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July 1, 2016 2:57 am

Ban Ki-Moon Does Not Deserve a Prize

avatar by Judith Bergman

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United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said, "The closure of Gaza suffocates its people." Photo: World Economic Forum.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said, “The closure of Gaza suffocates its people.” Photo: World Economic Forum.

Some things just do not make any sense, whichever way you look at them. Tel Aviv University’s award of ‎the George S. Wise Medal, its highest honor, to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is one of those things. ‎

When I first heard about it, I thought someone had come up with an excellent piece of satire, because ‎what could possibly make less sense than Israelis giving the UN chief, who presides over the most Israeli-‎bashing organization (granted, in close competition with the European Union), an honorary award? Perhaps if it were an honorary award for passing the most anti-Israeli ‎resolutions in any given year, while ignoring every tyranny and dictatorship in the world — sorry, not ‎ignoring, appointing them to important positions on the UN Human Rights Council.‎

There was a tragicomic undercurrent to Ban’s acceptance speech, in which he said that he ‎‎was accepting it “in the name of all the women and men of the United Nations working to advance peace, ‎development and human rights around the world and around the clock.” Never have the UN’s de facto goals ‎and efforts been more mischaracterized.‎

Never missing a chance to mischaracterize events on the ground in Israel as well, Ban encouraged ‎Israel to “not allow the extremists on either side to further fuel the conflict. Palestinian and Israeli leaders ‎must stand firm against terror, violence and incitement,” again giving credence to the lie that there is a ‎reciprocal “cycle of violence” instead of one-sided Palestinian Arab terrorism and PA incitement to kill Jews. ‎He also rehashed the old tropes about Israeli “occupation,” essentially repaying the honor Tel Aviv ‎University had bestowed on him with the customary insults that Israel has grown sadly used to when it ‎comes to the UN. ‎

Ban concluded: “I strongly believe that members of the international community must ‎exercise their collective and individual influence to help reach the common destination: an end to the ‎occupation which will soon enter its 50th year, and the establishment of two states for two peoples living ‎side by side in peace, security and mutual recognition.” He even spoke of “responsibility,” using the Hebrew ‎word, “achrayut.” ‎

Yet it is hard to imagine a less responsible actor than the UN and the international community. It is precisely ‎the collective effort of the international community, particularly the UN and the EU, that keeps the PA ‎incitement and terrorism alive by giving it credibility and treasure and ceaselessly singling out Israel for blame. ‎Without the international community, this conflict would have ended long ago. As is customary in all things ‎UN, Ban had bleached out all references to PA-instigated terrorism — the murderous stabbings, ‎shootings and car ramming attacks on Israeli civilians — from his speech. Clearly, according to Ban, ‎there is complete moral equivalence between Israel and the PA. ‎

During his visit, Ban went to visit a school in Gaza, where he boldly stated that “the closure of ‎Gaza suffocates its people, stifles its economy and impedes reconstruction efforts. … It’s a collective ‎punishment for which there must be accountability.”

It is these kinds of manipulative statements, falsely implying that there is a blockade of Gaza affecting civilians, which Ban apparently considers a “responsible” exercise of his high office for the purpose of resolving the conflict. His statements, after all, are reproduced by media and quoted as truth. His remark about “reconstruction efforts” is particularly heinous. As of November 2015, 25 million tons of construction materials had been brought in, 2,733 homes had been rebuilt, and 100,513 homes had been repaired or were in the process of being repaired. In addition, 241 international large-scale projects were under construction.

The blockade is for one purpose only: stopping Hamas from rebuilding its abilities to launch missiles and terror attacks against Israel, and as such, its de facto a weapons embargo. Israel has provided and continues to provide Gaza with millions of tons of humanitarian supplies, including food, medicine and water. What Ban said is factually untrue.

However, Ban also spoke in complete disregard of his own organization’s legal judgment: In a ‎report from 2011 in which the UN reviewed Israel’s response to the Turkish-based flotilla to Gaza in 2010, ‎the UN noted: “Israel faces a real threat to its security from militant groups in Gaza. The naval blockade was ‎imposed as a legitimate security measure in order to prevent weapons from entering Gaza by sea and its ‎implementation complied with the requirements of international law.”

