MKs Oren and Bar-Lev called for the UN chief to tell his currently unnamed successor “to eliminate the bias and discrimination that has poisoned the relationship” between the UN and Israel.
The UN must rid itself of anti-Israel bias and engage honestly with Israelis, Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee members MKs Michael Oren (Kulanu) and Omer Bar-Lev (Zionist Union) wrote in a letter to visiting UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon Tuesday.
The MKs asked Ban to take advantage of his trip to reach out to Israelis to regain their confidence in the UN. Israel, they wrote, is an “island of democracy and stability in a region that has so challenged the UN,” but they questioned if the international body has fulfilled the goals of its charter and ensured Israel’s equal rights as a nation among all other nations.
Oren and Bar-Lev cited a Pew Research poll from 2013, showing that 70 percent of Israelis have an unfavorable opinion of the UN.
The lawmakers quoted Ban as having said in 2013 that in the UN, Israel has been “criticized and [has] been suffering from this bias and sometimes discriminations,” yet expressed disappointment that he did not take “corrective action to restore the UN’s lost credibility.”
Oren and Bar-Lev shared a litany of reasons Israelis don’t trust the UN, including the fact that more than half of the condemnations issued by the UN Human Rights Council were about Israel, a singling out that Ban said “disappointed” him in 2007, but, the MKs wrote, there has been no progress since then.
They also cited this year’s UNESCO resolution on Jerusalem denying a Jewish connection to the Temple Mount while recognizing it as a Muslim holy site, and the fact that UN schools in Gaza have been repeatedly used by Hamas to store weapons, which Ban said is “turning schools into potential military targets.”
“These few examples are just the tip of the UN’s iceberg of problems,” they wrote. “Israelis see the bias and discrimination, yet at the same time we remind you that opinion polls consistently show the vast majority of Israelis support peace with our Palestinian neighbors.”
Oren and Bar-Lev called for Ban to tell his successor, who has not been announced yet, “to eliminate the bias and discrimination that has poisoned the relationship [between the UN and Israel] and restore faith in this most valuable of international bodies.”