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Fighting the Good Fight Against UN-ophilia.

There is no unanimity among historians - and, in particular, among those who can claim to be experts about the origins of the First World War - about why and how the initial limited conflict, for which the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand served as a pretext, escalated into a war which drew in combatants from more than one continent and led to the deaths and maiming of millions of human beings.  There is however a broad consensus about the factors which led to the creation of the League of Nations and which included not only the widespread suffering and devastation brought about by this “war to end war”  but also the impossibility of re-establishing the old diplomatic order, which partly resulted from the destruction of many of the old empires.

Even if the United States had not followed a policy of selective isolationism and had become a fully fledged member of the League of Nations, it can be convincingly argued that this institution’s goals were too ambitious and that there was no realistic way, most of the time, of resolving conflicts according to the elevated principles it was supposed to represent.  It also happened on more than a few occasions, from very early on in this supra-national body’s history, that (perceived) national interests - as interpreted by delegates representing the more powerful member states or by their superiors - would be promoted and would prevail, regardless of League of Nations principles.  As in the case of the 1925 Locarno Pact - which was seen as giving preferential treatment to the territorial claims of countries in Western Europe to the detriment of countries like Czechoslovakia and Poland – the “sanctity” of the League of Nations could be exploited to give legitimacy to agreements or accords which promoted the former countries’ respective national interests.  Even though most of its members throughout the period of its existence continued to remain more or less free democracies – unlike most of the states which joined the United Nations – considerations of realpolitik became more and more influential. 

Fascist and Nazi sympathisers were not completely absent among the League of Nations’ officials and it came to pursue its own variant of appeasement during the period, 1933-1940, that Joseph Louis Anne Avenol, was its Secretary General.  Accused of acting as instrument of those decision makers in the French Foreign Office who supported the policy of reaching out to Mussolini’s Italy and Nazi Germany, Avenol was much more interested in keeping Italy within the League than with taking effective diplomatic action after Italy invaded Ethiopia in 1935.  A fervent Pétainiste late on, he envisioned “a new France, which was to be given a new soul to work in collaboration with Germany and Italy and keep the British out of Europe.”  By contrast, his successor, the Irishman Sean Lester (the absolute opposite of a career idealist like Mary Robinson) was a principled anti-Fascist who became an outspoken defender of persecuted Jews and in 1940 defeated Avenol’s attempts to hand the League of Nations over to the control of the Axis Powers. 

As stated above, not all conflicts lend themselves to resolution by peaceful means and when one of the parties is an aggressor promoting a murderously inflexible ideology like Nazism, there is no alternative to overwhelming military force.  The Kellogg–Briand Pact (officially the Pact of Paris) of 1928 was therefore one of the international agreements (signatory states promised not to use war to resolve "disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they may be, which may arise among them") which was doomed to fail.  Since the war-time alliance against the Axis states painstakingly forged - which culminated in the "Declaration" by United Nations issued on the 1st January 1942 by Churchill and Roosevelt, with 24 other states - played a not insignificant part in the construction of the League of Nations’ successor organisation (see Dan Plesch’s America, Hitler and the UN.  How the Allies Won World War II and Forged Peace, I.B. Tauris), it is a pity that, from the very beginning,  this lesson does not seem to been properly incorporated into the thinking of the many of those  active within the UN, including those who could be described as its foremost “decision-makers”. 

At best there have been several instances, going right back to the founding of the UN, when its representatives have constantly pressed for “peace negotiations” when they have no chance of succeeding and risk making matters worse.  At worst, in the case of conflicts where one party is indisputably an aggressor and the other one is the victim, both parties have been treated as if on an equal footing - especially when the aggressor is supported by a powerful bloc or coalition of states like the Arab League or the OIC.  As far as the UN’s institutional anti-Israelism is concerned - there from the very start - it has often made more difficult Israel’s struggle to survive, whether by arranging for cease-fires to be imposed, so as to let aggressors off the hook, or by other means. 

There have never been any General Assembly or Security Council resolutions condemning the Arab governments’ violation of fundamental UN principles in their dealing with Israel, never even the mildest criticism of their crimes against Israelis, and the provisions of Genocide Convention remain a dead letter.  Instead, Israel has become the permanent target of countless unjust UN-approved condemnations.  From the time that various kinds of dictatorial regime started to constitute the majority of UN member states, and in particular since historical turning points like the 1975 General Assembly Resolution equating Zionism with Racism and the orgy of antisemitism which was the 2001 Durban Conference on Racism, virtually all UN agencies have come to be contaminated with radical anti-Israelism - even those which have nothing to do with the “peace-keeping” or “peace-restoring” functions of the League of Nations’ successor organisation. 

It is true that, very occasionally, in the distant past, Israel, like other states, was able to benefit from the “good offices” of certain representatives of the UN, who could make possible the kind of useful face-saving meetings which would take place between officials representing governments which did not even recognise each other’s legitimacy (as argued by the great pro-Israeli journalist writer and historian Conor Cruise O’Brien, who was a member of the Irish delegation at the UN between 1956 and 1961).  This behind the scenes diplomacy exploited the fiction that this organisation was an “honest broker”, not corrupted by nationalistic bias.  Now UN diplomacy, in the Middle East as elsewhere, more often than not does much more harm than good.