The blockade is legal under ‎international law. By pretending it is not and peddling the kind of false statements that he did in Gaza ‎the other day, the only thing Ban achieved was the further erosion of the rule of international law. ‎

The question that remains as a bad aftertaste is why an Israeli university, of all places, found it appropriate ‎to bestow on this man its highest honor.

Judith Bergman is a writer and political analyst living in Israel. Twitter: @judithbergman. This article was originally published by Israel Hayom. 

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  • The author writes, “Yet it is hard to imagine a less responsible actor than the UN and the international community.” I’ll suggest a less responsible actor – Tel-Aviv University. When I read the title of this article it never occurred to me that the undeserved “prize” given to Ban Ki-Moon turned out to be proffered by an Israeli public university.

    Where was the outcry, where was the condemnation when this honoree was announced. The President of Ben-Gurion University had the good sense to ban the granting of an award to Breaking the Silence which a department of the university intended to bestow. Why was the voice of the Tel Aviv University administration not heard regarding this travesty?

    Judith Begman nicely refuted the falsehoods uttered, either in ignorance or malice, by Ban Ki-Moon, but we’re all generally aware of the true story. What she should have focussed upon was the question she raised in her final sentence, “…why an Israeli university, of all places, found it appropriate to bestow on this man its highest honor.” The encouragement of anti-semitism perpetrated by this act will reverberate among the Haters of Israel throughout the world.

  • Keith

    It’s not true that Ban doesn’t deserve an award: He has earned the “Paper-Pusher of the Year” award. The award should consist of getting a paper cut in some inconvenient location.

  • nat cheiman

    He should have said “The firing of rockets kills innocent people”. But the UN is devoid of any equity

  • A frightened dog praises the man who beats it – perhaps the only explanation for this “honor” to an antisemitic moron.

  • This kind of transparent ridiculous event is caused by fears from within UN and from within Israel! Our tiny small glob is becoming pal as the collective human brains do. It is like entering offices having nothing to do caused by too mush to do, losing control of what had to be done earlier, which now a day we observe the entire glob politics is confused, because there are people in politics who does sees matters from few points of views forgetting that “time brains” did change where politicians did become old fashion thinker not been able to master the global complex using “words symbolic” to protect they jobs without doing their actually jobs. We need new minds!, Been able to stop causes of fears caused by week simple politician minds and move on into the roots causes of hates among men. To day politicians are business people not politicians. Great politician are often created by wars. A human sad historical known affair, we see people round the world living in triviality having no connection with reality living in close box mind “ created by media manipulations” guided by fake business politicians.
    As the owner of Face Book who is pretending to give out his entire fortune to people business men who did invest money in Face Book, who are establishing fake non – profit aid foundations to manipulate defenseless naïve people worldwide, making more money than they did invest in Face Book. Ask Ban Ki –Moon! The owner of Face Book did build a high wall round his house isolating him self from the entire world was against Donald trump idea of a wall on USA Mexico border, it was a Donald Trump Jock, because a president can not build a border wall by his own decision! Face Book owner is gradually targeted by political business men into “ brain isolation!” Felling that something is not as it should and can not do anything about it! It becomes to complicated to get out of hell.

  • Ban should be banned. He deserves the Islam Death Prize for supporting Islam

  • Leslie Benjamini

    Sometimes for some inexplicable reason Israel is its own worst enemy.

  • Linda Golden

    I find this award incomprehensible. Has anyone looked into who decided he deserved this award? He is one of the most ineffectual people on the planet. The United Nations is such a worthless organization, why the US still supports it is a mystery. The biggest human rights abusers on the planet…Saudi Arabia, China, Russia and the banana republics we call the Middle East consistently bash the only democracy in the region. This award and the awardee are a joke. Kudos to Judith Bergman on this article.

  • Andria SWITZER

    You have to ask how the university could debase its prize. Did they take the nomination info? Do they owe somebody something? Is there hope than Ban KiMoon will suddenly realize Israel exists and he’s been party to lies and treachery? He neither deserves the prize nor can be proud of accomplishing anything. The UN has failed to keep any peace, as a CE democracy, educate the least educated, eliminate discrimination and is especially guilty of forgetting g the Holocaust.

  • manley kiefer

    I’m unaware of Ban Ki-Moon’s stance in regard to other countries but he is the head of a hard core anti Israel UN and therefore biased. I have no idea why we are a member or pay any attention to their so called findings, which are mostly against Israel?

  • Hasi

    A prize? For sure he deserves one. A bag of warm dog turds.