FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Meet the New Israeli UN Ambassador: Yet Another Farcical Face of Modern Apartheid

Israel’s government is not keen on the United Nations. A common sign in the illegal settlements reads, “UNwelcome”.

Israel sees the UN as hostile territory. Its ambassadors behave on a war footing. Ron Prosor, the former ambassador, routinely attacked senior UN officials when he didn’t agree with them, calling many “anti-Semites”.

Israel has now sent a new ambassador to the UN. Danny Danon follows Prosor – both are brash and farcical. Danon is the envoy of the settlers, a fierce advocate of “Greater Israel”.

In a New York Times opinion piece in 2011, Danon wrote that the Israeli government “should annex the Jewish communities of the West Bank, or as Israelis prefer to refer to our historic heartland, Judea and Samaria.”

The two-state solution is a senseless idea to Danon, who is firmly committed to the full annexation of Palestinian lands. Danon has written that early Zionist leaders acted with total disregard for international opinion and law, and that “diplomatic storms soon blew over as the international community moved on to other issues”.

The disdain shown for international law and the UN is the essence of what in Israel is called ‘Danonism’.

Danon has been an irritant to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu – he ran against him for Likud’s leadership, and despite being appointed three times to senior positions by Netanyahu, continues to belittle him.

It is likely that Netanyahu has sent him to New York to get him out of Israel.

His close links to Christian Zionists in the US indicate that he will ignore the establishment and strengthen ties to friends such as Glenn Beck, Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin. The Christian Zionists and the Israeli settlers are the real base of men such as Danon.

Danon is not the only envoy of the settlements. Dani Dayan, the former head of the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea and Samaria, is to be ambassador to Brazil. Brazil has been a consistent critic of Israel’s settlement policy and recalled its ambassador from Tel Aviv during the 2014 bombing of Gaza.

Israel has hoped to appeal to Brazil’s growing Pentacostal movement, which has within a strong strain of Christian Zionism. Sending an unapologetic settler such as ambassador snubs Brasilia as Israel reaches out to this section of the population.

Prosor’s farewell gift

Israel’s outgoing ambassador, Prosor, left the UN with a gift. On 5 March and 7 April of last year, he sent strongly worded letters to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon condemning Rima Khalaf, a former Jordanian cabinet minister who is the head of the UN’s Economic and Social Commission of West Asia.

Khalaf’s agency had released a powerful report, Arab Integration, which was sharply critical of the direction of development in all of West Asia and North Africa. In one section, the report indicated that Israel’s claim to being a “Jewish State” was racist.

Prosor wrote that there was “far more fiction than fact” in Khalaf’s report, which “alleges that Israel is reviving the concept of ‘state ethnic and religious purity’.”

The evidence supports Khalaf’s team. Bills from Yariv Levin, of Likud, and Ayelet Shaked, of Jewish Home, called for Israel to directly call itself a “Jewish State”. Israel, these politicians argue, needs to be open about its apartheid character. Both politicians are now ministers – Shaked for justice and Levin for tourism.

Khalaf’s report, Prosor argued, represented “the epitome of modern day anti-Semitism”. He accused her of “demonising Israel”.

The UN secretary general’s office has rejected his claims. It renewed Khalaf’s tenure as the head of her group. Farhan Haq, from Ban Ki-moon’s office, told me: “The secretary general continues to support Rima Khalaf and he has full confidence in her work.”

As the door closed behind him, Prosor decided to toss out more canards against her. This July, in New York, Khalaf raised the question of Israel and its violation of international law.

Khalaf is quoted as saying that the Israeli response to humanitarian flotillas trying to break its blockade of Gaza, “is like the violent abductions carried out by pirates at sea, in the air and on land, which the world does not hesitate to call terror”.

Khalaf also said: “In Palestine, international indifference not only allowed the Israeli occupation to keep on grinding for half a century, but spread instability in the region. This eroded the faith in global justice and pushed some people to take justice into their own hands.”

