Meron Reuben, ambassador of Israel to the United Nations, addressed the B’nai B’rith International Policy Conference on Nov. 16, telling conferees that despite a deeply troubling U.N. system that displays an ongoing bias, Israel has a lot to offer the world body.
Reuben said the United Nations—which spends an inordinate amount of its time on issues pertaining to Israel—is at the front lines in the delegitimization of the Jewish state, and there is often “double-speak, double standards, and hypocrisy” surrounding discussion of Israel at the U.N. He noted that too many resolutions blindly condemn Israel, “irrespective of the facts on the ground.”
But despite that, he said we can’t forget all the good the U.N. does do, and can do, in the world. He reminded the attendees that the history of Israel is intrinsically linked to the world body. Therefore, we cannot ignore the U.N. he said, instead “we must play on this playing field and play on it well.”
Regarding Iran, the ambassador reminded the audience that it is not the people of Iran, but its leadership, that poses a grave danger. He said a nuclear Iran threatens the world, not just Israel and the Middle East. The international community must stand together against the “marriage between religious fanaticism and weapons of mass destruction,” Reuben said. Sanctions are an important part of keeping the Tehran regime in check, and he urged companies and nations to abide by the current sanctions in order for them to have the appropriate impact.
Reuben said the best way the peace process can move forward is through direct negotiations between the two sides. He said unilateral statements were not effective at promoting peace negotiations or lasting peace in the area.
B’nai B’rith International is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its Office of U.N. Affairs.
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