The issue of Israel, and of Jews in general, is a bizarre one. No other religious/ethnic group is treated with has much hatred and contempt from one corner of the globe to the other, as are the Jews. In America, hating Jews is the only kind of bigotry mainstream culture seems to tolerate. Israel is one of the few nations towards which one can be both mindlessly suspicious and racist toward without any social repercussions. It’s weird.
The nation of Israel is about 8500 square miles, sheltering just under 9 million people (a quarter of which are Arab). It is essentially paradise in the Middle East, boasting the highest standard of living and life expectancy in the region, despite perpetual threats of terror and war from Israel’s neighbors. If you think that just under 9 million people cramming into just under 8500 hundred square miles sounds like a tight fit, you’d be correct. Israel continues to expand its settlements into territories it won in wars in which Israel was defending itself. Israel is building settlements on its own property.
So why is the world so upset? Many nations believe that the only way for there to be peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians is for the international community to establish a two-state solution. It seems obvious, now, that a significant aspect of this Two-State solution will be taking Israeli land and giving it to the Palestinians. Why else would nations oppose another nation building on their own land? Is there another nation, any other country on planet earth, within which the world would oppose self-development? Of course not (sort of, it’s complicated).
International Law states that it is illegal to move populations into territories won through war. So Israel is, in fact, breaking international law. However, this entire mess is ridiculous and defies logic. How did we get here?
Between June 5 and June 10 , Israel defeated Egypt, Jordan, and Syria and occupied the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights. From the beginning, the United States sought a ceasefire in order to prevent an Arab defeat bad enough to force the Soviet Union to intervene. (United States Office of the Historian)
Israel was attacked by, and defeated, three of its neighbors. I don’t think we can hold it against Israel that it won some territory in the aftermath.
The administration’s concept of “land-for-peace” solidified following the war. “Certainly,” Johnson proclaimed, “troops must be withdrawn; but there must also be recognized rights of national life, progress in solving the refugee problem, freedom of innocent maritime passage, limitation of the arms race, and respect for political independence and territorial integrity.”
Israel is one quarter Arab. They have not used the territories won in a defensive war to alienate their neighbors. In fact, if you want to live in peace, in a good economy, and with legally protected civil rights, Israel is one of the few harbors of hope that exist in the Middle East. The only reason the Western World sides with the surrounding Islamic nations is because they are terrified of getting drawn into a regional war against oil-producing nations. These are nations where there are relatively no civil rights. Women are raped, beaten, and owned by men. These are nations where homosexuals can be killed. So long as they have oil, however, we will continue to side with them over Israel.
Now, this does not mean that we are wholly antagonistic toward the Israeli Nation State. We have provided them with intelligence and weaponry for decades. We have enabled them to defend themselves against and to deter aggression from their neighbors. Our only interest is peace (and fully functional oil-fields).
The truth is, Israel is breaking unjust international law. This puts the United State in quite the pickle. If we intend to respect international law, then we must side against Israel, the only nation in the Middle East behaving rationally and in the United States’ long term moral interest. If we do not honor international law, then we remove the veil from the eyes of the world that the United Nations is a global farce, manufactured by the United States to justify Her own wars throughout the world.
So if this whole UN Resolution against Israel seems like the most bizarre thing you’ve ever seen, that is only because it is…..just that.
The Johnson administration did not re-enter the diplomatic fray until October, when the Soviets began to circulate a new version of the resolution that they had promoted that summer. Knowing that Israel would reject the Soviet draft, the administration encouraged the United Kingdom to introduce an alternative resolution devised by UN Ambassador Arthur Goldberg. Security Council Resolution 242, adopted on November 22, called for Israel’s withdrawal from “territories occupied in the recent conflict” in exchange for “termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.” Interpreted differently by Israelis and Arabs, this resolution would nonetheless remain the bedrock of all subsequent U.S. efforts to resolve the Arab-Israeli dispute.
Insofar as Israel interprets Resolution 242 differently from much of the rest of the world, there doesn’t seem to be any chance that Israel will respect last week’s resolution. I believe the UN to be a farce. We use it for our own purposes and ignore it when it suits us. We use it to condemn wars started by other nations, while using it to justify every war we promote. The rest of the world uses the United Nations to justify their own corruption as well, and to use the United States’ hypocrisy against us.
The truth is, that the United Nations, like the League of Nations before it, is an idealistic and childlike venture with few virtues and a deep well of vice. The United Nations is a perpetual Festivus for the rest of us, where the world airs its grievances.
However, it seems to be the only thing which, through illusion, keeps the peace in the Middle East. I suppose, all we can do is to allow it to continue for as long as we can, with the understanding that it is a fake international organization with absolutely no force of law. How long we can get away with this is impossible to predict, but I don’t see what other option.
Pulling out of the United Nations changes nothing, except destroying the illusions of dangerous people throughout the world. De-funding it and relocating it won’t make our situation better. Sure, the UNSC will do things that outrage us from time to time, just as our own government will do things which are immoral and outrageous on occasion. However, it isn’t a real thing. It has no meaningful teeth. It’s less powerful than the Red Cross and DWB, though it does provide cover for them in war torn areas. The UN keeps open roads so that relief can get to the people that need it. So, there is no upside to getting rid of the UN, until it actually tries to do something; and so long as it remains harmless, why not let the rest of the nations keep their illusions about there being some military and political equality at work in the world?