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Last updated on: 9/16/2015 9:26:04 AM PST
Is the United Nations Biased Against Israel and For Palestine?



PRO (yes)

Mitchell Bard, PhD, Executive Director of American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise and Director of Jewish Virtual Library, in his July 2015 article "United Nations: The U.N. Relationship with Israel," available at the Jewish Virtual Library website, wrote:

"Despite being the only democracy in the Middle East, Israel routinely faces more criticism and condemnation at the United Nations than any other country, including those that systematically kill their citizens or deny them the most basic of human rights. Even today, both the General Assembly and Security Council continue to pass one-sided resolutions that single out and condemn the Jewish State. Additionally, an overwhelmingly powerful bloc led by the Arab nations promotes a narrow and slanderous agenda meant to isolate Israel that has met little resistance."

July 2015 - Mitchell G. Bard, PhD 



Emily L. Hauser, MA, contributor to The Week, in an Aug. 19, 2013 article, "Yes, Virginia, There Is Anti-Israel Bias at the U.N.," available at the Daily Beast website, stated:

"We on the left don't often like to bring it up, but it's the truth: Israel is often singled out for behavior that goes along unmentioned in other countries, often in much greater measure. Resolutions condemning Israel carry a nearly ritualistic quality at this point, yet blatant human rights abuses in other countries in the region (Saudi Arabia comes to mind) and around the world (China, anyone?) often appear to barely register on the official U.N. radar. The ongoing brutality in Syria provides an unfortunately apt example: While many member states have clearly wanted to take a stronger stand all along, for others the mere notion of harsh language was a bridge too far.

And that is wrong. That is wrong, and unfair, and frankly unhelpful to anyone wanting to build genuine, lasting peace anywhere in the world, not least Israel/Palestine."

Aug. 19, 2013 - Emily L. Hauser, MA 



Ido Aharoni, MA, Counsel General of Israel in New York, in a July 30, 2014 opinion article for TIME Magazine titled "How the United Nations Human Rights Council Unfairly Targets Israel," stated:

"Instead of focusing on actual human rights violators around the world, as this international body was created to do, the UNHRC [United Nations Human Rights Council] keeps its main focus on Israel—a nation that has gone to extraordinary lengths to protect and preserve the lives of civilians, both during this latest conflict and throughout previous defensive responses to Hamas' terror...

Since its inception in 2006, the UNHRC has released a total of 103 resolutions. Astonishingly, 56 have focused on criticizing Israel. The UNHRC has held a total of 21 special sessions to address dire humanitarian crises throughout the world. One has addressed Sudan, another Sri Lanka, another Ivory Coast and another Libya—while 7 of the 21 special sessions have irrationally targeted Israel."

July 30, 2014 - Ido Aharoni, MA 



Jonathan Kalfus, Campus Fellow for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) at the time of the quote, in a Mar. 21, 2013 article, "International Community Holds Israel to Unfair Double Standard," available at the Neon Tommy website, stated:

"On December 18, 2012, the 67th United Nations General Assembly strongly criticized Israel and adopted nine resolutions on Palestinian rights and the Golan. By the end of the week, 22 resolutions were adopted by the Assembly against Israel, with only four resolutions passed on the rest of the world.

Syria—a country plagued by a civil war against a ruthless dictatorship that has reportedly claimed the lives of over 50,000 people, half of which are civilians—received one of the four resolutions. Iran, governed by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a man who denies the Holocaust, represses gay rights and constantly calls for the annihilation of Jews and the Jewish state, received one resolution. Iran is the largest state-sponsor of global terrorism.

The other two resolutions were given to North Korea and Burma, both dictatorships with consistent systematic human rights violations. Yet Israel, the only country in the Middle East that has true democracy, free speech, religious tolerance, gay rights and equal protection for all citizens of the State, was handed 22 resolutions.

Israel has surely made mistakes, as all governments and nations have. However, the crimes that Israel has committed are consistently magnified to unfair levels, while those of other nations receive no attention. The continuous agenda of international organizations like the UN to pardon nations like Iran and terrorist organizations like Hamas for heinous human rights violations, but villainize Israel for building settlements or defending its citizens from rocket fire has created an unfair double standard."

Mar. 21, 2013 - Jonathan Kalfus 



The Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations, in a 2004 entry on its website titled, "Israel and the U.N. - an Uneasy Relationship," stated the following:

"In the General Assembly and its committees, as well as in the specialized agencies of the UN, there exists a long-standing tradition of singling out Israel. The General Assembly devotes seven out of 179 items of its agenda to issues concerning Israel. No other nation or issue is accorded such scrutinizing treatment. Nineteen anti-Israel resolutions are adopted by the General Assembly annually."

2004 - Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations 



David Tell, Opinion Editor for The Weekly Standard at the time of the quote, in a May 6, 2002 editorial titled "The U.N.'s Israel Obsession," wrote the following:

"Among the nearly 200 nations represented at the U.N., only Israel has ever been assigned special -- reduced -- membership privileges, its ambassadors formally barred, for 53 straight years ending only recently, from election to the Security Council. Meanwhile, and right up to the present day, that same Security Council has devoted fully a third of its energy and criticism to the policies of a single country: Israel. The U.N. Commission on Human Rights, which regularly -- and unreprovingly -- accepts delegations from any number of homicidal tyrannies across the globe, has issued fully a quarter of its official condemnations to a single (democratic) country: Israel."

