DVAR ISRAEL: SHABBAT, DECEMBER 15, 2018
ISRAEL AND THE UN
Congregants from our two homes away from home, Beth Tikvah and Beth Emeth have been coming together for adult educational classes called Golda’s Kitchen. Golda Meir used to hold many of her cabinet meetings in her kitchen. We have modeled our adult education programs after her design, beginning with some cooking and eating and then moving into discussions about a variety of topics pertaining to Israel and the challenges we face today.
Our next session will be on a very complex topic: Israel-UN relations. As we researched we quickly realized that it was impossible to squeeze all of the important information we found into an hour of active discussion, so we decided to begin with this morning’s Dvar Israel. We hope to give you a ‘taste’ of what you can expect at the upcoming session of Golda’s Kitchen. Sadly, a theme that ran throughout our research was how absurd the UN policy on Israel really is, and we became increasingly frustrated with each new piece of information that we learned.
You might be wondering why should we two 18 year olds be thinking about Israel UN relations? The answer is simply because we are Israeli teenagers, and a big part of being Israeli includes caring about Israel's global image.Growing up in Israel leaves you no choice other than to be involved.
Which brings us to this week’s topic: Why has Israel's international PR hit rock bottom to the point that we need to fight for each righteous action that we do as a nation to defend ourselves? Why is it that Israel was never included in the UN security council, which is made up of 10 temporary states and 5 permanent nations including Russia and China. Between 2006-2012, the human rights committee issued 48 reports condemning Israel, and only 9 reports on Syria, 3 on Iran and 0 on China. Just a week ago, for the first time, a resolution condemning Hamas was put to vote by the general assembly, but failed and did not pass. The UN is only one example of how Israel is treated within the International arena. Look at social media, look at every major news channel, look at every BDS anti-Israel rally on university campuses. We found ourselves asking: How did we get here? Did Israel's domestic policies lead to this dangerous situation?
For years the Israeli government did not see Israeli Hasbara as a top priority for the state of the union. The Israeli ministry of foreign affairs has one of the lowest budgets among all of the government’s various departments. Israel’s horrible PR is a big problem that was neglected for years for various reasons: wars, domestic concerns, astronomically high rates of immigration to Israel, trying to make peace with our neighbors and of course having to fight for our existence since the state was established on May 14, 1948, to name just a few. Only in the past few years, did Israel’s PR strategies become a serious priority. But perhaps now is already too late? Should we just give up and accept the fact that we are cast in the role of “enemy” in almost all of the world’s media sources? Should we just surrender to the hate and biased judgment of the UN?
We think not. Israel is one of the most progressive nations in the world, both socially and politically. Maybe because of our modernism and the fact that we are a western country, the UN, a big human rights organization, seeks to target Israel. Do they continue to target us because they know we care about social issues and will listen to what they have to say? The UN includes many strong Muslim countries and anti-democratic nations, which affords a voice to anti-Israeli enemies and could be one of the reasons we are targeted with such hatred. During my diplomacy studies in high school, I was exposed to many of the UN’s policies. And as you can imagine, most people held the same opinions and frustrations that I did. Now that I am here in Toronto as an Israeli Emissary, the topic of UN Israel relations becomes an important topic for discussion but presents considerably more challenges. Here in Canada, the people that I am communicating with don’t necessarily share my viewpoints. As an Israeli, I do not support the UN, and in Israel, most people don’t. This Dvar is a way for us to show you the reasons why. To conclude, We leave you with the following food for thought: What can we, as average civilians who are not part of any government agency do to better the situation for Israel?