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Simon Wiesenthal Center,
Rabbi Marvin Hier, Founder and Dean, April 9, 2017

It was this month, 72 years ago in Berlin, in 1945 that Adolf Hitler wrote his final will in which he predicted it would take a few centuries before anti-Semitism would come back. Of course it took a lot less than a few centuries. But even Hitler could not have predicted that in addition to the familiar slogans of Jew hatred, there would be a much more sophisticated kind of anti-Semitism that would be regularly deployed even in the halls of the United Nations – the very international organization created in order to prevent another Holocaust.

To explain, let me first tell you about a remarkable encounter I had with David Ben-Gurion in the summer of 1971 when I was a rabbi in Vancouver and took

a group of teenagers for their first trip to Israel. We had the special privilege to spend nearly an hour with Ben-Gurion who had retired to his kibbutz in S’De Boker. To this day, I shall never forget what he told our group. He said when you go home I want you to thank your parents and grandparents on my behalf for all they are doing for the State of Israel. Tell them that without their help, without the help of Diaspora Jewry, there would be no State of Israel.

But also tell them that there will come a time in the future where world Jewry and the Diaspora will be dependent on the State of Israel. David Ben-Gurion’s prophetic words have now come true. Today, Israel is the super engine that continues to fuel Diaspora Jewry. Sixty thousand high school and university students from North America alone come every year via Birthright to reconnect with their Jewish identity. Thousands study there and millions visit each year.

That is why I believe strongly that the campaign now being waged to delegitimize Israel by UN agencies around the world is potentially the greatest threat facing world Jewry, because Jews in the Diaspora recognize that without an Israel there will be no Diaspora. So how can we explain that of the 135 resolutions adopted by the UN Human Rights Council in the last decade, more than 50% of them have condemned Israel? How is it possible that of the 97 resolutions introduced in the last four years by the UN General Assembly, 87 of them were against the State of Israel? Can you believe that the Security Council, since 1948, has condemned Israel in 78 resolutions directly attacking Israel – no other nation comes even close.

There is no obsession with Syria where a quarter of a million people have been slaughtered; no 97 resolutions condemning North Korea, which threatens the world with nuclear weapons; nor with Iran, the leading sponsor of terrorism; nor about the destruction and pillage taking place in Iraq, Libya, or Afghanistan. Not even a resolution against Russia’s action in Ukraine, against the treatment of women in Saudi Arabia, no speaking out against Hamas or Hezbollah, the terrorist organizations who seek a war in the Middle East. Yes, only the Jewish State of Israel, the Middle East’s sole democracy, is singled out year after year, insisting that they withdraw to the indefensible June ’67 borders.

The simple fact is that it was the famous Abba Eban, Israel’s foreign minister of the dovish Labor party, not Menachem Begin, not Ariel Sharon, not Bibi Netanyahu, who warned the world that an Israeli withdrawal to the June ‘67 borders would in fact mean a return to the Auschwitz borders. Eban’s point was that Israel’s Arab neighbors today live in more than 5 million square miles of land, while the tiny State of Israel, including all the West Bank territories it captured in the 1967 War, started by her Arab neighbors, is no more than 11,200 square miles.

Because of this, Great Britain for the first time issued a stern warning to the UN, “The persistence of bias, particularly the disproportionate volume of resolutions against Israel undermines the Council’s credibility as … an objective international human rights body….” That is why it is imperative that the same voices, across the political spectrum, that are always there to confront racism and bigotry, must add their voices and shine a light on this duplicity and double standard.

The same is true of the Jewish community. We must broaden our agenda and wage the battle against anti-Semitism not only when our cemeteries are being desecrated, but also when see diplomats, year after year, sit around a fancy table in New York and continue to advocate policies that in effect would mean nothing less than shrinking the State of Israel, where seven million of the world’s fourteen million Jews live, into total oblivion. That, too, my friends, must stir our conscience, and that too, must become the cause of freedom loving people everywhere!

National Review, Anne Bayefsky, September 7, 2016

The U.N. gives a platform to many NGOs that actively encourage violence against Jews and the destruction of Israel.

The United Nations was founded as a global pact among states, but over the decades in the name of transparency and to further the aim of globalization, it has opened its doors to more than 6,150 non-governmental organizations (NGOs). While governments wring their hands over incitement to terror and dangerous uses of social media, they ignore the alarming focal point within arms’ reach: the United Nations. An examination of U.N. NGOs reveals that the U.N. has handed a global megaphone to groups spreading hatred and inciting terror from the world stage. In short, the so-called representatives of “civil society” aren’t so civil after all.

In theory, the U.N. has processes for accreditation that share a common requirement: respect for the purposes and principles of the organization. In order to qualify for accreditation, NGOs must operate in conformity with, or promote, the U.N Charter. They must affirm “faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small.”

In practice, NGOs have been welcomed into the world of international diplomacy and have gained access to international media platforms while they are simultaneously betraying the core U.N mission by advocating terror and intolerance.

Most striking for an organization founded on the ashes of the Holocaust, the U.N. has accredited NGOs that play a central role in promoting modern anti-Semitism and encouraging the destruction of the Jewish state.

The benefits of U.N. accreditation for NGOs are tangible and significant: the ability to sponsor speakers, mount exhibits, and screen films in the same U.N. facilities that house an international press corps; the right to speak at U.N. meetings and have their words translated and broadcast via U.N. webcasts worldwide; the capacity to publish written statements and have them disseminated by the U.N.; the opportunity to attend negotiating sessions and to influence the world’s diplomats. U.N. websites even link directly to selected NGO websites, greatly enhancing their traffic and messaging.

