In my capacity as a minister in various Israeli cabinets, I dealt extensively with the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. I have come to know firsthand the bias and decades-long anti-Israel sentiment in the United Nations.
But despite this, I decided to begin my U.N. ambassadorship with a clear determination to fight for Israel’s reputation, to get rid of the hatred toward Israel there and to make sure that an automatic majority against it is no longer a preordained fate. I believe that now, with Arab countries embracing peace with Israel as a boon and Iranian brutality being exposed on a daily basis, there is a fighting chance at achieving this goal.
As soon as I arrived in New York, I began working alongside our friends in the Trump administration to restore the U.N. sanctions on Iran that had been lifted following the 2015 nuclear deal. Tehran’s windfall due to the sanctions relief has armed its terrorist tentacles in Iran, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Gaza and of course in Lebanon.
One would think that the United Nations, as an institution that has championed peace and security, would join the struggle against the largest terrorist regime in the world, which has continued to openly call for the annihilation of Israel. Unfortunately, the Security Council has chosen excuses over actions.
The United Nations and its institutions remained silent when three countries announced new peace deals (Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain).
While Iran executes protesters, including wrestler Navid Afkari, a majority of Security Council members have shamefully refused to join the U.S.-led effort against Tehran, effectively choosing to reward such murderous action. There is no better proof for the disconnect between the theoretical ideas expressed by the U.N. Charter and their failed implementation in reality.
U.N. members must “practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbors,” the charter stipulates. But despite this, the United Nations and its institutions remained silent when three countries announced new peace deals (Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain).
In his address at the start of the General Debate last week, U.N. Secretary General António Guterres chose to speak about Afghanistan and other matters while completely ignoring the normalization deals that have changed the Middle East, while also focusing on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Thus, the United Nations has become once again a body of slogans that are detached from reality, as part of the years-long anti-Israel show there.
When it funds agencies like UNRWA that only perpetuate the culture of lies and avoids dealing with the pressing matters critical to world peace, the United Nations risks losing the last vestiges of legitimacy and relevancy. If the United Nations fails to confront the worst regimes and continues to obsessively preoccupy itself with the Palestinian issue, in 75 years it will no longer be able to celebrate its anniversary, because it will have lost its right to exist.
The prestigious and bloated organization that was created in the wake of the Holocaust and World War II must rethink its route. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the General Assembly on Tuesday and showcased Israel’s many accomplishments and importance on the global stage, and it is high time for the United Nations to underscore Israel’s global role as well.
I will fight for this with every fiber of my being and I believe that if the United Nations wants to be relevant, it must show impartiality and fairness toward Israel.
Gilad Erdan, former Knesset Minister, is Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations.