Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Prosor: Israel’s Relations at the U.N. Improving ‘Under the Radar’

January 23, 2014 6:53 pm 3 comments
Israel's Ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor. Photo: Screenshot.

Israel's Ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor. Photo: Screenshot.

Ron Prosor, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, said relations at the international body are improving “under the radar,” despite the shibboleth of structural bias inherent in the international institution.

“At the UN, there’s 22 countries in the Arab League, 57 Islamic countries and 120 non-alignment countries… and only one Jewish state,” Ambassador Prosor told an audience at the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, in New York City, on Wednesday.

Because of the difficulty in receiving a majority of 193 possible votes, Israel has only sponsored three resolutions at the UN.

“The first resolution we sponsored, the very first thing we did at the UN, was to establish January 27 as Holocaust Memorial Day,” he said.

Afterwards, the strategy was to find areas where Israeli expertise played to the interests of even hostile powers. The second resolution, to support new Agriculture Technologies for Development, was his example.

“This was in everyone’s interest, and we saw the Arab countries, which would benefit more than anyone, all vote against it, work against it, and this will continue until they’re more interested in the prospects for their own people than condemning Israel.”

The measure, as a Second Committee resolution, is voted on biennially, being adopted in 2007, with 118 countries voting in favor; in 2009, with 131 votes; in 2011, with 133 votes; and in 2013, with 138 countries voting in favor.

The third resolution was about Entrepreneurship for Development, and Israel’s delegation secured 141 out of 193 possible votes.

“The Ambassador from Tanzania, stood up, and said, ‘I, too, condemn the situation of Palestinians, but I like Israel very much!'”

“I was so happy, I nearly hugged him!” Prosor said.

He said many other ambassadors would tell him “this is nothing personal,” and then turn around to condemn Israel or vote the opposite way.

The Israeli delegation’s policy, especially for relations with ambassadors from the Arab world, was, initially, to ignore their slurs. But with the human rights crises in the Middle East and the spread of access to international news, the Israeli delegation felt emboldened to change tactics.

“Now, when everyone goes against us, we will respond,” he said.

When Israel was asked about UN programs that support the rights of women in society, Prosor spoke about Golda Meir, Israel’s female prime minister, about Tzipi Livni, the female Justice Minister for the present Israeli government, and said he was happy to point to his colleagues from the Arab world, and ask where they stood “on women, on gays?”

“Now they see there’s a response from us, and they don’t want to be singled out, so they say nothing,” he said.

While tactics have changed, Prosor said the biggest impact on the Israeli delegation in the future will be from the changing dynamic in the Middle East, with Iran’s emergence leading delegations from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to think higher of their Israeli colleagues for standing up against the Iranian nuclear threat.

In the corridors of power at the UN, while other diplomats, always off the record, may be glad to see Israel standing taller at the institution “under the radar,” one accredited representative of an NGO at the UN said, for publication, that it was great news.

“It is intriguing, interesting and important that Israeli’s ambassador to the UN would make such an optimistic statement,” said Dr. Judy Kuriansky, representative to the United Nations for the International Association of Applied Psychology and the World Council for Psychotherapy. “In the context of the events that often happen here, it’s a credit to what the institution of the United Nations is meant to stand for.”

3 Comments

  • In the eye of the storm! What courage Ron Prosor has! Is there any other nation with such resolute goodwill on the face of the earth? I think not.

  • Should Iran get to testing an A bomb of its very own, it doesn’t take a prophet to see strange new alignments in the Middle East. Hopefully, the USA will have gone through a change in administrations that results in a far deeper understanding of the long term threat of radical Islam.

    Israel at the UN has long been a small voice deliberately unheard by those who still think its destruction should occur.
    Will this change? Hopefully those who can approach reality with pragmatism will begin opening dialogues with Israel.

    They can only benefit!

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 *

More...

