This book invites you to ponder, in the words of the penultimate section, “Is the UN worth it?” The suggested answer appears to be “no,” because of the United Nations’ implacable hostility both to Israel and, increasingly, the rest of the Western world.
Alex Grobman, the author of Nations United, is an accomplished author and historian. He provides his readers with a fact-packed historical background of the relationship between Israel and the United Nations. Grobman offers succinct analyses of historical and contemporary issues surrounding the establishment of, and current dilemmas facing, Israel.
Grobman’s constellations of Zionism, anti-Semitism, the rise of the Islamic states as a major world force, and the last two centuries’ Jews cowering in the face of outright threats of annihilation are connected. In 1975, those themes coalesced in the morally repugnant declaration by the representative body of this world’s nations that “Zionism is Racism.” That charge was expressed in UN Resolution 3376 and approved on November 10, 1975. As Grobman reveals: that date was the 37th anniversary of Kristallnacht (“Night of the Broken Glass”), which marked the beginning of Hitler’s final solution.
The world’s decree against Zionism remained in place for more than 16 years. Grobman carefully explains why the legitimacy of Israel — a full-fledged member state of the United Nations — was so profoundly dishonored and what forces joined together to give birth to, midwife, and ensure the passage of this denunciation. He also exposes the failure of both Diaspora Jewry and Israeli leadership to prevent, or try to promptly rescind, the “Zionism is Racism Resolution.” The picture Grobman paints is detailed and accurate, but it certainly is not pretty.
The sigh of relief drawn after the rescission of the anti-Zionism Resolution in 1991 was premature. As Grobman demonstrates, the forces driving enactment of that Resolution are still alive and well at the UN. What is supposed to be the world’s legislature has remained a fertile breeding ground for anti-Israel activity. The various UN protectorates, including the non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the Special Commissions, and the UN’s own envoys, are hothouses of anti-Zionism, anti-Semitism, and more generally, of a deep antipathy towards the West. Growing numbers of UN member states spread these views worldwide, on the UN’s tab. That means, of course, that these views are trumpeted to the world at the expense of the Western nations that pay the lion’s share of the UN’s budget — chief among which is the UN’s second favorite villain, the United States.
Grobman provides painful detail, for example, on how the 2001 UN World Conference against Racism, held in Durban, South Africa, metamorphosed from a high-sounding confabulation into a frenzied war dance choreographed to dismantle, or at least delegitimize, Israel. Then, in June, 2004, the UN convened its first-ever conference on anti-Semitism. Yet five months after gathering its information on anti-Semitism, the UN General Assembly voted on a resolution about “religious intolerance” in which anti-Semitism was mentioned only once. Jew-hatred, as Grobman shows, is virtually the lifeblood of the UN, far too much so for it to seriously consider that kind of hatred as a problem.
At the inaugural session of the revamped UN Human Rights Council this past June, the meeting focused solely on “the human rights situation in the occupied Arab territories, including Palestine.” Once again, a so-called human rights body focused immediately and exclusively on Israel as the source of human rights violations, ignoring a plethora of outrages such as the carnage in Darfur, or the mass murders in Uzbekistan, or the widespread attacks on civilians in Sri Lanka.
And yet, the subtitle of Grobman’s book is, “How the United Nations Undermines Israel and the West.” The book focuses almost exclusively on the UN’s treatment of Israel, so why is “the West” part of the subtitle? Perhaps Grobman is saying that Israel represents the antithesis of the growing Islamic bloc in the United Nations. In the same way, all other countries whose essence contradicts Islamism, i.e. those collectively referred to as “the West,” are similarly endangered by every UN anti-Israel victory. Concomitant with the rise of non-Western ideology, especially within the rapidly multiplying Islamic bloc, is the growing impotence of the Western world.
Grobman’s subtle exploration of this seismic shift offers readers an important contextual lens for seeing and understanding our current geopolitical context. “Nations United” reveals the newly dominant forces and sensibilities that fuel decision making by the world’s power nexus: the United Nations. It also provides the tools to consider whether the paths being charted by our world leaders make sense in this new and very different world order.
Students, professors and everyone else who wants — or who should want — to understand the global paradigm shifts of the last half-century will benefit enormously from this readable and meticulously researched book.