Analysis: Should Israel Fear the UN?


un-united-nationsBy Moshe Phillips and Benyamin Korn

President Obama is now reportedly threatening to support –or to at least not veto– a United Nations Security Council resolution demanding creation of a Palestinian state on Israel’s doorstep.

Why? Because Obama apparently wants to punish Israeli voters for democratically re-electing Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader they preferred, rather than the kind of leadership Obama wants Israel to have. Obama’s latest threat is intended to force Netanyahu into forming a governing coalition with the Israeli left.

But does the UN vote really matter? Keep in mind that such a UN resolution would have no practical impact, since the UN has no way to enforce it. The real purpose of the resolution would be to intimidate Israel and its supporters to make more concessions. Should we take such pressure seriously? And should Netanyahu, who is himself a former Israeli ambassador to the UN?

Employing the Hebrew acronym for the UN, “Oom,” Ben-Gurion in 1955 dismissively remarked “Oom-shmoom,” using a Yiddishism to sum up his perspective. Ben-Gurion understood that Israel had to act to safeguard its national security, regardless of whether that made the Jewish state unpopular at the UN.

That’s why he took such steps as the preemptive strike at Nasser, the construction of the Dimona nuclear reactor, the capture and trial of Adolf Eichmann (which was condemned by various countries) and the imposition of strict security measures in the Israeli Arab community.

Ben-Gurion also recognized the inherent moral weakness of the UN. Every country, no matter how oppressive or bellicose, has the same voting power in the UN General Assembly as an enlightened, peaceful, and democratic state. One country, one vote.

Genocidal Sudan is equal to progressive Canada.

Misogynistic Saudi Arabia is equal to egalitarian Belgium.

A country where black Africans are enslaved, such as Mauritania, is equal to a country that has rescued black Africans, such as Israel.

A country ruled by a king, such as Jordan, is equal to a country run by a democratically-elected president or prime minister.

An aggressor is equal to its victim.

The UN Security Council is equally problematic. Russia, which is now busy gobbling up Ukraine, and China, which arms terrorist regimes and genocide-perpetrators around the world, enjoy the same veto power as the other permanent members of the Security Council — France, Britain, and the United States. Furthermore, every country, no matter how oppressive or undemocratic, gets its turn among the Security Council’s ten non-permanent seats.

Many countries cast their votes not on the basis of what is right or wrong, of what is just or unjust, but rather according to their narrow interests, their fear of Arab oil suppliers, or their Marxist principles.

That’s why just last month, the UN Commission on the Status of Women voted 27 to two to condemn Israel for “occupying” Palestinian women, 98% of whom are actually live under the rule of the Palestinian Authority. The accusers included well-known deniers of women’s rights such as Iran, Sudan, and, yes, the Palestinian Authority itself.

A UN Security Council resolution on Palestinian statehood would likewise be a moral farce. Those who vote in favor will not be considering whether such a state would be a democracy or a dictatorship; whether or not “Palestine” would endanger Israel; or what the Palestinian Authority’s track record reveals about how a Palestinian state would behave.

Such real-world considerations have no place in the absurd, upside down fantasy world in which the United Nations dwells. That’s why whenever someone threatens to pass some nasty resolution at the UN, Israel and its friends should recall the simple wisdom of Ben-Gurion: “Oom, shmoom!”

[Moshe Phillips is president and Benyamin Korn is chairman of the Religious Zionists of Philadelphia, and both are current candidates on the Religious Zionist slate ( in the World Zionist Congress elections.]

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  1. The 2 on the losing end of the 27 to 2 vote in the UN Commission on the Status of Women were Israel and the United States. That is one of five pro-Israel votes the US has cast in the past three weeks.

    The leading Israeli opponent to Ben Gurion’s harsh military rule of Arab communities in Israel was none other than Menachem Begin.