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(Washington, D.C., March 28, 2019)—Blatant anti-Israel bias within the United Nations is the topic of the latest B’nai B’rith International podcast.
David Michaels, B’nai B’rith International director of United Nations and intercommunal affairs, joins CEO and host Daniel S. Mariaschin for a discussion about the United Nations. The conversation focuses in particular on anti-Israel bias at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Michaels and Mariaschin begin the podcast with a discussion of B’nai B’rith’s recent international mission to Paris and Geneva, where B’nai B’rith staff and volunteer leaders called on U.N. agencies to treat Israel as they would any other country. During the visit, Michaels addressed UNHRC.
UNESCO admitted “Palestine” as a full member state in 2011. Since then, UNESCO, an agency tasked with the mission of preserving history and culture, has been undergoing a politicization that is damaging both to the Jewish community and to UNESCO itself.
The podcast also features a discussion of the Aalst Carnival parade in Belgium, which UNESCO includes on its list of masterpieces of oral and intangible heritage of humanity. In both 2019 and 2013, the parade featured anti-Semitic floats. Despite this, the parade is still tied to UNESCO through its inclusion on the intangible heritage list; there is no mechanism in place for delisting events, as the need for one was not anticipated when the list was created. The B’nai B’rith delegation used part of its time in Paris to advocate for the creation of a delisting mechanism.
The concerns we expressed to UNESCO included attempts to erase Jewish history. On the podcast, Michaels explains how, by passing resolutions that “take the foremost holy sites in Judaism – not only elsewhere in the land of Israel, in Hebron and Bethlehem, but in Jerusalem itself, up to and including the Temple Mount and the Western Wall – and refer to them as primarily and exclusively Palestinian and Islamic sites,” UNESCO hurts “the cause of peace and reconciliation on the ground in the Middle East.”
Mariaschin and Michaels also accompanied the B’nai B’rith delegation to Geneva earlier this month that met with officials at the UNHRC. This annual delegation is planned to coincide with the customary consideration of a litany of anti-Israel resolutions. The UNHRC targets Israel with country-specific resolutions more than any other country in the world, including such notorious human rights violators as Iran, North Korea and Syria. The Council does not pass resolutions condemning the terrorist groups Hezbollah and Hamas, which regularly target Israel and publicly call for the annihilation of the Jewish State.
“[The] human rights organs of the U.N. have utterly failed to live up to the principle of universality in implementing and safeguarding those very human rights,” Michaels noted on the podcast. “And by that, I mean that Israelis’ rights are human rights too.”
To listen to the full podcast, click here.
B’nai B’rith International has advocated for global Jewry and championed the cause of human rights since 1843. B’nai B’rith is recognized as a vital voice in promoting Jewish unity and continuity, a staunch defender of the State of Israel, a tireless advocate on behalf of senior citizens and a leader in disaster relief. With a presence around the world, we are the Global Voice of the Jewish Community. Visit