A year of deadlock and diplomatic failure has defanged the organization
A United Nations Security Council meeting takes place on March 3, 2014 in New York City. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
One indication of the fading relevance of the United Nations in the public consciousness is how few people showed up to today’s AIPAC panel about it. In the past, few subjects would fire up pro-Israel activists more than the international body’s long-standing inquisition against the Jewish state. After all, while many issues arising from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are morally complex, the U.N.’s mistreatment of Israel has no such nuances. From labeling Zionism a form of racism, to barring Israel from serving on any committees for decades, to passing scores of resolutions against the Jewish state and few to none against any other countries, to putting a promoter of Holocaust denial in charge of prosecuting Israeli human rights abuses, the U.N. has subjected Israel to “a barrage of obsessive, unbalanced, and relentless criticism,” in the words of President Obama’s former ambassador to the body, Susan Rice.
And yet, despite a set of all-star panelists–U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO David Killion, Israeli Ambassador Aharon Leshno Yaar, and human rights NGO head Hillel Neuer–only a third of the seats were full at this afternoon’s session: “Report Card: Israel at the U.N.” Last year, by contrast, the house was packed. But as the U.N. has been exposed as increasingly impotent when it comes to global crises ranging from Syria to Ukraine, it has become increasingly irrelevant in the eyes of activists. Even its arch-enemies no longer take it seriously. (more…)