Yet Another Reason to Leave the U.N.

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No one familiar with the sordid history of the United Nations should be surprised at the moral idiocy recently on display in Turtle Bay, when the General Assembly cheered Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ demand for statehood despite offering Israel nothing in return. Yet those six decades of hypocrisy and failure are only the confirmation of the fatal weakness that necessarily characterizes a transnational institution presumably founded on shared beliefs, but in fact comprising sovereign nations each with its own interests and different conceptions of international morality. Indeed, the first attempt at such delusional internationalism, the League of Nations, within a few years of its founding was revealed to be what the U.N. would later become: just another tool for advancing state interests or avoiding action, all cloaked in hypocritical rhetoric.

That test of the League came in 1923, when Benito Mussolini used the murder of some Italian diplomats in Greece as a pretext for attempting to take over the island of Corfu. The Italian fleet sailed into the island’s main harbor and bombarded a fortress, killing 15 Armenian and Greek refugees. Harold Nicolson of the British Foreign office saw that this incident challenged the League’s viability: “Should the [League] Assembly fail, in such flagrant circumstances, to enforce obedience to the Covenant, it was realized that the authority of the League would be forever impaired.” Yet the League did nothing about this aggression, and in the end Greece was forced to pay reparations to Italy as the price of withdrawal. As the Secretary General of the League said at the time, “This challenge has brought into question the fundamental principles which lie at the root of the public law of the new world order established by the League.” As we all know, that failure to punish aggression was merely the first in a series that for the next two decades would pave the way for the cataclysm of World War II.

The U.N. had its own test, also just a few years after its founding. In 1947, the U.N. formally resolved to divide the British Mandate in Palestine into two states, that of Israel reduced to 20% of the territory originally promised for a Jewish homeland. Within a year the Arab nations belonging to the U.N., displeased with the will of the international community they freely joined, attacked Israel in “a war of extermination,” as the Arab League spokesman put it, “and a momentous massacre.” What people sometimes forget is that the attack also “brought into question the fundamental principles which lie at the root of the public law of the new world order established” by the U.N. The use of violence to resolve disputes already adjudicated by the collective will of the international community, and the failure of that community to defend and enforce its decision, exposed the U.N. as founded not on principle, but on national self-interest and expediency. Like the failure to punish Mussolini’s aggression, the failure to punish the Arab states for theirs left the authority of the U.N. “forever impaired.”

What followed that failure was a series of U.N. resolutions that demonized Israel and gave an institutional pass to terrorism. Resolution 2708, for example, passed in 1970 stated that the U.N. “reaffirms its recognition of the legitimacy of the struggle of the colonial peoples and peoples under alien domination to exercise self-determination and independence by all the necessary means at their disposal.” That last phrase, subsequently confirmed in other resolutions, legitimized terrorism specifically directed against Israel. It was no surprise that a mere four years later––years filled with terrorist murder by the Palestinian Liberation Organization, including the Munich Olympics massacre and the slaughter of school-children in Ma’alot and Qiryat Shemona–– P.L.O. leader Yasser Arafat addressed the General Assembly to tumultuous applause, brandishing a holster on his hip in the presumed venue of diplomatic negotiation intended to replace violence. As a further reward, the U.N. passed resolutions 3236 and 3237, which recognized the terrorist P.L.O. as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.

These U.N. actions resulted from that first failure in 1948 to exercise moral clarity and to identify and punish the aggressor, and they set the stage for the following half-century of violence in the Middle East and the subsequent armed aggression against Israel through war and terror.

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  • Ken

    THe UN is an impotent and irrelevant organization that is a blackhole for American tax dollars. The US should stop funding it and any foreign aid to other countries that are not concrete allies.

  • StephenD

    I say, make Donald Trump the Ambassador to the UN just long enough for him to empty the place and sell off the property! I can see it now…him shouting down the puffed up demigods from around the world and with a swift kick in the ass sending them scurring back to their fiefdoms.

  • J.L.Miller

    Curses on the UN. Arabs have 614 times more land than Israel, 22 islamic/ arab countries to the one democray, Israel and they think they need another?? Arabs never kept an agreement with Israel. Isreal sends truck loads of suppies to Gaza to be only to be stolen by Hamas & repaid with missiles fired at Israeli civilians. Why when the “Palestinan” have never been a counrty they cry about a “homeland” syria wants golan heights only to bomb Israel. Palentian want not a counrty but a terrorist base to attack Israel .why would they want a country so small?? Israel also has boosted the Palestian economy by 10% for several return they receive. Suicide bombers. To have a another arab/ islamic counrty on your borders with intent to destory you is nonsense. Abbas is just Arafat in a business suit.

  • Michael

    Never mind what Arabs want,rather mind what the idiotic Israeli policy is:"Isreal sends truck loads of supplies to Gaza to be only to be stolen by Hamas & repaid with missiles fired at Israeli civilians"

  • maturin20

    Moral clarity should govern US foreign policy? Why start now?

  • timespost

    You must see this:
    According to a "Cul el Arab" newspaper this person is designated as the next PA president.
    He says in this interview with Al Jazeera that Obama and Netanyahu are "scum" and that the ultimate goal of the Palestinians, is the destruction of Israel, but "it is not nice to say so" at the moment.

  • Flipside

    I was just thinking:

    "No one familiar with the sordid history of the New World should be surprised at the moral idiocy recently on display in Massachusetts Bay, when the General Assembly cheered Thomas Jefferson’s demand for statehood despite offering Britain nothing in return."

    • Ted

      What A tool!

    • Ken

      Tool does NOT begin to describe it!

      • Flipside

        Thanks, guys. All that matters is that you love each other.

    • Poppakap

      Moral equivalency at its finest. Indeed, the "flipside" of logic and rule of law.

      • Flipside

        Logic and the rule of law? Is that what you associate Israel with? I associate it with The Tories.

  • Asher

    The United Nations does not represent free societies any more. It is a Hodge Podge of Multiculturalists and Jihadists!

    • Flipside

      Don't forget to take your vitamin stack!

      • Boston

        And don't you forget to take your LSD.

        • Flipside

          Awwwww. Love from my hometown.

  • Cynic

    You should have mentioned Abbas’ involvement in the Maalot massacre and other terrorist actions.

  • Alexander Gofen

    "… the lack of any consistent unifying principles, morals, or values has turned the U.N. into a facilitator of aggression and an enabler of appeasement".

    It is not like something had turned the UN into a permanent podium for the worst of humankind at a certain point of the UN history. From the very beginning it had been found exactly as a permanent podium for the worst of humankind: founded by the worst of humankind such as Stalin!

    The mere idea that the West agreed to sit at the same table with cannibals (including literal ones) exemplified the suicide wish and grotesque appeasement of the West.

  • Mark

    Palestine is seeking recognition as a state. They are already recognized as a nation under international law; however, they do not have any land to call their own. Under Resolution 242, Israel has already withdrawn from more than 90% of the land they seized by winning in war. The Arab League, starting in 1967 continuing on today, refuses to allow any land for the Palestinians, refusal, not just in violation of Resolution 242, but in violation of decent human dignity and of the Palestinian people themselves.

  • mjazz

    Even if they get a state, the palestinians say their refugees will not be citizens:
    Listening to them is like listening to Obama.