Former Israeli permanent representative to the United Nations Ron Prosor likes to open with a joke. Several jokes actually.
“There’s nothing more temporary that the permanent representative of Israel,” he first said. He also spoke about his time with the United Nations Human Rights Council “chaired by Jeffersonian democracies like Libya and Syria,” which caused the audience to burst into laughter. “This is like having Charles Manson run the crime investigation squad of the NYPD.”
But the illustrious Israeli diplomat, who spoke at the Jewish National Fund’s Maryland-Israeli Style Breakfast at Temple Oheb Shalom on Sept. 14, wasn’t just there for kicks, but to give an insider’s perspective on Israel’s standing in the United Nations and the world.
“This is the point I want to make basically: There are no double standards,” Prosor said. “There are triple standards against Israel. One standard for democracies, one standard for dictatorships and an especially unattainable standard for Israel, and this is being done in a way which is a systematic demonizing and delegitimizing of the State of Israel, and it’s done every day.”
The breakfast was attended by 425 people, the largest crowd ever for the Maryland JNF breakfast. Prosor spoke after presentations from local JNF officials and chairs of the event.
He spoke about his strategy, once Israel became a part of the West European and Others UN group in 2000, to “run for every possible position in the United Nations,” including as the group’s nominee to be vice president of the UN General Assembly.
“Everyone in Jerusalem thought I was meshugge,” he said. To his surprise — he had prepared a speech in the event that he lost — he won. From there, the strategy became to go after any country that went after Israel.
“The bottom line is to say Israel is here and we have nothing to be ashamed of,” he said.
He spoke about how there is support for Israel “under the radar” — that a number of countries support Israel behind the scenes and expressed their support to Prosor privately, but publicly, due to pressure from certain allies and Arab countries, they would vote against Israel. But he added that aligning interests between Israel and the Gulf States as well as in-fighting in the Arab world presents an opportunity for the Jewish state.
“Why didn’t we have it in the past? Because those countries now feel that the rope is tightening around their necks because of the Iran issue, not that they give a toss about the Palestinians,” Prosor said. “And we [can] use that opportunity to do some moves with the Arab world.”
He ended on a lighter note, reflecting on the startup nation and how successful Israel has been in its 69 years.
“The biggest secret about this is that the real power behind the startup nation is the Jewish mother,” he joked. “She’s absolutely convinced that her child, daughter or son are geniuses, and if they fail, say, ‘Try again. I know from birth that you’re a genius.’
“Through failure [comes] innovation, challenging existing paradigms. This is what you see [in Israel].”