The state of Israel and the United Nations have a long and tortured history in dealing one with the other. Some seventy years ago the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a resolution that became the basis in international terms for the creation of Israel. The United Nations thereby became the godfather of the Jewish state.
It was an unlikely combination of diplomacy and circumstance that allowed this to happen. The adoption of the partition plan for Palestine in 1947 was practically the only major issue upon which both the United States and much of the Western world combined with the Soviet Union and its satellite nations. The Arab world denounced that resolution and attempted a number of times to reverse its adoption by war and violence.
The story of how the resolution was adopted and how many countries were swayed to vote for it has been told in many books, but no matter how many times this story is told it remains wondrous and even miraculous.
As far as the history of millennia of Jewish existence and human civilization is concerned, that moment when the United Nations General Assembly assented to the creation of the Jewish state became the finest hour for this august body. However, after having parented Israel, the United Nations soon came to treat it as a very unwanted child.
The Moslem world and especially the Soviet Union came to dominate the committees and makeup of the United Nations and turned it into an unrelenting foe and incessant critic of the Jewish state.
Because of the constant enmity expressed by the United Nations organization and its various departments, Israel began to take a very negative view of the entire organization itself. Israel derided decisions of the United Nations taken against it and always relied on the veto power of the United States in the Security Council of the United Nations to protect it from economic and diplomatic harm.
As in the case of the last days of the Obama administration showed, support for Israel was not always forthcoming, even from the United States. In a truly remarkable zigzag path of diplomacy, negotiation and perseverance, Israel has somehow escaped the worst attempts to delegitimize it.
Everyone is aware that the United Nations, collectively and as an organization, is no friend of Israel. Yet in a strange way, the United Nations has provided Israel with a platform to express and defend itself against its enemies. The United Nations has been useful in ending wars initiated by Arab governments against Israel and has, almost against its own will, allowed Israel to benefit from its military successes and economic creativity.
The poison of Soviet anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli policies has seeped so deeply into the fabric of the United Nations that the collapse of the Soviet Union itself did not end its nefarious influence in the international scene.
Winston Churchill summarized the benefits of the United Nations succinctly: “It is better to jaw, jaw, jaw than to war, war, war!” Nevertheless, the unrelenting bias and prejudice against Israel constantly emanating from the United Nations has caused Israel create cost and pain, not to mention territory and human lives. It is truly shameful that Israel occupies so much time, space and attention in the workings of an international body that faces enormous challenges throughout the world.
The decades of Soviet influence in the United Nations, and in fact in much of the Moslem world, have proved devastating to the cause of peace and reconciliation here in the Middle East. The poison of Soviet anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli policies has seeped so deeply into the fabric of the United Nations that the collapse of the Soviet Union itself did not end its nefarious influence in the international scene.
The Muslim world has suffered greatly from the United Nations even though on the surface it has always been supported by that body, both diplomatically and economically. The refugee problem, now about to enter its eighth decade, has been perpetuated by the United Nations and its committees. The United Nations has to a great extent created the Palestinian Arab refugee camps and their unfortunate inhabitants through its unending support for the Arab countries that refused to integrate their own brothers and sisters into their societies.
We cannot really hope for any sort of lasting settlement of this issue as long as the United Nations remains such a biased and provocative part of the problem. Israel has come a long way in the diplomatic and international world that it is forced to inhabit. Nevertheless, it certainly is wary of the attitudes and resolutions of the United Nations. It helped create Israel but has also attempted numerous times to destroy it as well. Only time will tell whether there will be a change in relations between Israel and the United Nations. I hope it will be for the better but I am not that optimistic.