Winds of change blowing at the UN?

161 countries now have diplomatic relations with Israel, which is the highest number that it has ever been for the Jewish state.  Increasingly, the community of nations cares less about Palestinian objections and more about what Israel has to offer.

Rachel Avraham

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Last week, the Palestinian Authority sought to pass a UN Security Council Resolution condemning Trump’s “Deal of the Century.”  In the end, they failed because the UN Security Council resolution did not garner enough international support.  For this reason, they were forced to be content with the UN High Commissioner for Human rights publishing a blacklist of businesses that do business in Israeli settlements and nothing else. 

While the PA hailed the UN Human Rights Council resolution as a “victory for international law,” in reality, the PA did not get the huge victory that they dreamed of for such a blacklist does not carry the same legal weight as a UN Security Council Resolution.  For the State of Israel, which naturally condemned the list, this is actually a major diplomatic achievement, which one could not dream of happening at an earlier date, when the only thing preventing such anti-Israel UN Security Council resolutions from passing was the American veto.

There clearly has been a systematic change in how the nations of the world view the State of Israel.  After the Sudanese leader accepted the idea of establishing diplomatic relations with the Jewish state and Chad’s President announced his nation’s renewed relationship with Israel, more and more countries are seeking to follow suite.    

Now, 161 different countries have diplomatic relations with Israel, which is the highest number that it has ever been for the Jewish state.  Increasingly, the community of nations cares less about Palestinian objections and more about what Israel has to offer.

As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu related: “There is a lot we can do together [including] security, agriculture, food, water, energy, health and much more.   We’re making new inroads into the Muslim world.  This is the result of a great effort during the last few years.  We’re making history and we’re returning Israel into a rising world power.“  All of these developments greatly influence what happens at the United Nations.  

However, the State of Israel did not work alone in seeking to change the systematic bias against Israel at the UN.  They were helped by various organizations. One of the most unusual of these is the Institute of Noahide Code, a Jewish organization based in New York that has been actively working to fight against systematic anti-Israel bias at the UN.  Over the last several years, the Institute of Noahide Code has been working in order to educate the international community about the Jewish belief system.  They have spoken about Jewish beliefs on various panels at the UN and partook in events that also raised awareness about the plight of Jews in Arab countries. 

Rabbi Yakov David Cohen, who founded the Institute of Noahide Code, believes that his work raising awareness about the seven laws of Noah’s sons among prominent members of the international community has helped lead to a change in “how the UN views the Jewish people and this has affected their policies especially on anti-Semitism." He feels "the Universal Noahide Code is a means to obtain peace, unity and redemption for the entire world.”  He stressed that his work has led to the initiation of events at the UN commemorating the Holocaust and a Hanukkah party for prominent members of the international community.   

Rabbi Cohen believes creating positive publicity about the Jewish belief system is the best way that Israel can fight against prejudice and bias, for the best defense is a good offense.  This means that we should highlight at every opportunity how positive we are and how horrible our enemies are, thus taking away the focus from the media frames that our political enemies set up for us.  

These events hosted by the Institute of the Noahide Code, which teaches non-Jews how they can live an ethical life according to the Jewish belief system, has had an effect.  According to the Institute for National Security Studies, “In mid-October 2019, against the background of increasing anti-Semitic incidents - demonstrated most vividly in the shooting in Halle, Germany on Yom Kippur - Ahmed Shaheed, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, presented a report to the UN General Assembly entitled "Elimination of All Forms of Religious Intolerance," focusing on anti-Semitism. The 19-page report, a comprehensive effort to deal with anti-Semitism on a global scale, warrants attention not only because it carries importance for Israel and for Jewish communities around the world, but also because it is surprisingly professional and research-based.”   In the end, the UN took a huge stance against anti-Semitic hatred in the West.     

And now, the State of Israel is starting to benefit from this new sentiment at the UN as well by the recent withdrawal of the UN Security Council resolution against Trump’s ‘deal of the century.’  Of course, the UN is still systematically biased against Israel, as the recent blacklisting of businesses that do business in Israeli settlements demonstrates.  However, the winds in New York City are starting to blow in a friendlier direction for the Jewish state.  

We are no longer living in an era where the entire UN system believes that Zionism is a form of racism.  Therefore, in the end, if things continue in this direction, one day we can potentially succeed to transform the UN from being a bastion for anti-Israel hatred into a place promoting tolerance and respect for the Jewish people.   

As the Prophet Isaiah envisioned and the UN once believed, “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, nor shall they learn war anymore.”      

Rachel Avraham is a political analyst working at the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy, Research, Public Relations and Human Rights.  She is the author of “Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings in the American, Israeli and Arab Media.”  



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