In my recent post “Anniversaries of antisemitism,” I linked to the speech of Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Chaim Herzog and argued that Herzog’s eloquent response to the UN’s infamous “Zionism is racism”-resolution of November 10, 1975, remains depressingly relevant.
One of the passages that I found particularly striking is a quote from the British writer and historian Paul Johnson. (Looking up Johnson, I came across an interesting reprint of a Commentary article he had written in May 1998 for Israel’s 50th Independence Day, aptly entitled “Israel: The Miracle.”)
According to Herzog, Johnson wrote in 1975 that the UN was “rapidly becoming one of the most corrupt and corrupting creations in the whole history of human institutions […] almost without exception those in the majority came from states notable for racist oppression of every conceivable hue.”
Commenting on the UN’s “Zionism is racism” debate, Johnson argued:
“Israel is a social democracy, the nearest approach to a free socialist state in the world; its people and government have a profound respect for human life, so passionate indeed that, despite every conceivable provocation, they have refused for a quarter of a century to execute a single captured terrorist. They also have an ancient but vigorous culture, and a flourishing technology. The combination of national qualities they have assembled in their brief existence as a state is a perpetual and embittering reproach to most of the new countries whose representatives swagger about the UN building. So Israel is envied and hated; and efforts are made to destroy her. The extermination of the Israelis has long been the prime objective of the Terrorist International; they calculate that if they can break Israel, then all the rest of civilisation is vulnerable to their assaults [….]
The melancholy truth, I fear, is that the candles of civilisation are burning low. The world is increasingly governed not so much by capitalism, or communism, or social democracy, or even tribal barbarism, as by a false lexicon of political cliches, accumulated over half a century and now assuming a kind of degenerate sacerdotal authority…. We all know what they are.”
Much of this sounds all too familiar, doesn’t it?
Among recent examples of similar sentiments, Abraham H. Miller, writing at the American Thinker, described the UN as “an organization where Gaddafi’s Libya chaired the Commission on Human Rights, where Saddam Hussein’s Iraq headed the Commission on Disarmament, and where Hezbollah’s Lebanon sits on the Security Council.”