Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Israeli Responses to Zionism is Racism Resolution at the United Nations

In our last post on this subject, we wrote about the fight over UN General Assembly Resolution 3379, which equated Zionism with racism. It's interesting to see the reactions to this resolution, which was a political defeat for Israel by any measure (if an unavoidable one).

On the day of the vote in the United Nations, Prime Minister Rabin and the Knesset published two separate announcements condemning the resolution which, they said, "calls for the destruction of the state of Israel, recognition of terror organizations and harms the efforts to reconvene a new peace conference at Geneva."

Ambassador to the UN Chaim Herzog tried to find some rays of light in the darkness of failure in the great media buzz surrounding the 3379 resolution. He noted that Western states found themselves committed to stand with Israel, the Jewish public abroad united behind Israel, and that Israel got a chance to explain what Zionism was to the Jewish people and the world. Herzog tells how Fiji's Ambassador to the United Nations decided to vote for Israel after reading a book on Zionism that was delivered to him by the Israeli delegation.

Other responses, much harsher, were expressed by Foreign Minister Yigal Allon, Deputy Director-General of the Foreign Ministry Shlomo Argov (who later served as Israel's Ambassador in London, where the assassination attempt on his life triggered the first Lebanon war), and the legal adviser to the Foreign Ministry, Dr. Meir Rosen.

Allon asked for a detailed plan to harm the UN's finances by (a) discretely cutting Israeli payments to the UN and (b) working with states who have (as Allon put it) "a true and real Parliament" to suspend payments to the UN (not including payments to support peace-keeping forces). He also called for changing the names of streets in Israel named after the United Nations to new ones having to do with Zionism.

Argov proposed leaving the International Labor Organization; joining with sympathetic nations to raise issues that would embarrass states hostile to Israel; expelling the UN from the Government House (the former British High Commissioner's residence) in Jerusalem; and discontinuing the activity of UNRWA to demonstrate that the Palestinian refugee issue was a political problem, not a humanitarian one.

Rosen offered to work in the US to have the UN headquarters moved from New York to another location, but admitted that the chances of success for this campaign were slim. He also advocated expelling the UN from the Government House in Jerusalem.

All of these proposed responses gave voice to the feelings of frustration and isolation in Israel after the "Zionism is racism" resolution. Were they logical and possible? It seems that only one of them was ever really implemented: the United Nations Avenue in Haifa became (and remains to this day) Zionism Avenue.

1 comment:

  1. An important contribution to understanding the "Zionism is racism" Resolution, is Prof. Gil Troy's new book: Moynihan's Moment: America's Fight Against Zionism as Racism, which will be published by Oxford University Press Dec 3, 2012. Would appreciate your mention of it here. More at: www.moynihansmoment.com Thanks!