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Karen Harradine: America and Israel have called the corrupt UN out – others should follow suit


Finally the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the so-called heritage protection agency of the UN, is getting what it deserves. The US, under President Donald Trump’s guidance, is pulling out of UNESCO – and so is Israel.

Since the exemplary and courageous US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, took office, the US and Israel are now standing up to this bloated and outdated behemoth. Trump cited UNESCO’s anti-Israel bias as one of the reasons why the US is withdrawing, further cementing the strong ally relationship between the two countries.

The accusations of Trump’s supposed enabling of idiotic white supremacists – the new byword in identity wars – are a distraction. The real racism, the true harmful hatred, comes straight from the UN and is against the West and specifically the US, UK and Israel.

In response to the US and Israel’s withdrawal from UNESCO its director-general, Irina Bokova, claimed this was a bad idea as UNESCO counteracts anti-Semitism. Given its propensity to pass around ten resolutions a year criticising Israel, her statement was at best disingenuous and at worst a blatant lie. Why should Israel pay to belong to an organisation which has such a destructive and negative focus on the only democracy in the Middle East? Particularly when members include despotic countries like Chad, Egypt and Sudan.

No other UN member country has been criticised like Israel has been, with the exception of a (one-time) resolution against Syria. And despite the heinous destruction of the Bamiyan Buddha statues by the Taliban and the ancient city of Palmyra by ISIS, UNESCO has not passed a single resolution in protest. Its glaring hypocrisy is astounding.

A year ago UNESCO passed a resolution negating Israel’s connection to the Temple Mount and the Kottel (Western Wall) in Jerusalem. Both are in the Old City sites of the Jewish First and Second Temples, constructed long before the Muslim colonisation of Israel in AD 635. The Second Temple was destroyed by Roman conquerors in AD 70 and precipitated the forced dispersal of Jews into the diaspora. The controversial al-Aqsa Mosque was built in the 8th century by the Caliphate on these ruins. Although the Old City is part of Israel, the Mosque is controlled by the Waqf, a joint Jordanian/Palestinian administration. Access for non-Muslims is severely restricted.

In July UNESCO passed yet another ridiculous resolution denying Jewish links to Israel when they declared Hebron, the location of Cave of the Patriarchs, a Palestinian world heritage site. As a child I visited the Cave of the Patriarchs with my parents. My memories are of a silent place, the cenotaphs of the patriarchs and matriarchs of our Jewish faith surrounded by shadows and flickering candlelight. I remember a single line of Jews of all ages walking slowly around the tombs to pay homage. I have also been to the Kottel several times and the connection I felt as a Jew to the remains of the Second Temple was deeply transcendent and awe-inspiring.

But way beyond my own experience with these sacred and holy places is the mass of archaeological and historical evidence which supports Jewish ties to them. By denying any Jewish connection to the sites UNESCO, and its Islamist supporters, are participating in an abhorrent lie and historical deception.

UNESCO is not the only anti-Israel UN agency. The UN Human Rights Council (HRC) has real form with its infamous demonisation of Israel. Despite ISIS waging war in Syria and Iraq, the nuclear terror threats of Iran and North Korea and an assortment of despicable human rights abusers and warmongers worldwide, more than half of resolutions passed by the HRC were against Israel.

This is no surprise given that members include dictatorships and police states such as Bolivia, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. The president of the HRC, Joaquín Alexander Maza Martelli, is from El Salvador, a country not known for its pristine record on human rights.

Most of the members of UNESCO and HRC use Israel as a means to deflect from horrible human rights abuse in their own countries. Israel is a convenient smokescreen for them and this is why the anti-Israel bias will continue. Stable and prosperous Western countries such as the US and UK are relegated to the sidelines and fight a losing battle in overcoming the continuous bile directed against the West and Israel that the UN has become so good at.

These are not the only reasons why the iniquitous UN needs to be disbanded. Saudi Arabia, which only recently deigned to allow women to drive (under strictly controlled circumstances), was elected to serve a term on the UN’s Commission on the status of women. This would be a laughable irony if it were not so damaging to women suffering in misogynist regimes – such as Saudi Arabia. Girls and women in the Third World will continue to endure heinous practices like FGM and lack of educational opportunities while despots remain in charge of women’s rights under the guise of the UN.

Through their obsessive focus on Israel the UN, UNESCO and HRC enable the suffering and slaughter of the neglected and the dispossessed. The plight of persecuted Christians and the Yazidi sex slaves are continually ignored in favour of yet another anti-Israel declaration. And what is the point of UN peacekeepers, given their propensity to rape vulnerable children? Or their criminal inaction during the Rwandan genocide? The UN is toothless with tyrants too, unable to rein in autocrats like North Korea for fear of upsetting dominant China, or to end the war in Syria as members will not cross that other big player in town, Russia.

The UN is nothing more than an Islamist and Left-wing dominated political club, full of endless meetings, posturing and resolutions which do nothing to entrench peace and security for those who need it. The UN and its agencies like UNESCO and HRC are unaccountable. They are a gravy train for career diplomats and administrators who continually push their own agendas or gang up like a bunch of nasty schoolyard bullies on Israel.

So is time for the rest of West, as the US and Israel have done, to start to withdraw from this tyrannical organisation and its nefarious agencies. Built on the ashes of the Second World War, the UN’s objective was to maintain worldwide peace. Now stuffed with self-important apparatchiks, corrupt officials, warlords and dictators whose agendas obliterate and obscure this objective, this entire organisation is no longer fit for purpose.

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Karen Harradine
Karen Harradine
Karen is an anthropologist and freelance journalist. She writes on anti-Semitism, Israel and spirituality. She is @KarenH777on Twitter.

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