Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu minced no words yesterday when he told the UN General Assembly that it must stop accommodating “the forces of terror.” And he properly scolded those who had remained in the room to hear the Holocaust-denying Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s “anti-Semitic rants” the day before. To make his point and demonstrate what a lying fool Ahmadinejad is, the Israeli prime minister held up, before the world organization, original copies of Nazi plans for the Holocaust. And he declared:
“To those who gave this Holocaust denier a hearing, I say on behalf of my people, the Jewish people, and decent people everywhere: Have you no shame? Have you no decency?”
Netanyahu, whose speech deserved to be shown in full on the cable networks, said what President Obama should have said in his speech to the General Assembly. Netanyahu pointed out how the Iranian regime is fueled by extreme fundamentalism with which rational discourse is impossible. It is this Islamic fanaticism, evident not only in Iran but in other parts of the Islamic world, that “has callously slaughtered Moslems and Christians, Jews and Hindus and many others.” And Netanyahu emphasized that we are facing a barbaric force that threatens our civilization via “the marriage between religious fanaticism and the weapons of mass destruction.”
While Obama said that the United States intends to re-engage fully with the United Nations and make amends for its alleged “unilateralism” of the past eight years, Netanyahu questioned the UN’s moral legitimacy. “Ladies and Gentlemen,” the prime minister told the General Assembly, “the jury is still out on the United Nations”.
I think that Netanyahu was actually being too kind. The proper verdict on the UN — especially the General Assembly, the Human Rights Council (whose membership is replete with human-rights abusers) and the many bloated, unaccountable bureaucratic agencies — is that it is hopelessly dysfunctional and devoid of any real moral authority.
The skepticism towards the UN shown by George W. Bush and former UN ambassador John Bolton was well-placed. The naive embrace of the UN by President Obama and our current UN ambassador, Susan Rice, is counter-productive and downright dangerous.