Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Palestinian Shameless Twisting of History at the U.N.

November 20, 2012 3:21 am 1 comment

The United Nations Security Council chamber.

It’s a shame to have to re-visit history for the umpteenth time, but Palestinian revisionism forces us to provide a reality check.

The Palestinian National Authority has announced it will seek to upgrade its status at the United Nations to non-member state (the status the Vatican now enjoys) on Nov. 29. The choice of date is no accident.

The date, of course, relates to the partition vote at the United Nations in 1947,  rejected by the Arabs, and now considered the origins of what the Palestinians call the “Nakba”—or “catastrophe” (the Palestinians actually “commemorate” the “Nakba” on May 15, which is when the State of Israel was declared).

Put bluntly, the Palestinians today are seeking to gain, on the cheap what they rejected in 1947.

Sixty-five years later, the world, and the Jewish people are in a far different place.

(It is unclear if the recent wave of Hamas rocket attacks into Israel and Israel’s defensive response will have an impact on the Palestinians’ efforts at the U.N., but the latest word is the Palestinians will stick with the plan to seek a change in status on Nov. 29.).

Part of the problem is that Palestinian leadership is both in denial, and is also emboldened, by side-stepping Israel and taking these steps directly to the international community.

It is time for the countries the Palestinians either fear or respect to lay down the law and declare to the Palestinians: Don’t expect us to do your heavy lifting. Get to the negotiating table or lose your opportunity.

Now it may be that the Palestinians won’t listen to this advice, or more likely, really don’t care.

In the years since Oslo, what’s become increasingly clear is the impression that the so-called moderates of the Palestinian National Authority prefer the status of permanent victim, while still enjoying the trappings of statehood (e.g. an annual speech by Mahmoud Abbas before the U.N. General Assembly). They’d rather continue on both of those fronts than concede the right of Jewish sovereignty to Israel and assume the responsibilities and obligations of running a state.

For nearly four years, the Palestinians have refused to commit to negotiations notwithstanding Israel’s offer to meet without pre-conditions. Logic would have it that the onus for this failure to move forward would lie with the Palestinians. But that is not the way it plays out in real life. The fingers of blame are often pointed in Israel’s direction: The settlement freeze wasn’t long enough, there are too many checkpoints, the Gaza blockade—the list goes on and is well known.

With a full agenda of contentious issues, how can anyone expect unilateral moves by the Palestinian National Authority will produce anything other than a perpetuation of the conflict?

Having cast Israel into the corner at every turn, and with a good part of international public opinion at his back, Abbas is now gambling on doing the ultimate end-run, but being accorded increased international recognition.

What makes this all-the-more hypocritical is that with the United Nations, where this vote will occur, and European Union, which is divided on this issue, we have two of the four parties to the Quartet— the international grouping which has pledged support for a negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinians.

So far, according to an EU spokesman, nearly half of the 27 EU member states have expressed support for the non-member state status bid of the Palestinians. Hopefully, this will not be the case.  The EU nations that do vote “for” will cast those countries as enablers of diplomatic oblivion for the peace process. All EU countries should adhere to their bloc’s own guidelines on a negotiated settlement and vote against the Palestinian move.

One would think that with the Middle East in the midst of what will be a long period of uncertainty (at best) and violent uncertainty (at worst) cooler heads would see the Palestinian initiative as counterproductive to a goal of stability in the region.

That appears not to be the case, as expediency—or issue fatigue—may very well, and most regrettably, carry the day.

Daniel S. Mariaschin is the Executive Vice President of B’nai B’rith International.

1 Comment

  • You are right Daniel, it is shameless. In 1947 the Arabs were given the opportunity to abandon their homes, farms and villages to foreigners and for some reason, known only to themselves they voted not to do so.

    What on earth were they thinking.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.

Current day month ye@r *


  • Arts and Culture Israel Jerry Seinfeld to Make Comedy Debut in Israel

    Jerry Seinfeld to Make Comedy Debut in Israel – Famed Jewish-American comedian and actor Jerry Seinfeld is slated to make his comedic debut in Israel later this year. Seinfeld, who was born in Brooklyn to Jewish parents from the Ukraine and Syria, will perform in Tel Aviv’s Mitvtachim Menorah Arena on Dec. 19 as part of a world tour. The comedian is most known for his enormously popular NBC sitcom Seinfeld, which ran from 1989-1998 and is widely considered one of the greatest TV series of all time. […]

