The United States State Department defines anti-Semitism as, among other examples, applying a double standard to Israel such that “multilateral organizations [focus] only on Israel for peace or human rights investigations.” See, criticisms of Israel can be, and are, attacks against the Jewish people if they fall into the above definition. Let me be clear, merely criticizing the Jewish State is not Jew-hatred. If the United Nations Security Council in their Dec. 23 resolution merely declared that they disagreed with the practice of Israeli “settlements” in the West Bank, I would personally disagree with their stance; however, that assertion, in and of itself is not anti-Semitic. But the UN went a step further, writing that they “[express] grave concern that continuing Israeli settlement activities are dangerously imperiling the viability of the Two-State solution based on 1967 lines.” Here, a “multilateral organization” solely focused on Israel for obstructing and hindering the peace process.
Not once in the resolution did the UN condemn the actions of Hamas, the Islamist militant group governing the Gaza Strip, a previously “occupied” territory that Israel unilaterally withdrew from in 2005. Within their organizational charter, Hamas states that “Israel will rise and will remain erect until Islam eliminates it as it had eliminated its predecessors” and “Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims.”
If the UN does not believe that Hamas’ practice of deliberately and intentionally targeting Israeli civilians with rockets and mortars “dangerously imperils the viability of a Two-State solution,” then the United Nations is at best grossly naïve and at worst unfazed by Hamas’ unabashed terror. Instead of brazenly disregarding Hamas’ behavior, the UN should look to the situation in Gaza as direct evidence that Israeli settlements are not an obstacle to lasting peace in the Middle East. Since Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005. Since then the small territory has become a hotbed for terrorism, radicalization and international weapons smuggling.
Now, once again, the international community and the UN call on Israel to withdraw from the “illegally occupied” West Bank. Israel’s reluctance to acquiesce to this request is not only rational but entirely justified considering the analogous situation in Gaza. Some might argue that the Fatah-dominated Palestinian government in the West Bank is more secular and peace-oriented than the Hamas-dominated Gazan government. Yet, the 2014 unity government between Fatah and the openly terroristic Hamas proves that any real path to peace is unattainable. Fatah’s open association with a terrorist group raises serious questions about their motivations and commitment to the peace process. Nevertheless, the United Nations Security Council did not find it necessary to pass a resolution condemning this anti-Israeli coalition.
Perhaps the UN recognizes and disapproves of some of the more violent tendencies of certain Palestinian groups but believes that Israel’s “illegal act” is the main impetus behind Palestinian discontent and aggression. This “illegal act,” according to the UN, is of course the occupation of “Palestinian Territory” since 1967. Yet this accusation against Israel is not only ahistorical but applies a double, inconsistent standard to Israel.
First, the precursor to the UN, the League of Nations, recognized in the “Mandate for Palestine” that the Jewish people had a “historical connection … with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.” This “national home” would be the land west of the Jordan River. Article 80 of the UN Charter effectively re-codifies all treaties made between parties prior to the formation of the United Nations, meaning that the “Mandate for Palestine” was and is international law. Article 80’s ratification was no coincidence; its drafters considered it a necessity to ensure the survival and legitimacy of the nascent Jewish state. Israel fought for and won their independence in 1948, and that year they agreed to armistice borders granting Jordan the area now considered to be the West Bank. Jordan would wage war on Israel in 1967; Israel won and regained the West Bank. To this day, Israel maintains their legal military occupation of the land they were promised by the League of Nations and the United Nations.
In no articulable way do the facts point to Israel’s actions as an obstacle to peace. In 2009, Israel agreed to indefinitely halt settlement construction if the Palestinian Authority agreed to one thing — to recognize Israel as the Jewish State. The Palestinian Authority refused. The UN was silent.
There can be no peace or meaningful two-state solution with a Palestinian unity government that participates in human rights abuses, terror against innocent Israeli civilians and openly denies Israel’s long-established right to exist. The United Nations Security Council, with support from the USs, grossly and brazenly perpetuated the dangerous myth that Israel and their settlement activity in the West Bank are roadblocks to peace. This signal to the international community represents another setback in Israel’s fight for legitimacy. The UN, as a multilateral organization, habitually focuses on Israel as instigators in this complicated conflict. This myopic, tunnel-vision tendency of the international community to blame Israel alone misrepresents longstanding international laws and treaties but also qualifies as anti-Semitism under the State Department’s definition. In the face of ahistorical and pernicious attacks against Israel and the Jewish people, the Palestinian conflict must be addressed with sober analysis that holds the Jewish State’s government and the Fatah-Hamas coalition to the same moral and historical standard.
Elias Neibart is a College freshman from Morristown, New Jersey.