous barrier to peace.… There is no moral equivalency. Israel does not name public squares after terrorists. Israel does not pay its children to stab random Palestinians.
President-elect Trump also pointed out in this speech that Obama’s approach to Israel was wrong:
President Obama thinks that applying pressure to Israel will force the issue, but it’s precisely the opposite. Already, half the population of Palestine has been taken over by the Palestinian ISIS in Hamas, and the other half refuses to confront the first half, so it’s a very difficult situation, but when the United States stands with Israel, the chances of peace actually rise.
I am disappointed with this vote, but it is not legally binding. I am also glad that we will soon have a new president who is a real friend of Israel.