The United Nations – From ally to anti-Semitic platform

Many are surprised to learn that institutions at the forefront of international law once served as allies of the Jewish people. Decades ago, the tragedy of the Holocaust prompted the international legal community to remedy its failure to protect Jews and human rights in general.

Just three years after the Holocaust, the international legal community has taken unprecedented steps. He founded the United Nations, a key player in international law. He tried Nazis at the Nuremberg trials, who judge crimes against humanity for the first time. He also issued the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, seeking to to prevent future holocausts.

While these initiatives all involved the international community as a whole, the UN also made a specific commitment to Jewish security. Thus, in 1947, he vote in favor of the recognition of a Jewish state and of a refuge in Israel.

Although the international legal community has proven to be one of the first allies of the Jewish people, times have changed. Instead of defending Jewish welfare, the UN is now attacking its safety net by demonizing Israel, the target of more than 70 percent of all General Assembly resolutions condemning a particular state since 2015. This is the definition of a double standard.

By aiming to delegitimize the Jewish state, after initially supporting its international recognition, the UN has fueled a big misconception that Israel is a rogue state that does not respect international law. This wrongly inspired many people to hate the Jewish state, and inevitably, the Jewish people.

Forty-seven countries, led by Austria, have just made a commitment to fight anti-Semitism at the UN Human Rights Council. Although refreshing, it is sad that this initiative has taken so long and failed to inspire more support for an institution that is supposed to be dedicated to human rights. How could the UN undergo such a transformation from an ally into a catalyst for anti-Semitism? The answer lies in the emergence of new, undemocratic UN member states.

Institutions are as good as their members. When the UN was founded, its membership was largely democratic. Of his 51 founding members, at least 28 are democracies, through the Economistthe latest democracy clue from.

At the time, the UN was committed to human rights for all people, including Jews. These sympathies were probably a consequence of the democratic nature of the UN. After all, “democracy is quota on respect for rights and freedoms ”, as declared by the UN in 2012.

Over time, however, the UN has evolved into a democratic forum for dictatorships. Largely due to the decolonization and dissolution of the USSR, the membership of the UN exploded after 1959, from 83 states to 193 today, with Asia and Africa gaining considerably more representation. African states have gone from four seats in the original UN Assembly to 54 today, more than a quarter of the total number of seats. During the same period, the membership of Asian states increased from nine to 47 members.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet delivers remarks at the opening of a special session of the United Nations Human Rights Council on Afghanistan in Geneva on August 24, 2021 The Taliban have seized power, saying their treatment of women would mark a “fundamental red line.” The UN Human Rights Council discussed the text in a special session called for just days after the Taliban took effective control of Afghanistan on August 15.
Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP / Getty Images

These developments were good and necessary. However, many emerging states were and continue to be ruled by undemocratic regimes. For example, out of 50 interrogates African countries, 42 are non-democracies. Over 45 Asian countries interrogates, 32 are non-democracies. After the explosion of the USSR in 15 newly independent republics, 12 became non-democracies.

As non-democracies gained representation in the UN, democracy suffered 167 interrogates countries, only 75 are now democracies. With such high representation, non-democracies have managed to hijack the most sacrosanct organs of the United Nations, including the Human Rights Council (HRC).

Founded in 2006, the HRC has largely set the global human rights agenda. And yet, among the council’s available annual lists, non-democracies won the majority in Seven of its 15 years.

The non-democratic members of the CHR have sought to deflect attention from their own abuses. Many have even become regular members of the HRC, a necessity to maintain their influence.

These recurring players include the biggest perpetrators of human rights abuses, including China, which features in 14 of the 15 annual lists despite its genocide of Uyghurs; Cuba, which has appeared 14 times despite a long record to suppress dissent; and Qatar, which has appeared 12 times despite its commitment to modernity slavery.

Without surprise, nothing of these countries have been condemned by the CHR. This probably reflects how non-democracies would have used “Block voting and excessive procedural manipulation to prevent debate on their human rights violations,” according to a Congressional Research Service publication.

Instead, non-democracies have focused the UN condemnations on another country. Following the global toll of blaming the Jews, they chose Israel. The HRC dotted Israel with 56 percent of all his condemnations, and Agenda item 7– focused on Israel – is the only standing item on the Council’s agenda devoted to scrutinizing the affairs of a single country.

In addition, non-democracies have made Israel the scapegoat in the General Assembly. In 2019, Yemen and Kuwait sponsored anti-Israel resolutions 14 times, while Cuba and Jordan were featured 13 times. Alone once were the sponsors of an anti-Israel condemnation in the largely democratic General Assembly. This disparity shows how nondemocracies shamelessly scapegoat Israel, while democracies generally do not.

In short, the Jewish people once enjoyed the protection of the international legal community. This alliance, fueled by post-Holocaust remorse, was short-lived. It declined as non-democracies, needing a scapegoat to escape accountability, came to dominate the UN. They blamed Israel – the Jew among the nations. And just like that, the international legal community forgot the lessons of anti-Semitism that fueled its greatest achievements.

Jordan Cope is the Director of Political Education for StandWithUs.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.

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