US Fights For Israel
Amid speculation that US-Israel relations are strained by misunderstanding, the United States of America this week defended Israel at the United Nations.
In her remarks on “The Meaning of U.S. Partnership to Israel at the United Nations and in Middle East Peace” at the HaaretzQ Conference in New York City, US Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, highlighted U.S. efforts to defend Israel at the United Nations and and to fight every day for something that no nation should actually have to fight for: the ability to be treated just like any other country.
Ambassador Power stated that UN is an institution that celebrates in its charter “the equal rights of nations large and small.” However, this does not happen with Irael.
“And yet, as you know well, unfortunately the UN has been a place where Israel is not always treated fairly.” – Ambassador Power
Amid the declaration by the UN General Assembly that Zionism as “a form of racism,” bias against Israel at the UN does persist.
Bias Against Israel is Evident in UN
According to Ambassador Power, Member States in UN have sought to use the Security Council, the General Assembly, the Human Rights Council, and other UN institutions as platforms to try to delegitimize the country. An when this happens, the pushes back.
The UN Human Rights Council has only one permanent agenda item devoted to a single country: that’s Israel.
“Think about the absurdity of that for the moment given the state of the world.” – Ambassador Power
She stressed that the one country in the world with a standing agenda item is not Syria, which gasses its people and barrel bombs them without mercy. Unfortunately, it is Israel.
To cite more biases against Israel, Ambassador Power said that before the United States rejoined the Human Rights Council in 2009, more than half of all country-specific resolutions it adopted focused on Israel.
“That is many more resolutions than are dedicated to North Korea.” – Ambassador Power
To address these biases, the U.S. has helped cut the proportion of Israel-focused resolutions in half – to one-quarter of all resolutions.
US Fights for Israel in UN
According to Ambassador Power, the US fights relentlessly for Israel’s full and equal participation in UN bodies.
She cited that for years Israel was the “only” UN Member State that was excluded from being in a regional body at the UN in Geneva; it was an orphan.
“And in New York, though its voting record coincided with other countries in a like-minded human rights caucus, Israel was shut out.” – Ambassador Power
With the help of the US, after a sustained, full court diplomatic press, Israel’s permanent membership was realized in what’s called the “Western European and Others Group” – the group that the United States also belongs to in January 2014.
In addition, in February 2014, they were able to secure Israel’s membership in that like-minded human rights caucus from which it should never have been excluded.
Why Does U.S. Fight So Hard for Israel’s Equal Treatment at the UN?
According to Ambassador Power, there are many reasons why the US fights for Israel in UN.
One, Israel has shown time and again how much its contributions can benefit the UN and the world.
“There’s a lot of suffering out there.” – Ambassador Power
Israel can help more in response to global humanitarian crises like the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa. This is a cause to which Israel gave one of the highest per capita contributions in the world and at the same time it delivered critically important mobile Ebola treatment units to the most affected countries.
Also, with U.S. logistic help, Israel deployed an entire field hospital and 200 personnel within four days of the earthquake in Haiti.
“Why on Earth would anyone in the international community want to stand in the way of such efforts?” – Ambassador Power
Another reason the US fights for a seat at the table for Israel because it recognizes that efforts that seek to delegitimize Israel actually end up delegitimizing the United Nations.