How Israel Achieved the Impossible at the UN
JNS.org – For years, we in Israel thought that the hostile reality at the United Nations was something unalterable. We became impervious to automatic condemnations and stopped getting upset when Palestinian incitement was met with open arms.
To clear the air of the antisemitism that pervaded the corridors of the organization, we launched a long but justified battle, possibly the most justified ever waged at the United Nations.
In the past few years, we have spearheaded a number of precedent-setting initiatives that helped us throw off the hostile atmosphere and strengthen our status in the organization.
It started on the day I was appointed chairman of the Justice Committee, an unprecedented occurrence that proved that Israel can win, even in the United Nations. The new balance of power stood out — especially when ambassadors from the countries hostile to Israel were forced, for the first time, to face a senior committee head who was also Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations and ask for the right to speak.
In every fight, we assemble the moral majority, led by our friend the United States. Together, we have led proposals for resolutions that were voted on in the General Assembly and designed to isolate nations that support terrorism and to block anti-Israel declarations.
Eighty-seven countries stood alongside Israel and the United States when we brought a resolution to condemn Hamas before the General Assembly. A broad coalition of nations openly stated that the loathsome terrorist group was an international problem.
We are also proudly making Jewish culture and legacy part of the organization. For the first time, Yom Kippur was recognized as an official UN holiday; furthermore, kosher food was made available in the cafeteria and Jewish holidays are marked by official events.
We have not allowed the rise of modern antisemitism to be ignored. The General Assembly was summoned for a special session to discuss the fight against antisemitism, and a proposed resolution to condemn hate crimes and antisemitic crimes was passed.
We have also fought against the Palestinians’ culture of lies alongside a true friend to Israel — former US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley. The time when the United States remained silent while the world condemned Israel is over. Together, we are fighting a just war that is strengthening Israel as well as the United States.
I’m proud to say that the United Nations is no longer a home court for those who oppose Israel. Terms like “war crimes” and the “Goldstone Report” are fading memories from a dark time in the organization’s history. In 2019, many countries are supporting Israeli initiatives in international forums and multilateral cooperation is rising.
Israeli innovation strengthens not only Israel, but the rest of the nations of the world as well. Israel’s cyber capabilities, a “superpower” as Singapore’s UN ambassador put it, are used to defend other countries too. The world body is being exposed to Israeli technology, and this past year, it invested $200 million in acquiring Israeli goods and services.
All these achievements are just the beginning. We will continue to represent Israel with our heads held high, and build many more bridges thanks to Israel’s amazing technology and spirit.
Danny Danon is Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations. A version of this article first appeared in Israel Hayom.