Afghanistan? No. So began the vote seventy years ago this week, in Flushing Meadows, New York where the United Nations had its temporary home. Those assembled were voting on U.N. resolution 181 whether, what was then Palestine, should be partitioned into an Arab State as well as a Jewish State. Less than a half year later, the State of Israel would come into the being. For the first time in two millennia, Jews would have a country of their own.
Seventy years is synonymous with dreaming, according to the rabbis of the Talmud. Our rabbinic sages base this analogy on the introductory verse of Psalm 126 which introduces Birkat Hamazon or the Grace after meals when recited on Shabbat and festivals. Back in 1947, Ben Gurion, Begin et al would clearly have assigned our world of today to a fantasy world or a world of dreams, as far as Israel and the United Nations.
“You must be dreaming,” the early Zionist leaders would in all likelihood have said if someone would have told them that there would come a time when an Israeli Prime Minister would be addressing the United Nations. But an Israeli Prime Minister has addressed the United Nations…more than once. And when Benjamin Netanyahu has addressed the United Nations, he has down so as a proud Israeli and a proud Jew with his head held high, commanding the respect of his friends while drawing the ire of his foes. But sympathy? World sympathy is totally foreign and unknown to the generation of Benjamin Netanyahu as well as those of subsequent generations. World sympathy went by the wayside decades ago, along with our national neuroses of Mah Yomru HaGoyim or what will the (non-Jewish) nations say or think.
“You must be dreaming,” the early Zionist leaders would in all likelihood have said if someone would have told them that there would come a time when an American Ambassador to the United Nations would be lecturing many of those assembled, wagging her finger at them, telling them that they were biased against Israel. The early Zionist leaders of the Ben Gurion generation could not possibly have fathomed an American Ambassador to the United Nation warning many of those assembled to “get off of Israel’s back” and to take their anti-Semitism which is masqueraded as anti-Zionism and to “stuff it.” But that is precisely what a bold, determined and self-assured Nikki Haley has done. For the record, Ambassador Haley previously served as Governor of South Carolina, a state not known for any Jewish cabal or similar.
“You must be dreaming,” the early Zionist leaders would in all likelihood have said if someone would have told them that there would come a time when Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations would be elected as chairman of the U.N. Legal Committee, making him the first Israeli chosen to head a permanent committee of the U.N., only to be elected a year later as Vice-President of the 72nd annual session of the UN General Assembly. Similarly, those very same early Zionist leaders would have stared in disbelief to learn that a mere two years ago, the United Nations purchased close to 98 million dollars’ worth of Israeli goods, more than double the amount purchased two years prior to that.
As one who is no great fan of the United Nations (I was at the U.N. with thousands of others, 42 years ago this month protesting their adopting General Assembly resolution 3379 declaring Zionism equals Racism), as one who dismisses their ceaseless ludicrous and baseless incessant condemnation of Israel for anything and everything (the U.N. women’s rights commission condemned Israel as the world’s only violator of women’s rights, ignoring real abusers of women’s rights such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and many others) even I have to admit that Israel has made unbelievable strides in an organization that held a vote seventy years ago this week that would ultimately result in the birth of the State of Israel. You must be dreaming!