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Israel’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Danny Dano, speaks during a Holocaust memorial ceremony at the UN in New York on January 27, 2016. Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images
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Danny Danon Becomes First Israeli Elected to Head of Permanent UN Committee

Israel’s envoy to the UN makes history as he will chair the UN’s Sixth Committee, which interprets legal questions in the General Assembly

by
Jesse Bernstein
June 14, 2016
Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images
Israel's permanent representative to the United Nations, Danny Dano, speaks during a Holocaust memorial ceremony at the UN in New York on January 27, 2016. Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

For the first time in the history of the United Nations, an Israeli was appointed to head a permanent committee within its halls. Danny Danon, Israel’s envoy to the UN since last summer, received 109 out of a possible 193 votes in his election to the General Assembly’s Sixth Committee, which deals with legal matters of international law. Danon’s appointment was supported by the Western European and Others regional (WEOG) group, which had elected him as their candidate for the seat. The appointment was opposed by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), among others. The JTA reported that Danon “was chosen after months of diplomatic wrangling,” citing his Facebook post in which he said the Palestinians and other nations tried to stop the appointment, according to JTA’s translation.

“I am proud to be the first Israeli elected to this position,” said Danon. “Israel is a world leader in international law and in fighting terrorism. We are pleased to have the opportunity to share our knowledge with the countries of the world.

“We will not allow dictatorships and anti-Israel countries to harm our standing in the international community. Those who tried to block our appointment would be well advised to take note of the jurisdiction of this committee, as they have much to learn about international law. We are a full member of the UN and any attempt to deny us of our legal rights in this organization will be met with uncompromising rejection.”

Danon, who has voiced opposition to a two-state solution, was congratulated by colleagues in Western countries:

Mazel tov, @IsraelinUN! @NorwayUN https://t.co/1mlbTjcjLv



— (((NorwayinIsrael))) (@NorwayinIsrael) June 13, 2016

Congrats @IsraelinUN !! https://t.co/0TTkuT8G9c



— Canada in Israel (@CanEmbIsrael) June 13, 2016

And, reported The Times of Israel, Hamas declared Danon’s nomination as “ ‘shameful and disrespectful to UN rules and bylaws,’ with the group’s spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri calling on the UN to retract the ‘catastrophic’ move.”

Jesse Bernstein is a former Intern at Tablet.

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