There is a tiny minority of people, like the truly admirable professor and Canadian Senator Irwin Cotler, who are devoted to the founding principles of the UN and, far from covering up the serious abuses within it, constantly fight battles against these – battles which (alas!) they constantly lose.  Many, if not most, UNO-philes, however, at best gloss over the evils done in the name of the UN and the so-called “international community” and at worst are apologists for the radical - and in an increasing number of cases - exterminationist anti-Israelism which predominates within its agencies and affiliated bodies, including the highly politicised International Criminal Court.  (To define as a war crime, as a violation of humanitarian law, the policy of allowing a country’s citizens to purchase land and to live in territory whose status is disputed devalues the whole concept. This, nonetheless, is what the Arab League inspired Article 8(2) (b) (viii) of the 1998 ICC Statute says, “[t]he transfer, directly or indirectly, by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies” constitutes a war crime in international armed conflicts”.  Needless to say, the Statute says nothing about imposing the death penalty for selling land to Jews.)

Israelis are, of course, not the only victims of all that has gone terribly wrong within the UN.  Even the soldiers of powerful nations, of superpowers like the United States, are increasingly at risk of falling foul of UN-inspired perversions of justice like the Goldstone Report.  There must be resolute and unceasing opposition to any attempts, under the auspices of the UN, to impose excessive restrictions upon countries fighting justifiable and necessary wars – whether regarding military rules of engagement or the use of completely legitimate instruments of war like drones (falsely described as being designed to kill civilians indiscriminately).  Any restrictions which, if applied during the Second World War, would have jeopardised or put in serious doubt the allied victory over the Nazis and the Axis powers should be resisted.  Any temptation to join the ICC which exists within the US administration must be relentlessly fought. 

And, last but not least, the moral and intellectual corruption of UNO-philes and of past and present UN officials like Mary Robinson, Navi Pillay, Richard Falk and Alfred de Zayas - who are also enablers of exterminationist anti-Israelism - must be constantly exposed.

Prone to give credence to the most extreme accusations against Israel, Mary Robinson has, in the course of her career, often been quite vocal about presumed Israeli misdeeds.   As documented in the archives of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre and elsewhere, like many other “progressives” the then chief of the United Nations Commission on Dictators’ (sorry Human)  Rights, was largely silent about UN-fostered hostility to Jews both during the preparatory meetings which led up to the August/September 2001 Durban Conference and during much of the main event.  She did not express herself about the openly anti-Jewish campaigns of intimidation and the systematic discrimination against Jewish NGOs (whether or not concerned with Israeli matters) which was occurring throughout this “antiracism” conference until media coverage of these became too embarrassing. 

After herself being personally embarrassed by seeing representatives of the Arab Lawyers Union giving out material which purveyed a Nazi-style antisemitism at a dinner bringing together many of the NGOs involved in Durban 1, Saint Mary felt impelled to speak out about the behaviour of her “friends”:  “The aim of the conference is to promote human dignity.  My husband is a cartoonist; I love political cartoons, but the racism in the collection of cartoons issued by the Arab lawyers Union make me feel like saying I’m Jewish, out of solidarity with the people targeted.  I know that you will find it difficult to understand me, but you are my friends, therefore I say to you I am a Jew and I will not permit such tactics to sabotage the conference.  The purpose of the conference is to discuss racial discrimination, not to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

Navi Pillay, head of the Dictators’ (sorry Human) Rights Council constantly minimised the antisemitism of the first Durban conference when promoting the second, falsely claiming that the anti-Jewish NGOs were marginal (is the World Council of Churches, actively complicit with the systematic discrimination against the Jewish NGOs, a marginal organisation?)  Because of the extreme nature of Ahmadinejad’s keynote speech, she felt she had to say something, but limited herself to deploring the Iranian leader’s rhetorical excesses, making no mention of his promotion of various antisemitic lies, including Holocaust denial.  Then as now, she has always been careful not to criticise Iranian official antisemitism, its support for the destruction of Israel and the presence within the Iranian government of a man on an Interpol wanted list for involvement in the 1994 mass murder of Argentinian Jews. 

If, once or twice, at the beginning of her career, she used a few words to make token mention of Southern Israel’s victims of rockets and missiles, in the course of attacking Israel for the “tragedy” of Gaza, she is now unable even to mention terrorist attacks on Israelis like the recent bus bombing in Bulgaria.   She never answered a UN-Watch organised “Appeal to UN High Commissioner of Human Rights Navi Pillay on myth of Palestinian organ stealing”, concerning the reproduction of such lies on an official UN website.  It goes without saying that she fully endorses the thoroughly dishonest pseudo-report issued in the name of Richard Goldstone Report.  (See also Anne Bayefsky’s article “Meet the UN's anti-Israel 'anti-discrimination' czar, Navi Pillay”)

There is hardly any need to give any further information about pathological hater of Israel (and “9/11 Truther”) Richard Falk.  Alfred de Zayas is the object of a campaign by UN-Watch:  “The U.N. Human Rights Council recently appointed Alfred De Zayas as one of its top experts. His many books on World War II portray Germans as victims and the Allies as perpetrators of "genocide." He hates Israel and has called for its suspension from the UN and the denial of accreditation to Israeli delegates.”

Paul Leslie is a Contributing Writer for The Propagandist


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