B’nai B’rith International welcomes the election of Israel to the position of chair of the United Nations General Assembly’s Sixth Committee. This is the first time that the Jewish state will chair a permanent committee of the General Assembly. The committee manages matters relevant to international law and terrorism. The committee will be led by U.N. Ambassador Danny Danon, who was elected on June 13.
“B’nai B’rith is pleased that Ambassador Danon was appointed to head this committee. We know that he will do an excellent job in showcasing Israel’s legal expertise with regard to various issues affecting the global community,” B’nai B’rith International President Gary P. Saltzman said.
The Palestinian Authority and Iran campaigned against the nomination and the Arab Group called for a vote. Palestinian U.N. Ambassador Riyad Mansour told reporters that Danon’s appointment is “threatening the work of the Sixth Committee.”
The position is usually filled by acclimation—member states simply approve whomever regional groups put forward on a rotating basis. This year, the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) holds the chairmanship and nominated Israel.
As noted in a statement by Ambassador David Pressman following the election, the United States alternate representative to the U.N. for special political affairs, “Even a chair from Qadhafi’s Libya was elected by acclamation. A vote should not have been called today.” Israel received 109 out of 175 votes.
“We congratulate Ambassador Danon and the staff of the Permanent Mission of Israel to the U.N. on this important accomplishment, and we condemn those who tried to sabotage Israel’s nomination. Although the U.N. has been anything but fair in its treatment of Israel over the course of decades, we look forward to a time when Israel truly enjoys equality and the opportunity to contribute fully within the organization,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said.
Israel is a leader in counter-terrorism efforts, and chairing the Sixth Committee will allow Israel to further lend its expertise at the United Nations.