    Read more →
  • Food Israel New Video Shows American Kids Reviewing Israeli Food After Tasting Dishes for First Time (VIDEO)

    New Video Shows American Kids Reviewing Israeli Food After Tasting Dishes for First Time (VIDEO)

    A new video circulating online shows eight American children reacting — mostly positively — to their first taste of the famed Israeli eggplant salad/dip, known in Hebrew as “salat hatzilim” and in other parts of the Levant as baba ganoush. The clip, created by, features the youngsters trying a variety of exotic dishes from other countries as well, such as Hawaiian poi, Colombian pork belly and Russian borscht. The Israeli delicacies served include schnitzel, slices of pita, hummus and the baba ganoush salad. “If someone […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Features Pioneers/Philanthropists ‘Start-Up Nation’ Israel to Host Forbes Magazine Young Entrepreneurs Summit

    ‘Start-Up Nation’ Israel to Host Forbes Magazine Young Entrepreneurs Summit – Forbes magazine announced Tuesday that it will host its Under 30 EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) Summit in Israel for the first time in April 2016. The conference is expected to bring together some 600 young entrepreneurs, with 200 from Europe, 200 from the U.S., and 200 from Israel. The summit has been hosted in Philadelphia for the past two years. It will include presentations, speeches, a pitch competition, and cultural immersion opportunities in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Beliefs and concepts What’s That Huge White Bridal Dress Floating Over the Tower of David?

    What’s That Huge White Bridal Dress Floating Over the Tower of David? –  “What’s that huge white bridal dress floating over the Tower of David?” That’s what visitors to Jerusalem’s Old City asked last week. The wedding gown, created by leading Israeli artist Motti Mizrachi, is part of the 2nd Jerusalem Biennale for Contemporary Jewish Art, an event that blew into town as the Sukkot holiday got underway. Mizrachi, who lives and works in Tel Aviv, created the dress that floats majestically over the Tower of David, the main exhibition site […]

    Read more →
  • Features Opinion The Top 10 Places to Visit in Israel

    The Top 10 Places to Visit in Israel

    Israel is a holiday destination on many travelers’ bucket lists. No matter the style of holiday you are after, Israel has the answer. Whether you prefer to relax by the beach, hike up mountains in the desert, visit religious and historical sites, eat your way through the country or just enjoy some retail therapy, your journey through Israel will be one to remember. While there are obviously so many things to see and do, here is a list of 10 of […]

    Read more →
  • Pioneers/Philanthropists US & Canada Jewish American Fashion Mogul Ralph Lauren to Step Down as CEO

    Jewish American Fashion Mogul Ralph Lauren to Step Down as CEO – Jewish American fashion mogul Ralph Lauren announced his plan to step down as chief executive officer of the renowned fashion brand. The head of Gap Inc’s Old Navy brand will take over the position. The 75-year-old Lauren, who founded Ralph Lauren Corp. in 1967, will continue to serve as executive chairman and will continue leading the fashion house’s design team, according to a statement by the company. After the announcement, Ralph Lauren shares rose 3.79 percent while Gap shares […]

    Read more →
  • Featured Sports US & Canada Jewish Boxer Dustin ‘White Tiger’ Fleischer Scores Fourth Knockout Victory

    Jewish Boxer Dustin ‘White Tiger’ Fleischer Scores Fourth Knockout Victory

    Jewish boxer Dustin Fleischer, who said his quest is to become the first world champion descended from a Holocaust survivor, stayed unbeaten with a first-round knockout. Fleischer, nicknamed “The White Tiger,” moved to 4-0 with the defeat of Ira Frank on Saturday night in Beach Haven, New Jersey, near his home, he reported after the fight on his Facebook page. The 26-year-old welterweight has won all his bouts by knockout. Read full story at JTA.

    Read more →
  • Featured Israel Pioneers/Philanthropists Meet Israel’s Santa Claus, the Trustee Tasked With Handing Out Leona Helmsley’s Billions (INTERVIEW)

    Meet Israel’s Santa Claus, the Trustee Tasked With Handing Out Leona Helmsley’s Billions (INTERVIEW)

    Renowned New York attorney Sandor (Sandy) Frankel, one of four trustees of the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, was in Israel earlier this month to look at additional philanthropic options and to observe the progress of those endeavors already funded – to the tune of multi-millions. Frankel, who recently joined the prestigious Park Avenue law firm Otterbourg P.C., met with Israeli politicians and other bigwigs to get a sense from them about which projects in the country […]

    Read more →