Dr.Gerstenfeld’s latest was first published in the Jerusalem Post and republished here with the author’s consent.
DIPLOMATS AT THE UNITED NATIONS COMMIT ANTISEMITIC ACTS
The widely accepted definition of antisemitism agreed upon by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) states that an antisemitic manifestation: “…might include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. However, criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.”1
Despite its genocidal past against Jews in their “grandfather generation,” contemporary Germany participates wholeheartedly in these antisemitic manifestations at the UN. This issue came to the fore in March. Germany’s largest daily, Bild published that in recent years the General Assembly accepted more than 500 resolutions against Israel and not a single one against the Palestinian terror group, Hamas.
Bild gave some examples for the period 2014-2017. In 2014, of all resolutions directed against a specific country, 87% were against Israel. In 2016, the number was 77%. In 2017, 78%. In the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), more than half the resolutions were against Israel. Bild pointed out that Germany regularly sides with Israel’s enemies. In November 2018, of 21 General Assembly resolutions against Israel, 16 were supported by Germany and on 4 it abstained.2
There are no similar resolutions anywhere near these numbers against any other country at the General Assembly. This makes the anti-Israeli votes of Germany and other countries supporting the condemnations of Israel manifestations of antisemitism.
The German liberal party, FDP, recently proposed a motion in the country’s parliament, the Bundestag, to change its policy of voting against Israel. The motion said that the ongoing disproportionate condemnation by numbers of Israel in its total picture goes far beyond legitimate criticism.
In the parliament 408 members voted against the resolution, 150 agreed and 63 members abstained.3 Only the populist AfD sided with the FDP and supported the motion. With one exception Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats and its Bavarian allies of the Christian Social Union, the Socialists and the Left party all voted in favor of maintaining the country’s antisemitic voting at the UN. The Green party abstained.
In German politics there is a ‘cordon sanitaire’ around the AfD. This implies from the side of the boycotters: “We are good and white, the AfD is bad and black.” The vote in parliament however, showed that concerning parties which opposed the FDP resolution the difference with the AfD, may only be a different shade of grey. After the vote, U.S. Middle East expert Daniel Pipes tweeted: “Merkel just talks, AfD delivers.”4
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, a socialist has often said that Auschwitz inspired him to go into politics.5 He defended the government’s attitude claiming that it was better to participate in drafting the text of these anti-Israeli resolutions and make them more moderate rather than not participate in the discussion and vote against them. Insiders claim that this attitude is part of a game. The Palestinians prepare a radical resolution knowing well that the ultimate text will be less extreme. The Europeans negotiate a more moderate text and then claim that they have succeeded in weakening the original resolution.6
After the Holocaust and many other huge crimes, the United Nations agreed on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.7 Its first article says that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience.” After the Second World War many Germans and others who had participated in criminal activities claimed that they had followed the orders of superiors. This argument was frequently used by defendants in the post-war Nuremberg trials. The German expression for “order is order,” Befehl ist Befehl became an international expression. The courts did not consider superior orders a valid claim for those who had committed crimes to go free.
Jewish religious law already understood the nature of the issue more than a millennium ago. If somebody charges another to carry out a sin, the messenger who follows these instructions is responsible for the sin he has committed.8
The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is even worse in its anti-Israeli incitement. An alien from Mars who comes to Earth in order to get a quick idea of what human rights means would probably focus on a visit to the Council in Geneva. He could then report back to those who sent him that the inhabitants of the earth have developed a perfect immoral system to condemn states. Every country transgresses what they call “human rights.” Thus a majority in the UNHRC of those who misbehave on human rights – including some which do so severely – can target any country they want.
Foreign ministries decide whether to support the wholesale condemnations of Israel at the General Assembly. If they do, they are committing antisemitic acts. Their diplomats at the UN who execute these orders have a personal responsibility. These people “are endowed with reason and conscience.” They cannot deny their responsibility by saying “I am just an elite messenger who carries out the orders from my superiors.” No human being can claim that he is a robot without morality.
For each democratic diplomat who has participated in the massive UN and UNHRC condemnations of Israel a file should be established of how often he or she has participated in such manifestations of antisemitism. Carrying out antisemitic acts is frequently not a crime, yet it is always an expression of an individual’s defective character.