Prosor responded to this speech with the same old cliched complaints. Khalaf’s comments were, he said, “pronouncements… seeped with anti-Semitism”.

Prosor approached Carman Lapointe, the UN under secretary general for Internal Oversight Services and demanded a formal investigation of Khalaf. When asked about the investigation, Lapointe said it never discussed complaints with external parties.

Israel’s cavalier attitude toward international law and the UN is enabled by the carte blanche it receives from the US. Despite the daylight between US President Barack Obama and Netanyahu over the nuclear deal with Iran, the US has never threatened to call Israel to account for its violations of international law.

The US has neither the will nor the probity to do so. After all, if the US took international law seriously, it would have to call itself to account for its criminal war against Iraq.

This column originally appeared in Al-Araby.

More articles by:

Vijay Prashad’s most recent book is No Free Left: The Futures of Indian Communism (New Delhi: LeftWord Books, 2015).

Weekend Edition
December 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
A Tale of Two Cities
Peter Linebaugh
The Significance of The Common Wind
Bruce E. Levine
The Ketamine Chorus: NYT Trumpets New Anti-Suicide Drug
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fathers and Sons, Bushes and Bin Ladens
Kathy Deacon
Coffee, Social Stratification and the Retail Sector in a Small Maritime Village
Nick Pemberton
Praise For America’s Second Leading Intellectual
Robert Hunziker
The Yellow Vest Insurgency – What’s Next?
Patrick Cockburn
The Yemeni Dead: Six Times Higher Than Previously Reported
Nick Alexandrov
George H. W. Bush: Another Eulogy
Brian Cloughley
Principles and Morality Versus Cash and Profit? No Contest
Michael F. Duggan
Climate Change and the Limits of Reason
Victor Grossman
Sighs of Relief in Germany
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Robert Fantina
What Does Beto Have Against the Palestinians?
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Sartre, Said, Chomsky and the Meaning of the Public Intellectual
Andrew Glikson
Crimes Against the Earth
Robert Fisk
The Parasitic Relationship Between Power and the American Media
Stephen Cooper
When Will Journalism Grapple With the Ethics of Interviewing Mentally Ill Arrestees?
Jill Richardson
A War on Science, Morals and Law
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Evaggelos Vallianatos
It’s Not Easy Being Greek
Nomi Prins 
The Inequality Gap on a Planet Growing More Extreme
John W. Whitehead
Know Your Rights or You Will Lose Them
David Swanson
The Abolition of War Requires New Thoughts, Words, and Actions
J.P. Linstroth
Primates Are Us
Bill Willers
The War Against Cash
Jonah Raskin
Doris Lessing: What’s There to Celebrate?
Ralph Nader
Are the New Congressional Progressives Real? Use These Yardsticks to Find Out
Binoy Kampmark
William Blum: Anti-Imperial Advocate
Medea Benjamin – Alice Slater
Green New Deal Advocates Should Address Militarism
John Feffer
Review: Season 2 of Trump Presidency
Rich Whitney
General Motors’ Factories Should Not Be Closed. They Should Be Turned Over to the Workers
Christopher Brauchli
Deported for Christmas
Kerri Kennedy
This Holiday Season, I’m Standing With Migrants
Mel Gurtov
Weaponizing Humanitarian Aid
Thomas Knapp
Lame Duck Shutdown Theater Time: Pride Goeth Before a Wall?
George Wuerthner
The Thrill Bike Threat to the Elkhorn Mountains
Nyla Ali Khan
A Woman’s Selfhood and Her Ability to Act in the Public Domain: Resilience of Nadia Murad
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
On the Killing of an Ash Tree
Graham Peebles
Britain’s Homeless Crisis
Louis Proyect
America: a Breeding Ground for Maladjustment
Steve Carlson
A Hell of a Time
Dan Corjescu
America and The Last Ship
Jeffrey St. Clair
Booked Up: the 25 Best Books of 2018
David Yearsley
Bikini by Rita, Voice by Anita
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail