The UN's Continuing War Against Israel
Speaking at the United Nations in Geneva
On June 13, 2022, I had the great honor of speaking at a United Nations side event, hosted by UN Watch in Geneva, Switzerland. The event coincided with the release of the first report by the recently established United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Commission of Inquiry (COI). Simply put, the COI is antisemitic, has an overreaching mandate that stretches indefinitely into the future and the past, is one-sided, and is chaired by Navi Pillay, an anti-Israel advocate.
In the weeks leading up to my trip, the excitement turned into nerves as the gravity of the assignment weighed on me. Whilst much has been done by pro-Israel activists and organizations, polls continue to show that antisemitism is on the rise worldwide and that support for Israel is dropping amongst Christians and Jewish American teens. Antisemitism is at uncomfortably high levels in the Africa-American community and Africa4Palestine grows increasingly arrogant at its self-declared growing influence on the African continent. Gone are the days where we skirt around the real issues impacting sentiment around the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and adopt a politically correct approach to efforts by the UN to demonize and isolate the Jewish State. In the words of IBSI’s founder and CEO, Pastor Dumisani Washington, “the house is on fire and most people are oblivious.”
I spoke about life in apartheid South Africa for black people and why the diversity of Israeli politics, policies, culture, and overall Israeli life cannot be compared to apartheid, South Africa. I also noted that because Israel haters are determined that Israel is accused of being an apartheid state and so guilty of committing a crime against humanity – despite this claim being debunked countless times over the years – a new definition of “apartheid” is now being advanced by various actors to perpetuate this decades’ old lie that was conceived by Soviet-Arab propaganda machinery.
I was privileged to bring to the world’s attention the actuality that many South Africans have called out and do call out the apartheid lie. King Goodwill Zwelithini, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, Rev. Dr. Kenneth Meshoe, and Bishop, Dr. Barnabas Lekganyane, are but a few South African leaders in politics, the judiciary, faith, and the broader community who do not equate support for the Palestinian people as having to be anti-Israel, and who see the importance of a strong South Africa-Israel relationship for the benefit of all South Africans, and Africans.
In his address at the 37th Congress of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, Nelson Mandela said “we [the African National Congress] recognize the legitimacy of Palestinian nationalism just as we recognize the legitimacy of (the – sic) Zionism as (a – sic) Jewish nationalism. We insist on the right of the state of Israel to exist within secure borders but with equal vigor support the Palestinian right to national self-determination”. Mr. Mandela was not anti-Israel as Israel critics would have us believe.
I was excited to learn that former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, a Ghanaian, noted in a speech in June 2004 that the fight against anti-Semitism must be the United Nation’s fight, and that Jews everywhere must feel that the United Nations is their home too. An African reminded this world body that it had a responsibility not to demonize Israel! Sadly, the weaponization of apartheid by the UN and now by the COI is the antithesis of what Mr. Annan called the UN to do.
As a proud daughter of the African continent, and with all that I have learned in my work with DEISI International and the Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel, I knew that my assignment to Geneva would be incomplete if I did not highlight the implications the apartheid narrative has for a region whose significance in this conversation cannot be ignored – Africa.
As was noted in this previous Africa-Weekly two-part article, members of the African Union gathered earlier this year to vote on whether to retain or remove the observer status granted to Israel in 2021. Arab leaders led the protest in denouncing this move. It is important to know that 44 of the 54 countries that comprise Africa recognize Israel and have established diplomatic relations with the state. Many African states have opened their markets and economic space to Israeli enterprises and have signed Cooperation Agreements in numerous fields including – but not limited to – Education, Defence, and Finance. Contradictorily, this reality is not reflected by African nations at the United Nations.
The apartheid lie is instead brandished against the strengthening of ties by African nations with Israel. African nations are expected to and have indeed made peace and forged close ties with nations that colonized us, enslaved our people, and slaughtered us like animals. Israel, who we are told to shun, has committed no such atrocities against us.
During the time allocated to me, I respectfully asked African leaders, “How has lending support for Jew-hatred progressed the needs of the continent?” The answer is, it has not! African leaders have propped up the morally and legally corrupt notions that Israel is guilty of apartheid, colonialization, and genocide. We have for far too long lent our name, our history, and our votes at the UN to the centrality of a program that seeks to demonize and isolate the Jewish state, more so than it seeks to improve the lives of the Palestinian people. Africa is now the global eye of terrorism, slavery is rampant in no less than five African countries, and Nigerian Christians continue to be slaughtered, all to the silence of the mainstream media and the UNHRC. The attention that should be afforded Africa is focused on demonizing Israel.
A private lunch with various ambassadors to the UNHRC followed the UN Watch event countries that recognize the antisemitic bias of the COI and voted against its establishment. In my conversations with two of these ambassadors, they both noted that they were mandated to act in the best interests of their people; shunning Israel was not in the best interests of their people. I recall thinking to myself “This is the attitude African leaders must have! This is what Africans must demand of those who represent them on the global stage.”
I have returned home with a greater sense of awareness that Africa must reassume her rightful place as a leader in relations with Israel, just as she did 3,000 years ago by way of the Queen of Sheba who visited King Solomon in Jerusalem. As was evidenced at the dawn of many African democracies in the 1950s and 1960s, close relations with Israel have real and meaningful economic, health, food security, counter-terrorism, and many other benefits for Africa and nations around the world.
It is expected that the COI will release a report twice a year, every year – one to the Human Rights Council in Geneva and another to the General Assembly in New York. There is much work to do to stop this evil agenda. I would like to challenge you to consider where your efforts and donations are being spent. If they are not being spent with organizations that have a clear sense of what the real issues are and are unapologetically committed to addressing them head-on, it is time to redirect your investments. The house is on fire.