Be Careful Whose Side You Are On

Written by Phil Jacobs on . Posted in Op-Ed

Iran, Venezuela, Syria, North Korea, and Yemen.

One of these nations is considered an existential threat to Israel. Another used poison gas on its own citizens. Still another is testing the world’s sense of security as a rogue nuclear threat.


But Great Britain, France, Russia, China — four of the P5 (five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council) — and Germany?

Congratulations. You find yourselves on the same side of Thursday’s insidious U.N. General Assembly vote as countries who are the enemies of basic human rights, who restrict freedom of speech, jail dissidents, and encourage a festering culture of death. And who find anti-Semitism as part and parcel of their political business plan.

I certainly did not expect the United Nations General Assembly vote to go the way of the U.S. or Israel. (Only Honduras, Guatemala, Togo, Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, and Palau joined the U.S. and Israel in voting against the resolution, which was originally sponsored by those stalwarts of democracy, Turkey and Yemen. Thirty-five nations abstained.) I did however entertain the hope that this nation’s “friends” would have the courage to stand up to the Arab world and the hollow intentions of Palestinian rhetoric.

Instead, in exchange for the 129-8 vote, Palestinians will hold on to the same hapless narrative that Israel will be pushed from the “river to the sea.”

Instead of libraries and universities, Palestinians know rockets and tunnels. Instead of days of study and peace, it comes down to a societal temper tantrum called “days of rage.” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will kick and scream in the aisles of the U.N. until he gets attention, much like a child would do in the candy aisle when told “no.”

When will the Palestinians, who have been offered ample terms of peace and statehood in the not-so-distant past by Israel, change the narrative to nation-building, infrastructure, and opportunity?

And when will the P5 nations understand that throwing Israel under the political bus because they disagree strongly with the Trump Administration — for reasons that may or may not have anything to do with Israel — only lessens the chances of a two-state solution?

Former Israel Ambassador to the U.N. Michael Oren said after the vote that Israel should evict the U.N. from its Jerusalem headquarters.

For Oren, not only Israel’s deputy minister for diplomacy but more importantly a true Middle East scholar and a mensch, to reach a point where he calls for the U.N.’s local ouster, speaks volumes of how anti-Israel hatred seems to be the oxygen that most U.N. member nations breathe.

If the vote served any purpose, it showed that no matter what treaties or behind the scenes agreements Israel has made with nations, the world still has to be viewed with a wary eye from both Washington, D.C., and Jerusalem.

Next time, however, when there is a natural disaster somewhere on this earth and you read that Israel was among the first nations to respond with its trauma teams, don’t let it surprise you. When you read about how Israeli medical teams save the lives of Syrian children stricken by illness as a result of malnutrition or shrapnel wounds, don’t let it surprise you. And when you know that Israel would love nothing more than to be able to see its children grow side by side with Palestinian children in a region of peace, that shouldn’t surprise you either.

Iran, Yemen, Syria, Venezuela, and North Korea? They’d never want to see that peace happen.

Great Britain, Germany, France, Russia, and China? Sometimes I’m not so sure what they want. Especially after Thursday’s vote.

By Phil Jacobs

 Phil Jacobs is on the Kol HaBirah Advisory Board. He is the associate editor of the New Jersey Jewish Link and writes from Baltimore.