When Israel Had a Champion at the UN

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Reprinted from Jerusalem Post.

Editor’s note: Peter Collier is the author of the recently published, “Political Woman: The Big Little Life of Jeane Kirkpatrick” (Encounter Books, 2012). To order it, click here.

Jeane Kirkpatrick experienced an epiphany shortly after Ronald Reagan appointed her America’s permanent representative at the UN in 1981 when Israel’s ambassador Yehuda Blum came to her office for his first official visit.

She had been appalled during the previous four years by what she regarded as the Carter administration’s contemptuous attitude toward the Jewish state, and particularly by the way that preceding UN ambassadors Andrew Young and Donald McHenry had, respectively, criticized the Jewish state as “stubborn and intransigent” (and met secretly with the PLO representative), and voted for Resolution 465 condemning Israel’s occupation of “Arab territories including Jerusalem.”

But she didn’t realize how deeply these attitudes had penetrated the US mission until she saw the way the career foreign service officers she inherited from the previous administration dismissively referred to Blum by his first name and rudely interrupted him on this first visit. She sternly pointed out to them that Blum was a Holocaust survivor who spoke nine languages, and angrily ordered them out of the room.

“You can see what it has been like for Israel here,” Blum told her after they sat down. Kirkpatrick replied, “It will be different now. No one will be treated better in this mission than Israel.”

And this was true. She and Blum cooperated on several initiatives and often escaped with key staff members for private strategy dinners at a small restaurant in Brooklyn they both favored. The personal relationship was political for Kirkpatrick. Seeing the hatred of Israel in her first days at the UN, she told her colleague Richard Schifter with a stricken look on her face, “I think the Holocaust is possible again. I didn’t think so before I came to the UN, but I think so now.”

She brought this feeling to president Reagan who agreed with her that the US had to stand against “the obsessive vilification of Israel.” Along with preventing the spread of Marxism-Leninism in Central America and driving a stake through the heart of the Soviet Union, this became Kirkpatrick’s chief objective during her time at the UN.

After the bombing of Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981, she argued strenuously that the US should simply abstain from the resolution advanced by Iraq after the attack calling for sanctions against Israel but was overruled by the State Department.

She then worked behind the scenes to get the resolution watered down to a condemnation and made her feelings known when even this question was called by raising her hand reluctantly to half mast and allowing a look to cross her face of someone who has just detected a fecal odor in the room.

Kirkpatrick defended Israel by her unyielding critique of what it faced at the UN. Charging that diplomacy regarding the “Arab- Israeli conflict” at the world body “has nothing to do with peace, but is quite simply a continuation of war against Israel by other means,” she said that the UN, as a result, had become a place where “moral outrage was distributed like violence in a protection racket”; a place where Israel is regularly and routinely attacked for manufactured crimes amidst deafening silence “when 3 million Cambodians died in Pol Pot’s murderous utopia… when a quarter million Ugandans died at the hands of Idi Amin… and when thousand of Soviet citizens are denied equal rights, equal protection of the law; denied the right to think, write, publish, work freely or emigrate.”

She pointed out repeatedly that hatred of Israel deformed all aspects of UN operations: “A women’s conference is suddenly transformed into a forum for the denunciation of Israel” because of assertions that “the biggest obstacle to the realizations of women’s full enjoyment of equal rights in the world is Zionism….A meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency becomes so absorbed in negotiations and debate over a resolution to expel Israel that it almost forgets to worry about nuclear non proliferation.”

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  • lugnut

    Israel belongs to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, NOT ALLAH, WHO EVER HE IS, anyone who interferes with her will be dealt with by him. Genesis 12:3 "I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you" DON'T MESS WITH ISRAEL!

    • Herbster

      Amen! Book of Joel. 3:10 "Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears."

  • RonaldCarnine

    To demonize Israel is to do the work of the devil who comes "but to steal, kill and destroy". I'm a bit perturbed that some bloggers at this and other sites often take a cowardly swipe at Israel which is not justified. Israel is bombed, threatened and lied about by those who are ignorant of the truth, or deliberately lie about her. She shows tremendous restraint and usually only acts when an attack goes just a little too far. Israel tries to avoid civilian casualties and is the only nation in the Middle East to do so. Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood as well as others intentionally attack civilians (including 8 mo. old babies) and then make some lame excuse that they only did so because Israel provoked it. Thank God some will stand and defend her, we need a new representative to the UN who will boldly defend her. Until then, we "little people" must carry the torch and support her by our words and our votes. Anything less than this is a travesty.

    • Snorbak

      I am continually infuriated by the outrageous, ridiculous & often lame attacks against made against Israel however, I dont despair & I am encouraged by the fact that, through God, the end result is guaranteed. The sad reality is that the situation will get far worse before it gets better.
      Whilst there are many individuals that support Israel, sadly it counts for little as their governments do not, including those of the US, Great Britian & my own down here is Aus to name a few, & the UN is just a worthless slagging pit of corruption & hatred.
      Actions not words, demonstrate your friendship to another, Israel is alone.
      Sadly, Israel will ultimately soon become the pariah state of the world whereby the "final solution" will be enacted once again & this time it wont be one nation involved but all……food for thought!

  • Bamaguje

    Brave woman.
    Today she would have been denounced as an 'Israel firster.'

    • UCSPanther

      And ironically, so-called "Israel-Firsters" have actually been way greater patriots than virtually all of the anti-Israel nutters.

  • Neils60

    Perhaps, if Mitt Romney is elected this fall, another individual with Ms. Kirpatrick's most important attributes, a sense of fairness and impeccable integrity, will take the reigns as our UN Ambassador. Former UN Ambassador, John Bolton, would be a terrific choice for America. Then, again, Mr. Bolton's talents might better be utilized as our next Secretary of State.

    • Herbster

      Secretary od State would be my choice for Bolton. How about an outsider for the U.N. Post? Lynn Cheney? Smart and politically savvy. Pro Israel. Here's another outsider to consider. Smart. Politically savvy. Does not back down from a fight. Principled. Has two flags in her office. The American Flag and the Israeli Flag. This person is not Jewish, but wears a large Star of David quite often. You guessed it – my first choice for the U.N. post………Sarah Palin.

  • BS77

    It was dismal to see how the libstream media did everything in its power to attack, defame, belittle and insult Sarah Palin during Sen . Mc Cain's presidential run back in 2008. The media is a force to be reckoned with, since most people do not think…they just watch TV news and nod, duh, yeah, duh duh, yeah……………..

  • Choi

    GOD BLESS Jeanne Kirkpatrick ,George Schultz,and Ronald Reagan.
    GOD DAMN. Casper Weinberger.

  • Brujo Blanco

    Todays liberals are like yesterdays Nazis when it comes to Jews. Jew hatred is unjustified because it was based on lies.

  • SoCalMike

    The current infestation of America-hating Israel-hating dirt bags at the State Department has obviously been around for a long time.
    Just how did some unelected bureaucrat OVERRULE Reagan and Kirkpatrick on the Osirak condemnation??
    These malignant parasites need to be excised out of power.
    These same malignant parasites give "aid" money to North Korea and Pakistan to develop nuclear weapons.
    The same give money arms and advanced military training to the PLO.
    These poisonous parasites need to go.