May 6, 2002 - David Tell 



CON (no)

Richard Falk, SJD, Albert G. Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law and Practice at Princeton University, in an Apr. 10, 2015 speech at "The Israel Lobby – Is It Good for the US? Is It Good for Israel?" conference held in Washington, DC, the transcript of which is available at the Israel Lobby US website, stated:

"[An] approach used on behalf of Israel to weaken and discredit the U.N. involves trying to both manipulate the organization and to undermine it at the same time. It's a very sophisticated kind of relationship to the U.N. that Israel has. It both pretends to be victimized by the organization and yet, because of its relationship to the U.S. and its clever use of these kinds of tactics, it intimidates the organization more than any other government, however large or small... Rather than being biased, the U.N. leans over backward in every particular context to make sure that Israel's best arguments are made fully available and given as much attention as possible. In other words, the reality is just the opposite of the perception in this country [the US]. If anything, the organization could be criticized as being indifferent to the Palestinian reality and biased toward not offending Israel. It's quite an amazing manipulation of the reality, at least as I experienced and understood it."

Apr. 10, 2015 - Richard Falk, SJD 



Brad Parker, JD, Attorney and International Advocacy Officer at Defense for Children International Palestine, in a Nov. 14, 2013 article, "Israeli Exceptionalism at the United Nations," available at 972mag.com, stated:

"To be clear, the international community is not treating Israel unfairly; Israel is simply being treated and recognized as the persistent human rights violator that it is. The deep-rooted notion of Israeli exceptionalism inherent in Ambassador Manor's statement is consistently used to delegitimize any international criticism of Israel's serious human rights violations against Palestinians.

If Israel wants improved standing in the international community, its leaders must take responsibility for what is truly exceptional: a 46-year-old military occupation where systemic discrimination and persistent human rights violations are deeply entrenched and impunity reigns...

Despite the fact that Israel has ratified all the major international human rights treaties, and, as a result, has bound itself to act in accordance with those treaties; Israeli authorities persistently disregard and fail to comply with international law."

Nov. 14, 2013 - Brad Parker, JD 



Palestine Facts, an online resource for topics on Israel, Palestine, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in the "What Is the Evidence That the United Nations Is Biased Against Israel?" section of its website (accessed Sep. 8, 2015), wrote:

"Despite the fact that Israel believes the UN to have shown bias against them in history, there have been positive developments for Israel at this international body. The UN has a number of Israeli diplomats appointed to various positions. An Israeli official headed one of the committees of the organization in 2007. It was Rony Adam, the head of UN department of Israeli Foreign Ministry who presided over the UN Committee for Program and Coordination.

Moreover, in 2005, Israel was given the deputy chairmanship of the United Nations Disarmament Commission. In the same year, Permanent Representative to the UN and Israel's Ambassador, Dan Gillerman, was elected as one of the 21 vice presidents of the General Assembly…

The United Nations has also considered issues that concern Israel and the Jewish community, particularly the ones related to Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism. So it would be wrong to say that the United Nations is biased against Israel."

Sep. 8, 2015 - Palestine Facts 



129 organizations and distinguished individuals, including John Pilger, Richard Falk, SJD, Voice of Palestine, International Solidarity Movement, and Jewish Voice for Peace, in an Aug. 5, 2014 open letter to Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, available from the Electronic Intifada website under the title "UN's Ban Ki-Moon Is a Partner in Israel's Crimes," wrote:

"We, the undersigned Palestinian human rights and community-based organizations, are extremely disappointed by your performance, notably by your biased statements, your failure to act, and the inappropriate justification of Israel's violations of international humanitarian law, which amount to war crimes…

You have undeniably assumed a biased position toward the current attack on Gaza and Israeli violations in the West Bank by failing to clearly condemn Israeli unlawful actions in the occupied Palestinian territories, while, on the other hand, not hesitating to accuse – sometimes mistakenly – Palestinian combatants in Gaza of violations of international law…

Mr. Secretary-General,

When you make no distinction between oppressors and victims, in all your statements,

When you name Palestinian combatants as perpetrators of violations and war crimes while you ignore naming Israel, as you used to do in referring to specific actions,

When you avoid codifying Israeli actions that amount to war crimes, while you insist on prescribing Palestinian reactions as grave breaches of international humanitarian law,

When you always advocate unlawfully the Israel right to self-defense, while having not pointed out the Palestinians legitimate and legal right to resist occupation, colonization and institutionalized discrimination,

When you adopt and advocate Israeli false stories, while not mentioning Palestinians' narrative,

When you disregard facts on grounds clearly resulting from Israeli attacks, while you seek the immediate and unconditional release of a falsely captured soldier who was in the battle field,

You do not maintain peace and security; nor do you ensure human rights…

For us, if you continue playing this role, you prove what our people feel, that you are a partner in, or at least an enabler of, the ongoing violations of international humanitarian law committed by Israel against our families, children, women, elders – against our people."

Aug. 5, 2014 - Open Letter to Ban Ki-Moon, Aug. 5, 2014 (240KB)