Israel and UN Reform

By Nossel, Suzanne | Dissent, July 1, 2005 | Go to article overview

Israel and UN Reform


Nossel, Suzanne, Dissent


THOUGH NO ONE realizes it, Israel may be a linchpin in this year's historic push for change at the United Nations. Israel's tortured history at the UN is emblematic of much (though by no means all) of what is wrong with the world organization. Longstanding U.S. perceptions of the UN membership as anti-Western, unprincipled, motivated by petty biases, and dominated by a herd mentality stem largely from-and are given continuing basis by-the body's history of anti-Israel conduct. An organization that has been too fractured and passive to confront the moral challenges of our time-including Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur-has managed to adopt more than twenty resolutions chastising Israel each year since 1985. The isolation of Israel at the UN has strained the U.S.-UN relationship and undercut the legitimacy of the global body in the eyes of many Americans.

UN secretary-general Kofi Annan is seeking to restore the UN's credibility after an era of scandal and paralysis. In March he issued a set of recommendations based on the work of the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change he set up to propose reforms. Although Annan's proposals do not directly address Israel's anomalous position, they do get at certain conditions that have contributed to the ostracizing of Israel. If implemented, these measures should begin to show that the organization is serious about reform. At the same time, simply enacting the Annan reforms will not root out entrenched patterns. The reforms should go hand in hand with a political push led by the United States to put Israel on an equal footing with the organization's 190 other states. If Israel's standing does not improve after a major reform effort, Secretary-General Annan and the High-Level Panel will have failed to check the organization's worst impulses, and the UN's credibility crisis will persist.

If Not Now, When?

Amelioration of Israel's situation at the UN is timely, achievable, and can help the Mideast peace process. It was Yasir Arafat, with a 1974 speech before the UN General Assembly delivered with a pistol visible on his hip, who galvanized the world organization against the Jewish state. His death and succession by the moderate Mahmoud Abbas, the planned Israeli pullout from Gaza, and the resumption of direct Palestinian-Israeli talks represent the first thaw in relations since the late 1990s and should carry over to the UN. Events in Iraq, Lebanon, and Egypt suggest that the Mideast as a whole may be entering a new phase of reform and modernization. If so, it is vital to ensure that the UN enhance reform and modernization in the region rather than undermine them with a continuation of old patterns of anti-Semitism and hostility toward Israel.

Given the precarious standing of the United States in the Muslim world, Washington would face difficulties in tackling the problem of Arab anti-Semitism head-on. (Even recent efforts by Jordan to normalize Arab-Israeli relations were rebuffed by the Arab League.) But the UN offers a forum where the issue can be addressed indirectly. Annan, the United States, and like-minded countries can rally the many delegations that have no great stake in Arab-Israeli antagonism yet reflexively gang up on Israel out of a vestigial sense of third world solidarity. Convincing what should be disinterested delegations to deal squarely with Israel will help improve the UN's image as an unrestrained schoolyard playground. It will also, practically speaking, allow the UN to devote more time to matters that truly serve a range of member states.

Annan himself says the UN has reached a fork in the road. If change in the Middle East makes this an auspicious moment to remedy Israel's position at the UN, so have events at the organization itself. The international organization is in turmoil thanks to scandals surrounding its oil for Food program and allegations of sexual abuse by UN peacekeepers. Calls for radical reform and Annan's removal have forced changes, including the ouster of some of the organization's longtime leaders. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Israel and UN Reform
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.