300 European lawmakers demand end to anti-Israel discrimination at UN

Some 312 lawmakers have written to world leaders demanding they take action against the institutional anti-Israel bias at the UN. 

By Donna Rachel Edmunds, World Israel News

Hundreds of European lawmakers have called for an end to the discrimination against Israel by the United Nations, arguing that not only is it unfair, it also damages the UN’s own credibility and causing the body to lose public support.

The call by 312  lawmakers came ahead of Tuesday’s opening of the 76th session of the UN’s General Assembly.

On Monday morning, the leadership of the Transatlantic Friends of Israel, a cross-party, interparliamentary friendship group, sent the statement to the governments of all EU member states in addition to the UK, Norway and Switzerland. Copies were also sent to the EU leadership, as well as the UN Secretary General and the heads of major UN agencies. The signatories are mainly European legislators and include government ministers, party leaders, parliamentary vice-presidents, and chairs of key committees. Four members of Knesset also signed the statement.

“Within the context of rising global anti-Semitism, the relentless, disproportionate, and ritualistic condemnation of the world’s only Jewish state at the UN is particularly dangerous and must finally end. Israel deserves attention and scrutiny, as does every other nation. But it also merits equal treatment – nothing more, nothing less,” the lawmakers wrote.

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They pointed to the fact that in 2020, the UN General Assembly adopted 17 one-sided resolutions singling out Israel for human rights violations, and only adopted six others, one each for a further six member states of the 192 member states in total. Currently, more than one-in-five of the resolutions adopted by the Human Rights Council focus solely on Israel.

Additionally, the UN’s Human Rights Council has a separate, stand-alone agenda item to consider violations by Israel, (No. 7), while human rights violations in all other countries are considered under one single agenda item (No. 4).

The initiative was spearheaded by the American Jewish Committee’s Transatlantic Friends of Israel (TFI), a cross-party interparliamentary group of lawmakers from Europe, America and Israel.

Commenting, Austrian MEP Lukas Mandl, Chair of the TFI group in the European Parliament said: “The UN has shown a long-standing bias against Israel which is often targeted more frequently than all other countries combined. The time is long overdue to end this shameful practice. Democratic governments have a responsibility to bring about this much-needed change.”

Lithuanian MEP Petras Auštrevičius, a TFI Vice Chair in the European Parliament added: “When Israel, the Middle Easts only true democracy and a leader in gender equality, is singled out for allegedly violating women’s rights, but regimes such as Iran are elected to the UN Women’s Rights Commission, then you know something is seriously flawed. We must finally fix this UN bias.”

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The signatories have called upon EU member states and fellow democracies to do three things: vote against the anti-Israel resolutions brought to the General Assembly and other UN committees to deny the resolutions legitimacy; reform the UN Human Rights Council and abolish the discriminatory Agenda Item 7; and to put an end to UN committees and programs which only serve to single out and attack Israel, undermining any prospect of a two state solution.

The signatories noted: “As the late UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said, both Israel and the United Nations “rose from the ashes of the Holocaust.” The transatlantic community of democracies has thus a sacred duty to ensure that the UN system is no longer misused to constantly vilify the Jewish state and, in so doing, damage the world body itself and its universal values.”

Daniel Schwammenthal, Director of American Jewish Committee’s Brussels-based EU office, the AJC Transatlantic Institute, and TFI Secretary General commented: “It is heartening to see the growing transatlantic consensus to finally end the shameful discrimination against Israel at the UN. AJC has previously praised the EU for its commitment to extend the fight against anti-Semitism across all policy areas, which naturally also includes foreign policy. Addressing the UN’s bias against the world’s only Jewish state must therefore be part of this initiative.”