Anti-Israel Resolution Makes U.N. Look ‘Foolish,’ Mideast Expert Says

Thursday, June 03, 2010
By Matt Cover, Staff Writer

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( – The rapid condemnation of Israel by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), made without a full knowledge of the facts, makes the international body look “ridiculous,” says a leading Middle East expert.
“It makes the United Nations look ridiculous when it comes to solving world problems,” Michael Rubin, a Middle East scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, told  “After all, the United Nations reacted much more swiftly and with much more fervor to this than they did with regard to the North Korean sinking of the South Korean boat, which could precipitate a war that could kill millions.”
North Korea attacked and sank the South Korean naval vessel Cheonan on March 26, sparking the South to cut off all ties to its northern neighbor. In response, North Korea, a Communist dictatorship, threatened that any further confrontations could lead to war, pointing to its stockpile of nuclear weapons.
Rubin said that the UNSC “has become its own parody” in moving so swiftly to condemn Israel but not moving at all to condemn North Korea.
The UNSC statement, issued May 31, “condemns” Israel’s actions in boarding a fleet carrying pro-Hamas activists, an operation in which activists aboard one of the vessels attacked Israeli sailors who had boarded the boat. Ten of the so-called activists were killed when the Israeli sailors returned fire in what Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called self-defense.
However, the UNSC condemnation repeatedly admits that the Security Council has no “independent information” and no idea as to the actual chain of events.
According to the statement, U.N. Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, who briefed the Security Council on the incident, nonetheless “[made] clear the United Nations has no ‘independent information on what transpired.’”
Fernandez-Taranco also told the council that “it is not possible to state definitively the sequence or details of what happened.”
Nevertheless, the council condemned Israel, citing the loss of civilian life and saying, “The Council, in this context, condemns those acts which resulted in the loss of at least 10 civilians and many wounded, and expresses its condolences to their families.”
The UNSC condemnation does not offer condolences or express its regret for the six Israeli sailors who were injured after being attacked by activists with knives, stun grenades, and guns.
The statement, which all Security Council members have a hand in drafting, shows that President Barack Obama has “forfeited” all credibility on Middle East issues, Rubin said, because the facts of the case clearly show that the Israeli sailors were attacked by the activists.
“The Obama administration has forfeited any moral clarity it had,” said Rubin. “When it comes to Israel, the president is much more comfortable acting as a zoning commissioner than he is acting as a leader of the free world.”
In fact, the U.S. portion of the statement, written by Deputy Ambassador Alejandro Wolff, said that Israel should submit to a “credible and transparent” investigation. Wolff’s statement did not condemn the attacks on Israeli sailors by protesters, saying only that trying to break the Israeli blockade was “not appropriate or responsible.”
The U.S. statement also echoed the calls from Lebanon, China, and Russia for Israel to end its naval blockade, an operation designed to prevent Hamas terrorists from getting weapons, money, and explosives.
Jim Phillips, a Middle East and terrorism analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation, told that the U.N. was “piling on” in support of Hamas because the activists had clearly intended to create an international incident.
“This whole operation was set up [by the activists] to promote a clash to discredit Israel and provide aid and comfort to Hamas,” he said. “Unfortunately, the U.N. is piling on in support of Israel’s enemies.”
Phillips said the statement reflected that the U.N. was “institutionally” anti-Israel, a fact he attributed to the reality that its members include such nations as Iran, Venezuela, and Saudi Arabia and other anti-Israel states.
“Institutionally, the U.N. substantively is anti-Israel, in part because it’s made up of a body of nations, some of which are extremely anti-Israel,” said Phillips. “This incident, unfortunately, paints Israel in a very bad light.”
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