  • Features Unpacking the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict and Its Ripple Effect on Israel’s Region

    Unpacking the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict and Its Ripple Effect on Israel’s Region

    JNS.org – Aside from Israel itself, those with a vested interest in the Jewish state are accustomed to tracking developments related to Middle East players such as Iran, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. But much global attention has recently focused on the Caucasus region at the Europe-Asia border, specifically on the suddenly intensified violence between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh area of western Azerbaijan. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, while not taking place in Israel’s immediate neighborhood, does have what one scholar called […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Features Earth Day 2016: Israel Shines in Water Technology, Recycling, Renewable Energy

    Earth Day 2016: Israel Shines in Water Technology, Recycling, Renewable Energy

    JNS.org – On Friday, April 22, 196 nations across the world mark Earth Day, the annual day dedicated to environmental protection that was enacted in 1970. Not to be forgotten on this day is Israel, which is known as the “start-up nation” for its disproportionate amount of technological innovation, including in the area of protecting the environment. For Earth Day 2016, JNS.org presents a sampling of the Jewish state’s internal achievements and global contributions in the environmental realm. Water conservation Israeli […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture World New Documentary Explores Holocaust Humor, Role That Laughter Played in Death Camps

    New Documentary Explores Holocaust Humor, Role That Laughter Played in Death Camps

    Holocaust humor and the role that laughter played in the lives of Jews during World War II are the focus of a documentary that made its world premiere on Monday at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. In The Last Laugh, first- and second-generation survivors, as well as famous Jewish and non-Jewish comedians, discuss their thoughts on when joking about the death camps is appropriate or taboo. “Nazi humor, that’s OK. Holocaust humor, no,” Jewish comedic giant, actor and filmmaker Mel Brooks says in the film. “Anything I […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Tragedy Culminates in ‘Celebration,’ Says Israeli Author Who Lost Son to Terror

    Tragedy Culminates in ‘Celebration,’ Says Israeli Author Who Lost Son to Terror

    JNS.org – Sherri Mandell’s life was devastated on May 8, 2001, when her 13-year-old son Koby was murdered by terrorists on the outskirts of the Israeli Jewish community of Tekoa. Yet Mandell not only shares the story of her loss, but also celebrates the lessons she has learned from tragedy. Indeed, “celebrate” is this Israeli-American author’s word choice. Her second book, The Road to Resilience: From Chaos to Celebration (Toby Press), came out earlier this year. The lesson: in every celebration, there is […]

    Read more →
  • Features Opinion For Alan Gross, Cuban Prison Didn’t Harden His Heart or Weaken His Ambition

    For Alan Gross, Cuban Prison Didn’t Harden His Heart or Weaken His Ambition

    JNS.org – Alan Gross used to be nothing more to me than a tragic headline. When I started my position at this news service in July 2011, Gross had been imprisoned in Cuba since December 2009 for what that country called “crimes against the state.” Gross, a subcontractor for the United States Agency for International Development, went to Cuba to help the Jewish community there access the Internet. After his arrest, he received a trial he describes as a “B movie,” […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Features New Movie Shows How Global Economic Instability Grew From Very Local Greed

    New Movie Shows How Global Economic Instability Grew From Very Local Greed

    JNS.org – When I saw the recent Academy Award-winning film “The Big Short,” I was struck by the sheer genius of the financiers who devised the schemes and packaged the loans for resale, but it left me with unanswered questions about how the properties these loans represented were moved. “The Big Short” was largely about paper transactions, big money, and wealthy investors, and it mildly touched on the way the actual end-users — the home buyers and brokers — played into this […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews Psychiatry and the Spirit

    Psychiatry and the Spirit

    Why do we think so negatively about psychiatrists that we still insult them by calling them shrinks? Some medics might be quacks, but we don’t generally refer to them as witches! Shrinks; The Untold Story of Psychiatry, by Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, is a sobering account of how psychiatry has swung from a marginal, unscientific mixture of weird theories into one of the most common and pervasive forms of treatment of what are commonly called “disorders of the mind.” Is it […]

    Read more →
  • Features Opinion At Forbes Summit in Israel, Entrepreneurship Is a ‘Common Language’

    At Forbes Summit in Israel, Entrepreneurship Is a ‘Common Language’

    JNS.org – Nine months ago, Seth Cohen, director of network initiatives for the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, and Randall Lane, editor of Forbes Magazine, were schmoozing about the “vibrancy of Tel Aviv and soul of Jerusalem,” as Lane put it. They dreamed about how they could bring young and innovative millennials to the so-called “start-up nation.” From April 3-7, Forbes turned that dream into a reality. Israel played host to the first-ever Forbes Under 30 EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa) […]

    Read more →