The U.N. and Israel: A History of discrimination
by Joshua Muravchik
“Unfortunately . . . Israel [has] suffered from bias—and sometimes even discrimination” at the United Nations, said none other than the UN’s highest official, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, speaking in Jerusalem in August. Back at headquarters a week later, Ban withdrew the substance of the comment without denying he had made it. The retraction was less surprising than the original assertion, which was remarkable because of the identity of the speaker, not for what was said, the reality of which is about as well concealed as the sun on a cloudless noon.
Israel’s status as a pariah state at the United Nations reflected a change in the world body dating from the 1970s. In its early decades, the UN was dominated by the Cold War competition between East and West, but between 1952 and 1968 these two blocs became outnumbered by a third, as the UN’s rolls increased from eighty-two to one hundred and twenty-six member states. Most of the new members were former colonies that had recently won their independence, and they formed what became the leading bloc at the UN, the Non-Aligned Movement.
The dearest cause of the NAM was anti-colonialism, which put the West in the dock. Thus, the new bloc was non-aligned far more emphatically with the West than with the Communist world. Indeed, while the Soviet Union was held at arm’s length by the NAM, other Communist states, some of them Soviet-allied, such as Cuba and Vietnam, played leading roles in the organization.
Read the rest at the World Affairs Journal
by Alan Johnson
Published in 1999, The Black Book of Communism was a melancholy 858-page compendium of the global tally of, in the words of its subtitle, crimes, terror, and repression produced by the political movement that the historian François Furet famously called an “illusion.” The book is often criticized from the left for overestimating the victims of Communism (“The total approaches 100 million people killed,” insisted the editor Stéphane Courtois), but as it turns out, Pierre Rigoulot, the author of the chapter on North Korea, actually underestimated the death toll, reckoning there to be three million victims of North Korean Stalinism.