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June 15, 2016 1:54 pm

Amid Qatari Report of Arab States Voting For Israel to Lead UN Legal Committee, Ambassador Danon Touts ‘Importance’ of Historic Move

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Israel's Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon is the first Israeli representative to chair one of the UN's permanent committees. Photo: Israel at the UN.

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon is the first Israeli representative to chair one of the UN’s permanent committees. Photo: Israel at the UN.

Amid reports about a number of Arab countries secretly voting in favor of Israel’s chairmanship of a prestigious United Nations committee, Israel’s ambassador to the UN told The Algemeiner on Wednesday that he “recognizes the importance of the 109 countries that voted for us.”

Ambassador Danny Danon was responding to a report in the London-based Qatari daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi, according to which at least four unnamed Arab states did not join efforts on the part of a coalition of Arab and Muslim countries to thwart Israel’s candidacy to lead the UN General Assembly Sixth Committee — also known as the UN Legal Committee — and in fact voted in support of Israel.

Danon was elected on Monday to chair the committee — a move that is being hailed as historic, as he will be the first Israeli representative to lead a permanent UN committee since Israel joined the international body in 1949.

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According to a translation of the Arabic Al-Quds Al-Arabi report provided by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), “diplomatic sources” told the newspaper that “at least four Arab countries supported the Israeli candidate.” Further proof cited by the Qatari daily was that “Danon’s statement [following the vote] included no criticism of the Arab group” which attempted to thwart Israel’s nomination. 

While Danon was unable to comment on the number of Arab countries that supported Israel — since, as he pointed out, voting took place through secret ballot — he did tell The Algemeiner, “This victory sends the message that Israel intends to play a significant role in the international arena for years to come.”

“Israel is a full member of the UN and will not be treated as a second-class citizen in the parliament of nations. We will not allow dictatorships and anti-Israel countries to harm our standing in the international community,” he said. “Those who tried to block our appointment would be well advised to take note of the jurisdiction of this committee, as they have much to learn about international law.”

The Sixth Committee is the UN’s primary forum focusing on issues of international law and combating terrorism. Nominating the chairmanship for the legal forum is based on a rotation system among the various geographic zones. This year, the 28 member states of the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) voting bloc — which includes almost all western European countries, Turkey, Canada, Australia, Israel, New Zealand and the US as an observer — were responsible for nominating the next leader of the committee.

Danon received 109 votes out of a possible 193, with Arab and Muslim oppositionists writing in their own candidate. 

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  • Jay Lavine

    Let’s save the “prestigious” for the deceptive PR releases. Prestige is for those estranged from God, something that fills the inner void. Real Jews do what they do out of a sense of service, avodat hashem. What is important to them is the depth and significance of their accomplishments, not recognition from others.

    People respect those who respect themselves. Actively seeking esteem from others is a lost cause. Self-respect comes from following the Jewish way of life.

  • The genesis of positive developments in that arena?! I’m skeptical, but also optimistic.

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