This interview with Yohanan Manor, was published on Israel National News, and republished here with the author’s permission. Yohanan Manor shows what happens if Israel underestimates her enemies.
The UN ‘Zionism is Racism’ Resolution Revisited
Manfred Gerstenfeld interviews Yohanan Manor
“More than twenty years ago, the infamous ‘Zionism is Racism’ resolution was repealed. We have seen many new efforts since then to delegitimize Israel. The Israeli government and opinion leaders need to understand what happens if Israel does not develop appropriate strategies against delegitimization actions in the international arena. Therefore, it is instructive to analyze summarily how this UN resolution came into being in 1975, what happened thereafterand how it was finally overturned.”
Dr. Yohanan Manor is the Chairman of IMPACT-SE, which surveys school curricula and textbooks to check their conformity with international standards. He is a former lecturer at the Hebrew University and was Director General of the Information Department of the World Zionist Organization. His book To Right a Wrong (1996)1 analyzes the revocation of the “Zionism is racism” resolution.
Manor says: “The idea of having Zionism condemned by the United Nations originated with the Soviet Union in the mid-1960’s, before the Six Day War. It stemmed from the Soviet refusal to have anti-Semitism condemned by the UN. This occurred in 1964 and 1965 during the negotiation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination within the framework of the UN Commission on Human Rights. Since the Soviet Union could not openly voice such a position, it conditioned its acceptance of condemning anti-Semitism on a demand to denounce Zionism and Nazism.i
“Subsequently, the Six Day War in 1967 inflicted a severe blow on the Soviet Union’s weaponry and prestige. It then developed a more militant policy to regain and enlarge its influence in the Middle East. It was based on a near-total backing of the Palestinian Liberation Organization. Initially, this approach went well. Then came major setbacks, including the expulsion of Soviet advisers from Egypt, the Israeli-Egyptian disengagement negotiations of November 1973 and the Israeli-Syrian disengagement agreement of May 1974 with the active involvement of the United States. This apparently led to a Soviet-PLO plan to bring about Israel’s expulsion from the United Nations, with the PLO taking its place.ii
“On 22 November 1974, the PLO obtained UN Observer status as a national liberation movement. In August 1975, the Organization of African Unity explicitly referred to depriving Israel of ‘its status as member.’ At the UN General Assembly on 1 October 1975, Ugandan dictator Idi Amin called ‘for the expulsion of Israel from the United Nations and the extinction of Israel as a state.’iii
“In July 1975, the Soviet Union and the PLO succeeded in having Zionism explicitly condemned at the UN International Women’s Year conference in Mexico City, which stressed in its final declaration that ‘Peace requires the elimination of colonialism, neocolonialism, foreign occupation, Zionism, apartheid and racial discrimination in all its forms.’iv In August 1975, the Organization of African Unity in Kampala stated that ‘the racist regime in occupied Palestine and the racist regime in Zimbabwe and South Africa have a common imperialist origin…organically linked in their policy aimed at repression of the dignity and integrity of the human being’; while the Non-Aligned conference in Lima ‘severely condemned Zionism as a threat to world peace.’
“Western and above all American opposition to Israel’s expulsion or suspension, notably an American warning that such a move would force the United States to reassess its UN membership,v thwarted the initiative. It however, increased the eagerness to advance as a substitute the condemnation of Zionism as racism. This was formally achieved first within the framework of the Third Committee of the General Assembly on 16 October 1975, and then on 10 November 1975 by the UN General Assembly plenary with Resolution 3379 (XXX), which ‘Determines that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.’ The Soviet-Arab coalition won by 72-35 with two abstentions.
“During 1976-1984, the ‘Zionism is racism’ resolution was reiterated time and again, sometimes by even larger majorities. Even more far- reaching motions were adopted in other UN bodies. Zionism began to assume ‘mythical proportions in international discourse as a global cause of most world problems.’ This trend also substantially penetrated Western circles, especially universities.
“The Israeli and Jewish world viewed the resolution with disdain. For a long time there were no Israeli attempts to act for the resolution’s revocation. This nonsensical position was maintained for almost a decade. Only then it was acknowledged by official Israel, that the resolution needed to be fought directly and not as another expression of anti-Semitism. From the time Israel woke up, it would take more than five years to overturn ‘Zionism is racism.’
“This repeal was finally achieved not only thanks to the end of the Cold War, but first and foremost because the United States took the lead and invested massively in the revocation endeavor, in spite of manifest reluctance and feet dragging by the State Department, which was substantially overcome due to Senator Daniel Moynihan banging on the table. President George H. W. Bush gave ‘unprecedented instructions to all his ambassadors [to warn] countries that failure to vote for revoking the resolution could affect their ties with the US.’vi Finally, the draft resolution for repeal was sponsored by eighty-six states and passed by 111-25 with thirteen abstentions on 16 December 1991.”
i “Haseif leginui Haantishemiut Behatzaat Haamana Lebeur Kol Tsurot Haaflaia Hagizit” (The Paragraph to Condemn Anti-Semitism in the Draft Convention to Eradicate All Forms of Racial Discrimination), top-secret report by Meir Rosenne, New York, 25 October 1965, p. 1, CZA (Central Zionist Archives) S110/12. [Hebrew]
ii Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan noted that the Soviet side had not yet been properly researched and recommended scholarly investigation “to discover and reveal the origins and the motivations of the lie.” See Daniel Patrick Moynihan, “Z=R, Plus 9,” address to the study day “Refuting the Zionism Is Racism Equation,” President’s Residence, Jerusalem, 11 November 1984, p. 3, CZA/S110/40.