Scattered around the U.N. system are a few disclaimers of responsibility for the content of NGO events and websites. But NGO events on U.N. premises are permitted only after detailed applications and approval by U.N. representatives. NGO website links are selectively posted on U.N. sites by U.N. officials. And NGOs are regularly singled out for coveted speaking gigs by U.N. representatives. U.N. selection and approval procedures, from accreditation on, belie claims that U.N. officials and envoys are ignorant of the purposes and content of the NGOs they choose.

In May 2016, many of the world’s major NGOs complained that the accreditation processes were unfair because applications were being thwarted by certain member states for fear of empowering critics of these states. And, indeed, many of the states running the U.N. accreditation processes — such as China, Cuba, Iran, Russia, and Sudan — inhibit free speech and curtail the freedom of association in their own backyards. At the same time, these nations use their powers on the U.N. NGO Committee to protect themselves in the international arena.

But the NGOs busy clamoring for more access to the U.N. are seeking the privileges without the responsibilities. They have no intention of policing themselves. On the contrary, the common mantra among NGOs is that they promote “the voices of the victims” — where victimhood is  self-defined, regardless of the legitimacy of the claims. The reality is that U.N. member states are not only delaying or denying accreditation to the right NGOs; they are accrediting the wrong NGOs: the terrorist advocates, the haters, the anti-Semites.

Here is a selection of the output from U.N-accredited NGOs, their websites, their social-media accounts, their written and oral statements at the U.N. — all easily accessible online in 2016.

The use and abuse of the United Nations to broadcast and support modern anti-Semitism and its lethal consequences is part of a burgeoning global network of incitement to violent extremism. The democratic states that control U.N. purse strings have the power and the duty to stop it


“The Israeli occupation...leave[s] [Palestinian] prisoners exposed to deadly diseases....The Israeli occupation is the world’s only entity in which doctors torture and blackmail prisoners.”

September has arrived and with it, “show time” at the United Nations – the 71st session of its General Assembly.

Prior to the main event, a forum on antisemitism was held last week, attended by the UN secretary general and the ambassadors of the US, Canada, the EU, Israel and other countries.

This forum’s goal was to draw attention to the worldwide rise of antisemitism which, according to Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon, is “at the highest level of our lifetimes,” and find constructive ways to remedy the problem. Ironically, but not surprisingly, the forum failed to address the elephant in the room – that the UN itself supports and promotes the very antisemitism about which this conference expressed concern.

Unexplored was that the UN provides a global megaphone for antisemitism through its accreditation of many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that promote Jew-hatred, condone or justify violence and terrorism, and advocate for the destruction of the Jewish state.

A recent report by Anne Bayefsky and Sarah Willig of Human Rights Voices documents the travesty.

The UN accredits more than 6,150 NGOs. To qualify, NGOs must conform to the UN Charter by affirming “faith in fundamental human rights... in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small.”

These NGOs are allowed to sponsor UN programs, speak at UN meetings, submit statements to UN bodies, access international press, post on UN websites and have their messages broadcast globally via UN webcasts. By providing international exposure and legitimacy to NGOs that blatantly violate Charter principles, the UN is complicit in the rise of antisemitism today.

The Bayefsky-Willig report cites numerous detailed examples of UN-accredited NGO hate mongering which incites antisemitism. Here is but a small representative sample: “Gas chambers are not needed...little girls riddled with bullets, infants beheaded by shell fire; a little massacre here, a little starvation there.... Israel has given itself the right to erase the Palestinian commit genocide.” (Women for Palestine)

“Zionism is a colonialist, racist, ideology of conquest, oppression, subjugation and control.” (Near East Cultural and Educational Foundation of Canada) “Our world is now faced with... a new type of Nazism...Zionism, with its inhumane ethnic, racist principles... devilish schemes which generate chaos all over the world... the [Israeli] practice of extracting human organs from killed Palestinians...and the sale of these organs.” (International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination)

“The Al-Quds Intifadah [Palestinian knifings of Israeli civilians in Jerusalem] is the legitimate expression of the Palestinian people’s will to resist continued subjugation and humiliation by the occupying power.” (International Progress Organization)

“Today the Gaza Strip... has become a concentration camp whose occupants are victims of the crimes committed by their jailers.” (American Association of Jurists to the UN Human Rights Council)

“The policies of incremental ethnic cleansing that Israel calls ‘Judaization’ are proceeding apace.” (Habitat International Coalition) “Since its imposition in 1948 in Palestine, the Israeli state has... killed, injured, imprisoned and tortured, and used Palestinian children as human shields.” (Al-Awda, The Palestine Right To Return Coalition)

“The Israeli occupation...leave[s] [Palestinian] prisoners exposed to deadly diseases....The Israeli occupation is the world’s only entity in which doctors torture and blackmail prisoners.” (Khiam Rehabilitation Center)

Many UN-accredited NGOs wipe Israel off their maps, depicting “Palestine” as all of Israel plus Gaza, Judea and Samaria.

Since the UN accredits these NGOs through a formal process, it can’t claim that it’s ignorant of their anti-Semitic activities and messaging. The truth is there in plain sight for anyone who wants to see it.

According to the US State Department, antisemitism today includes demonizing Israel, delegitimizing its right to exist in it historical homeland and holding Israel to a higher standard than any other state.

Propagating “blood libels” against Israelis and working to destroy this UN member state are clearly anti-Semitic and violate the UN Charter. If there is genuine concern about the rise of antisemitism, then concrete actions must be taken to stop UN NGOs from abusing their powerful global platform to incite hatred.

America and other Western democracies have turned a willfully blind eye to this loathsome reality and continue to subsidize global Jew-hatred via their funding of the UN, an institution created in the aftermath of World War II and the Holocaust that has utterly failed to live up to its promise.

As Ayn Rand wrote, “The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody has decided not to see.”