“Everyone,” the late New York senator and diplomat Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said, “is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” However, some journalists seem too willing to conflate the two – and too willing to ignore reality when it’s staring them in the face. Media coverage of the United Nation’s anti-Israel animus proves this point.
On Dec. 6, 2018 the United Nations General Assembly failed to pass a resolution condemning Hamas, the U.S.-designated terrorist group that rules the Gaza Strip. Hamas’s charter approvingly cites Adolf Hitler and calls for Israel’s destruction and the genocide of Jews. After extensive pro-Hamas lobbying by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) – itself a former U.S.-designated terror group with American and Israeli blood on its hands – the resolution condemning the Gazan terror group “for repeatedly firing rockets into Israel and for inciting violence, thereby putting civilians at risk,” failed.
The resolution, entitled “Activities of Hamas and Other Militant Groups in Gaza,” actually received a majority of the votes. But thanks to a preceding measure requiring a two-thirds majority, it fell short.
The U.N., of course, was founded due to a Nazi war of aggression that had the elimination of world Jewry as a chief objective. Yet, today’s U.N. attacks the Jewish state ad nauseam. And it’s not an opinion to say as much – it’s a fact. But some press outlets pretend otherwise.
For example, The Washington Post’s report on the General Assembly vote described the U.N’s “anti-Israel bias” as merely “perceived.” And The Post, among other newspapers, has often minimized the U.N.’s institutional mistreatment of Israel by presenting it as merely a claim by “Israel and its supporters.” But in this case perception is reality, and the numbers say as much.
In 2018, the U.N. General Assembly passed 21 resolutions condemning Israel, and a mere six for the rest of the world, according to U.N. Watch, a Geneva-based NGO that monitors the international body. Israel, a democracy, was condemned seven times more than the brutal North Korean dictatorship, which still runs gulags and was the subject of a mere 3 resolutions. Indeed, just on Nov. 15, 2018 the General Assembly adopted nine resolutions against Israel – all while ignoring human rights situations in China, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Turkey and Pakistan, for example.
One of those resolutions even condemned Israel for “repressive measures” against the Syrian people, although the U.N. itself has largely failed to condemn or punish Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad for murdering his own people en masse.
As the author Eric Rozenman ably documents in his 2018 book “Jews Make the Best Demons” about modern antisemitism: “Turtle bay’s font of Israel-hatred and Jew-hatred – not to mention historical revisionism – overflows.”
Indeed, as the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) documented in a Nov. 9, 2018 Jerusalem Post Op-Ed, the U.N. has created an “institutional infrastructure” for the sole purpose of attacking the Jewish state.
Most infamously, on Nov. 10, 1975 the U.N. General Assembly passed Resolution 3379, which equated Zionism – the belief in Jewish self-determination – with racism. Although the resolution was, with considerable U.S. effort, repealed in 1991, the international body had also voted to create the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP), which works feverishly to delegitimize Israel.
CEIRPP organizes conferences and disseminates information, spreading “one-sided propaganda consistent with the most extreme Palestinian positions,” according to Gil Kapen, a special adviser to the American Jewish International Relations Institute (AJIRI). It was at CEIRPP’s invite that then-CNN contributor Marc Lamont Hill called for Israel’s elimination in a prepared statement on Nov. 28, 2018.
The U.N. has even created two different agencies for dealing with refugees – one of which, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), is exclusively for Palestinians. All other refugee populations in the world fall under the jurisdiction of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which, despite dealing with six times as many refugees as UNRWA, has only a quarter of the staff.
UNRWA not only has a separate definition of “refugee” just for Palestinians (which includes people who are generations removed from the conflict and people who are citizens of other nations) but the organization has, on several occasions, been caught employing Hamas operatives. A 2015 internal investigation found that UNRWA schools were used by Hamas to “hide weapons” and “launch attacks” during the 2014 Israel-Hamas War. Employees of the U.N. entity have also been caught praising Hitler and calling for Israel’s destruction.
Another agency, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), has sought to strip Jewish holy sites in Israel of their Jewish identity by declaring them “occupied” and denying their history.
On several occasions, the U.N. has commissioned several “reports” to blame Israel for the actions of terror groups, and unashamedly hired anti-Israel activists to author them.
The U.N. has abetted Israel’s enemies in other ways.
Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed, Lebanese-based terror group, was recently caught digging attack tunnels into Israel. The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which is tasked with preventing such occurrences, not only failed to detect the tunnels (which were years in the making); they have turned a “blind eye” and become an “accessory to Hezbollah’s ambitions,” according to a recent Op-Ed by retired Israel Defense Forces Brig. Gen. Assaf Orion.
Similarly, in 1967, Egypt’s then-ruler, Gamal Abdel Nassar, requested that the U.N. remove a peacekeeping force on the Israel-Egypt armistice line. Nasser was obviously planning to attack the Jewish state. Yet the U.N. complied, helping to precipitate the war that followed.
The U.N.’s anti-Israel history is both long and undeniable. And journalists shouldn’t pretend otherwise. As Winston Churchill – himself a former journalist – famously observed, “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.”
Sean Durns is a senior research analyst for the Washington D.C. office of CAMERA, the 65,000-member, Boston-based Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.