Nikki Haley may be new to the diplomatic world but she is no shrinking violet. In fact, having been raised in the rough-and-tumble snakepit of South Carolina politics, she might even be beginning to find the UN to be child’s play. She had barely been confirmed when she torpedoed the effort to have a known terrorist representing the “Palestinian Authority” act as the head of a UN diplomatic mission to Libya. A couple of weeks later she called out the UN on the endemic anti-Semitism of its actions. Now she has struck again.
While the main United Nations is merely an ineffectual money sump and source of graft and corruption for Third World politicians, the real evil of the UN lies in its smaller network of “organizations.” One of these is the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia or ESCWA:
ESCWA comprises 18 Arab countries in Western Asia: Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, The Sudan, The Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, The United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
Not only are they not very good with geography (Mauritania is in West Asia? Really? Is this one of those global warming side effects?) and they have nothing to offer in the way of economies or societies unless dirt poverty, misery, and terrorism are factored in, the one successful nation it he region is omitted: Israel.
Earlier in the week this organization published a report that labeled Israel an apartheid state:
United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) Rima Khalaf pointed out today that it is not an easy matter for a United Nations entity to conclude that a State has established an apartheid regime. In recent years, some have labelled Israeli practices as racist, while others have warned that Israel risks becoming an apartheid State. A few have raised the question as to whether in fact it already has.
Khalaf’s remarks were given during a press conference held this afternoon at the UN House, in Beirut, when she launched a report by ESCWA on “Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid.”
Khalaf noted that Israel, encouraged by the international community’s disregard for its continual violations of international law, has succeeded over the past decades in imposing and maintaining an apartheid regime that works on two levels. First, the political and geographic fragmentation of the Palestinian people which enfeebles their capacity for resistance and makes it almost impossible for them to change the reality on the ground. Secondly, the oppression of all Palestinians through an array of laws, policies and practices that ensure domination of them by a racial group and serve to maintain the regime.
The Executive Secretary stressed that the importance of this report is not limited to the fact that it is the first of its kind published by a United Nations body, clearly concluding that Israel is a racial State that has established an apartheid regime. It also provides fresh insight into the cause of the Palestinian people and into how to achieve peace.
If you don’t follow the Israel-Arab conflict, the driving force behind the Palestinians refusing a two-state solution is because by doing so they can try to label Israel an apartheid state and make the job of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement a lot easier by giving them UN cover.
The authors were a couple of loons: Princeton Law professor emeritus Richard Falk and Virginia Tilley of the University of Southern Illinois. Falk, in particular, is real gem who would be at real gem of the kind who would be welcome at any Stormfront gathering. He’s a 9/11 Troofer, he claims the US and Israel carried out the Boston Marathon bombing, and he was thrown out of Hamas because he was too extreme for them. (Read the whole saga.)
UN Secretary General Antonio Gutteres immediately rejected the report, you know it is extreme when a UN bureaucrat rejects it. To Haley’s credit she immediately piled on:
The United States is outraged by the report of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA). That such anti-Israel propaganda would come from a body whose membership nearly universally does not recognize Israel is unsurprising. That it was drafted by Richard Falk, a man who has repeatedly made biased and deeply offensive comments about Israel and espoused ridiculous conspiracy theories, including about the 9/11 terrorist attacks, is equally unsurprising. The United Nations Secretariat was right to distance itself from this report, but it must go further and withdraw the report altogether. The United States stands with our ally Israel and will continue to oppose biased and anti-Israel actions across the UN system and around the world.
And that happened:
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has asked the UN regional commission that represents most Arab countries to remove a report from its website accusing Israel of practicing an “apartheid regime” against Palestinians, a UN official said on Friday.
Rima Khalaf, UN Under-Secretary General and ESCWA Executive Secretary, resigned Friday, after what she described as pressure from the secretary general to withdraw the report. Khalaf announced her resignation at a news conference in Beirut.
In her remarks, Khalaf said, “It was expected that Israel and its allies would put enormous pressure on the United Nations secretary general to renounce the report.”
Despite pressure, Khalaf stands by the report, calling it the “first of its kind” from a UN agency that sheds light on “the crimes that Israel continues to commit against the Palestinian people, which amount to war crimes against humanity.”
I think there are two parts to this story. First, the report appeared concurrent with Trump’s budget proposal that reflected a 50%+ decrease in American contributions to the UN. No matter what Guterres’s feelings were, and I suspect he’s about as pro-Israel as any other UN bureaucrat, the writing was on the wall. Haley’s protest made it clear that disavowing the report wasn’t enough and, logically, if the report was disavowed the report’s mastermind was going to be disavowed, too. The second point is that it is important that the US remain a part of the UN because without the US on the Security Council there would be no sanity at all on the subject of Israel (did our dear friends, the Brits, protest?). But. But we can remain on the Security Council without contributing money to UN efforts beyond our basic membership fee. We can better accomplish our goals by ad hoc regional partnerships that in an organization dominated by our foes.