It is a source of great historical anguish, in the United Nations, that the dreaded and odious Israel was formed as a result of a UN resolution. Accordingly it’s necessary to establish that the UN was then under the domination of the U.S., the U.S. under the domination of Harry Truman, and Harry Truman under the domination of American Jews. I wish I had assembled those thoughts but they were William F. Buckley’s in his 1974 book United Nations Journal: A Delegate’s Odyssey, after his year as a U.S. delegate. I would not call Buckley a natural Judeo-phile but he had a strong moral sensibility and saw through cant and hypocrisy.
He would have recognized the farce at the UN last week and approved of the principled position Canada’s government took. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird is not really, whatever one’s taste, a classic pin-up. But stay my beating heart. His speech to the UN on the proposal to advance Palestinian status (substituting negotiation with Israel for a love-in with the UN’s non-aligned bloc) began: “Canada opposes this resolution in the strongest terms . . . ”
I expected thunder and a shaft of light from the heavens. No one in the UN ever opposes anything in “the strongest terms” apart from numbing condemnations of Israel’s brutal, racist ethnic cleansing and occupation, beside which the brutal, racist ethnic cleansing of Africa and murderous wars of the Arab world fall mild as soft summer rains.
True, Baird’s speech went downhill as he carefully referenced resolution after resolution—181, 194, 242, 338, 1397, 1515, 1850 plus articles—but you know the Canadian way, all the “i’s” dotted. Still, it was extraordinary. There really are politicians who swim against the tide because they think it morally right.
Meanwhile, the CBC was happily announcing that 87 per cent of Canadians opposed Canada’s No vote on the resolution to make the Palestinian Authority a non-member observer state of the UN. “Let us know what you think by Twitter or email,” said Peter Mansbridge, whom I forgive since this must be CBC policy. “Think” is the wrong word to use for 140-character hip-shooting.
Admittance to the UN club is rather like Aeroplan: collect status miles, or in this case, voting blocs to get into the next tier. To win, the Palestinians got the so-called “non-aligned movement” bloc of 120 votes which overlaps with the African Union (54 members) and the Arab League (22 members), all aligned by their dislike of the U.S. and Israel. This was topped up by the European Union bloc who voted for or abstained, apart from the No vote of Czech Republic—not coincidentally the least anti-Semitic country in Hitler’s occupied Europe. The EU vote was largely strategic voting: you’re a wannabe Security Council member? Okay. Vote against Israel and you’ll get the non-aligned movement vote.
One could cavil and say why believe the CBC’s 87 per cent unscientific poll, but I do. Should Kiribati have membership at the UN? Poll Canadians and I’ll bet 87 per cent say “yes,” not knowing it’s had membership since 1999 and is about to become the first state with “submerged” status (its islands are going underwater due to the rising Pacific Ocean). This does make one wonder if Kiribati, population 104,000 and swimming, should have the same clout as Canada? And is it fair that Taiwan, population 23 million, which according to The Economist overtook Japan in GDP per capita in 2010, got heaved from the UN in 1971 at the behest of the Chinese Communists and is reduced to trying to enter UN organizations as a “fishing entity”? That 87 per cent doesn’t represent informed public opinion so much as vagaries blowin’ in the wind.
What’s blowing is a distinct lack of sympathy for the world’s only Jewish state inconveniently situated amidst a witches’ brew of Arab states: Syria (Iran’s proxy), Lebanon (home of the terrorist Hezbollah organization), Egypt (the Muslim Brotherhood) and Palestine, divided between rule by terrorist group Hamas and “President” Mahmoud Abbas, whose actual term as president ran out in 2009. He is also known as Abu Mazen, PLO supporter of the Munich Olympics massacre and schooled in the Soviet Union’s Peoples’ Friendship University where his thesis was “The connection between the Nazis and the leaders of the Zionist movement.” Well, we all get heady when young. It’s a toss-up which Arab state dislikes the Palestinians more: Jordan, which expelled the PLO in 1970 and massacred them; or Egypt, who till recently spent its efforts trying to keep Gaza’s Palestinians out. If Israel disappeared, the Middle East would continue in much the same mess. This requires understanding of the Arab and Islamic world’s divisions, which can be summed up by saying that Sunnis and Shias plus sects such as the Syrian Alawites kill each other and apostates all over the Muslim world with a savagery incomprehensible to the Western mind so Western minds do not focus on it.
Israel can freeze settlements and give back land but unless all adults march into the sea sans lifebelts–perhaps sending their children to become janissaries–nothing will satisfy the Palestinians who steadfastly refused to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. What Abbas did in his UN speech was endorse Resolution 194, which provides for two states but allows the right of return to Israel of Arab “refugees,” a demographic bomb to eliminate a Jewish Israel. Abbas—an uncharismatic figure if ever there was one—couldn’t bring himself to actually say two states for two peoples let alone mention that smelly word “Jewish.” It’s easy enough to endorse a state called Israel, but when your intent is to make it the Islamic Republic of Israel (or possibly the Islamic State of the Children of Abraham, given the unction about Judaism and Islam being descended from Abraham) you enter the UN’s Roman Colosseum and throw Jews to unaligned lions. The outcome is nothing to cheer about, unless you are a jackal, waiting for scraps.