"The United Nations has become the leading global purveyor of anti-Semitism, intolerance, and inequality against the Jewish people and its state."
|U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan greeting Arafat at U.N.|
Those words were uttered by tenacious law professor Anne Bayefsky last week at, of all places, the United Nations. No, it wasn't outside the New York building as traffic whizzed by, but rather inside one of the auditoriums that more often plays host to anti-Semitic rants from U.N. member nations.
Six decades after its founding, the United Nations apparently decided that anti-Semitism was an issue worth addressing. The irony, though, was not lost on those painfully aware of the United Nations' disturbing legacy.
In spite of the organization's history or perhaps because of it the auditorium, including its balcony level, was overflowing. And almost the entire standing room-only crowd rose to its feet to applaud Bayefsky.
Though she did not talk much longer than most of the other panelists who followed her throughout the day, Bayefsky certainly had more to say.
Receiving the most blistering criticism was the U.N.'s Commission on Human Rights, which has devoted fully one-fourth of its resolutions in the last 40 years to the Middle East's sole democracy.
But while all speakers who followed her were careful to be polite to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan on his home turf, Bayefsky felt no such compunction. Early in her speech, she said, "In November 2003, Secretary-General Kofi Annan issued a report on Israel's security fence, detailing the purported harm to Palestinians without describing one terrorist act against Israelis which preceded the fence's construction."
Bayefsky further attacked Annan for hypocrisy in condemning Israel for killing Hamas terrorist leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi, while saying nothing about "the murder of more than 3,000 Brazilian civilians shot at close range by police."
Although Bayefsky was only one of four participants on the first of three panels, her words clearly struck the biggest nerve.
Subsequent speakers competently addressed the issue of anti-Semitism, but what seemed consistent throughout was genuine gratitude that the United Nations would even convene such a conference. And none pointed out that the event was going to serve as a protective shield for Annan and the United Nations.
Panelist Mark Weitzman of the Simon Wiesenthal Center seemed sincere in expressing hope that the conference marked the dawn of a new era in the United Nations.
Such optimism, however, is hopelessly misplaced. The United Nations hosting a conference on anti-Semitism is like the Ku Klux Klan holding one on racism: It can produce some interesting discussion, but at the end of the day, a profoundly bigoted organization is not likely to change its core nature.
Some no doubt would dispute the contention that anti-Semitism is inherent to the United Nations. But common sense dictates that it is. The goal of the United Nations is to maximize harmony and to minimize uncomfortable differences.
Israel is unpopular. For a variety of reasons, some which have nothing to do with anti-Semitism, there is a permanent majority voting bloc for anti-Israel resolutions.
The driving force, of course, is the wildly undemocratic and highly despotic leadership of the Arab world. Most of its hatred of the Jewish state has nothing to do with Israel's treatment of Palestinians - 900,000 Jews were forced out of Arab lands long before the Palestinians became a cause celebre and almost everything to do with its Jewishness.
Since all nations, even those headed by the evil likes of Fidel Castro and Kim Jong-Il, have equal moral standing before the United Nations, every human rights violator enthusiastically supports Arab-drafted anti-Israel resolutions as convenient deflections from their own records.
And because Israel is unapologetic about defending itself through dramatic displays of strength, the European left which is to say the governments of most EU nations will cheerfully collaborate. Not to mention the less philosophical motives of substantial business interests in the Arab world and growing Muslim populations in many EU countries.
Ridiculously singling out the sole free society in the Middle East and the world's lone Jewish state while ignoring most of the world's atrocities is plainly anti-Semitic. And the impact is more profoundly anti-Semitic; it undermines the Jewish state's self-defense efforts and consequently, its viability.
Thus there is no getting around the inherent anti-Semitism of the United Nations no matter how many conferences it convenes.