It is a little-known fact that of all the nations with full member status of the United Nations, Israel alone is singled out for special treatment.
In a damning report from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Alan Baker describes an intolerable situation whereby Israel is treated like no other state at the UN and is effectively denied equal rights to membership of several UN bodies the chief cause being the built-in anti-Israel majority in these bodies, populated as they are, by several nations with appalling human rights violations.
Baker tells us that it is:
the most elementary and basic right of all states: to be regarded and accepted, and to conduct itself vis-à-vis other states on the basis of full equality
During the initial drafting of the Charter of the United Nations, the expert in jurisprudence Hans Kelsen, in an article in the 1944 Yale Law Journal, makes reference to the Moscow Declaration of October 1943 in which the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, and China jointly declared that they recognized “the necessity of establishing at the earliest practicable date a general international organization, based on the principle of sovereign equality of all peace-loving States and open to membership by all such States, large and small for the maintenance of international peace and security.
It is interesting to note how the concept of ‘peace-loving’ was a prerequisite of membership and how a significant number of current UN members are anything but. Furthermore, there appears to be no mechanism or will to expel member states that fail to meet that criterion, as ill-defined as it is.
So, under international law, Israel has complete equality with all and any other state. This refers to ‘juridical equality’ and enshrines the important concept that states, by use of their economic or military power cannot make claim to special rights and privileges that are not afforded equally to all states, be it Palau or Russia, Montenegro or China. Like citizens of a democracy, each state is subject to the same treatment before the law, that is international law, without exception.
In theory, at least.
This right is a fundamental principle of the UN charter itself.
Baker goes on to tell us that these rights were given further clarification in 1970:
All States enjoy sovereign equality. They have equal rights and duties and are equal members of the international community, notwithstanding differences of an economic, social, political or other nature.
In particular, sovereign equality includes the following elements:
(a) States are judicially equal;
(b) Each State enjoys the rights inherent in full sovereignty;
(c) Each State has the duty to respect the personality of other States;
(d) The territorial integrity and political independence of the State are inviolable;
(e) Each State has the right freely to choose and develop its political, social, economic and cultural systems;
(f) Each State has the duty to comply fully and in good faith with its international obligations and to live in peace with other States.
It does not take too much head searching to realise these noble concepts are observed more in the breach by a large number of states.
We are then told by Baker that these rights are clearly only ‘theoretical’ and that the UN itself does not treat all states as equal, despite its own charter.
And can you guess the principle, indeed, unique recipient of this unequal treatment?
in Israel’s case where the assumptions inherent in sovereign equality –
judicial equality, equality of voting, equality in participation in all UN activities and processes, and equality in membership in all fora – break down and leave Israel isolated and discriminated against.
How is this discrimination achieved and how and why is it allowed to continue?
Baker refers us to the Regional Group System which underpins much of the UN’s work which was designed, ironically, to give ‘equitable geographical representation’.
The regional group system has become the central mechanism for the representation and participation of UN Members in the UN system. Membership of a regional group is the only way full participation in the work of the UN system can be ensured.
So exclusion from your regional group means exclusion from the major organs of the UN and international representation.
Israel, being geographically in a group dominated by enemies and Islamic countries never manages to have a representative elected. This is because these groups have autonomy and exclude Israel in contravention of the principles of the UN, whilst some of the most putrid and criminal nations on earth have representation.
Since Israel is excluded from its geographical regional group – the Asian Group (by vote of the Arab and Muslim members of that group) – and is not accepted as a full member in the Western European and Others Group, and does not enjoy any other special or ex-officio position in the United Nations, Israel is, to all intents and purposes, denied its Charter-guaranteed equality.
This has serious consequences:
In such a situation Israel can never put up its candidacy for membership of the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, or the other major UN organs such as the International Court of Justice, it is denied any chance of having its jurists chosen as candidates for the major juridical institutions, tribunals, and courts within the UN system, and it cannot participate in consultations between states, organized within the regional group system, to determine positions and voting on issues, resolutions, and other matters.
Even world-renowned experts are denied a voice. The UN itself has recognised this anomaly. The Secretary General stated in 1998:
Israel could do much more for the United Nations were it not for a significant obstacle:
its status as the only Member State that is not a member of a regional group, which is the basis of participation in many United Nations bodies and activities
Israel cannot sit on the Security Council – the only nation thus excluded. Similarly, membership of International Court of Justice is also denied.
The attempts to have Israel to be part of another regional group have not met with any great success. Nor does there appear to be any remedy for this anomaly.
What is even more ridiculous is the thought that if a state of Palestine were given full membership it would be afforded the rights denied to Israel.
This isolation is not confined to the UN.
This filters down through the BDS campaign to exclude Israeli goods, academics and even performing artists from international forums and events.
When it comes to soccer, Israel has to qualify in the European groups because FIFA never had the guts to exclude nations who would refuse to play Israel or include it in the Asian associations. At club level, Israeli teams have to play in the European Championship and Europa Cup.
Iranians refuse to compete against Israelis in the Olympics or to acknowledge them on the same podium.
Two year ago Shachar Peer was denied entry to Qatar to play in a tennis tournament.
Israel is truly the Jew among the nations of the world yet many of those opposing this tiny country and the Jewish nation continue their absurd and antisemitic claims of Jewish world hegemony, financial power and malign conspiracies.
And all this whilst Iran, Saudi Arabia, Zimbabwe, Libya, Syria, Burma, China, Somalia, Yemen and any number of tyrannical serial human rights abusers suffer no such treatment.
It is surprising that Israel does not do more to find its voice at the highest levels of international discourse.
Its exclusion is a disgrace and diminishes the UN and its many organs to mouthpieces of hypocrisy, antisemitism and genocide.