The United Nations’ bias against Israel has meant that the international organization “has lost credibility, lost common sense, and more than anything lost its most important asset – its integrity,” former Israeli finance minister Yair Lapid said in a speech Monday night.
Lapid, the leader of the centrist Yesh Atid party, the Knesset’s fourth-largest faction, noted that the United Nations Human Rights Council has issued 67 condemnations of Israel in the last decade, compared to 61 for the rest of the world combined. These condemnations are based on unfounded allegations by Palestinians, including “allies or members of the various terror organizations that are sworn to destroy Israel.”
When Lapid and a group of victims of terror went to Geneva in March to speak to the council, he recounted, they were met with “a cold reception. While they bore witness to the loss of their loved ones, the delegates ate, intentionally spoke loudly, and walked in and out.”
No one said a word about Israel defending women’s rights and gay rights. No one said a word about Israel’s Arab citizens, sitting in its parliament and on its Supreme Court. In short, no one said a word about Israel being a thriving democracy embodying as its way of life everything the UN exists to promote.
Israel’s enemies, on the other hand, hang gay people from telephone poles, believe women are the property of their husbands and obviously don’t believe in institutions like the United Nations.
A few months later, the annual meeting of the World Health Organization (WHO), which normally addresses issues like disease prevention and vaccination, also included a single condemnation of a specific country, chastising Israel for its “occupation of the Golan Heights.” Aside from the having nothing to do with health, as Lapid pointed out, the WHO was silent about the hundreds of thousands dying in Syria in that country’s civil war just across Golan border. Even worse, Lapid argued, it ignored the fact that Israeli medical centers in the Golan were being used to treat victims of the war.
Lapid also focused on the UN General Assembly’s New York building, which features a permanent exhibition about Palestinian refugees that ignores historical context of the 1948 war that led to the refugee problem: the Palestinian rejection of a partitioned state and the Arab declaration of war against the new state of Israel. Lapid pointed out that the UN’s policies towards Palestinian refugees were “bizarre”:
Since 1948 not a single Palestinian has been expelled from Israel. In 1950 UNRWA – the United Nations organization in charge of helping the Palestinian refugees, was founded. At that time, it listed seven hundred and fifty thousand Palestinians. That number is most likely inflated but let’s use it for the sake of discussion. The absurdity comes next: As of 2014, UNRWA lists no less than five million Palestinian refugees.
In other words, without the expulsion of a single Palestinian, the UN has listed four million new Palestinian refugees. How did that happen?
The answer is that the Palestinians are the only nation in the world—the only one!—where the status of refugee can be passed down the generations.
This does not apply to Jewish refugees; Lapid cited the fact that his family was expelled from Serbia by the Nazis, but he is not considered a refugee.
At the same time that Palestinians became refugees, over a million Jews were expelled from Arab lands, but because they were absorbed by Israel, they receive no compensation or any other special consideration. UNRWA is solely devoted to solving the Palestinian refugee population, but instead perpetuates it. UNRWA, Lapid said, has created a “new and cynical industry: they manufacture refugees.”
Lapid called on the world’s democracies to take a stand. He noted that the United States, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Japan, and Italy together contribute 65 percent of the UN’s funds. “All that is needed is for those countries to raise their voice and say—loud and clear—they are unwilling to allow this to continue,” Lapid said. “The wild and fabricated attacks on Israel need to stop. … Attacks on a democratic country committed to human rights in the service of murderous terror organizations is not in the UN mandate. There is no reason the United States and other democracies should agree to fund it.”
William Kolbrener profiled Yair Lapid and his complex relationship with his late father Tommy in the April 2013 issue of The Tower Magazine.
[Photo: Hadas Parush / Flash90 ]