The United Nations, disappointment and irrelevance

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We have long been critical of the world body known as the United Nations. Born of a noble purpose as an intergovernmental organization created to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, promote social progress, better living standards and human rights, achieve international trust and cooperation, and be a center for the harmonization of actions and relations among the countries of the world, the United Nations we know today is a mere shadow of the lofty institution it was designed to be. Chief among the reasons for its failure are the institution’s astonishing lack of honor and honesty.

The list of U.N. disappointments is long. Two more occurred over the last few weeks and have been largely ignored. Perhaps the lack of protest or comment reflects the irrelevance of the world body. Perhaps it reflects the futility of criticism. Most likely, it’s because no one really cares what the United Nations says or does.

On April 26, Israel will mark its 75th birthday. That will be a day of great celebration in Israel and throughout the Diaspora. But the anniversary will not be recognized by the United Nations. Instead, earlier this month, the U.N. General Assembly voted to commemorate the same day as the 75th anniversary of the nakba — the Palestinian term for “catastrophe” or “disaster” — the day that marks the destruction of Palestinian society and its homeland that led to the establishment of Israel. The Nakba Resolution was passed by a vote of 90 in favor, 30 against and 47 abstentions.

Most commentary on the vote has focused on the lopsided number of countries who voted in favor, including Israel’s two-faced peace and prosperity Abraham Accords dance partners, and the stalwart support of most Western and European Union members for the Jewish state, who voted against. We agree with those comments. But we are bothered by the 47 abstentions. What is it about this vote that led to the wobbly kneed refusal of 47 countries to take a principled position? And why is it that Ukraine — a country begging for hard-core Israel support for its war effort — didn’t even cast a vote?

And speaking of Ukraine, there’s the upcoming, much-anticipated report of U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres about Iran’s compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal. In typical, unprincipled U.N. fashion, the secretary-general has yielded to pressure from Russia not to address the issue of Iran supplying Russia with drones for the war in Ukraine. Under U.N. Resolution 2231, Iran is prohibited from transferring long-range, payload laden drones, like the ones it has provided to support Russia’s war effort. Russia denies it is using Iranian drones. Iran admits sending some drones but says they were sent before the Ukraine war started in late February. Western states say they have definitive evidence that both Russia and Iran are lying, and are demanding a U.N. investigation. The secretary-general says he won’t conduct an investigation into compliance issues unless the Security Council authorizes it. Russia is a permanent member of the Security Council with veto power over such a directive.

So, nothing will happen. And the United Nations will continue its disappointing tradition of irrelevance.

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