Unmasking the 'International Community'

Caroline Glick

7/1/2011 1:05:00 PM - Caroline Glick

For many years, the Left in Israel and throughout the world has upheld the so-called “international community” as the arbiter of all things. From Israel’s right to exist to climate change, from American world leadership to genetically modified crops, the Left has maintained that the “international community” is the only body qualified to judge the truth, lawfulness, goodness and justice of all things.

Most of those who uphold this view see the United Nations as the embodiment of the “international community.”

US President Barack Obama has repeatedly made clear that his chief litmus test for the viability or desirability of a foreign policy is the support it garners in UN institutions.

Obama is so averse to acting against the will of the UN that he is trying to strong-arm Israel into making suicidal concessions to the Hamas-dominated Palestinian Authority. Obama claims that if Israel agrees to accept indefensible borders, then he will be able to convince the Palestinians not to ask the UN to endorse Palestinian sovereignty in September. Since the success of the Palestinian initiative is entirely dependent on the US Security Council veto, by acting as he is, Obama is showing that he prefers sacrificing Israel’s future viability as a nation-state to standing up to the “will of the international community” as embodied by the UN.

Furthermore, in a bid to maintain faith with the UN Security Council resolution permitting the use of force in Libya to protect civilians, Obama has refused to articulate a clear goal for the US military involvement in Libya. The fact that the Security Council resolution essentially dooms NATO’s military intervention to strategic incoherence stalemate that can lead to the break-up of Libya is unimportant to the US president.

The only thing that is important is that the US abides by the limitations dictated by the UN Security Council resolution.

As to Libya, Obama’s decision to send US forces to Libya without congressional permission makes clear that from his perspective, the UN Security Council, rather than the US Congress, is the source of authority for US military action. To the extent that Congress calls for the president to act in a manner that is contrary to the UN Security Council, as far as Obama is concerned, it is the duty of the president to disregard Congress and obey the Security Council.

Given the totemic stature of the UN in the minds of the American president and the international Left, it is worth considering its nature.

A glance at UN affairs in recent days is revealing.

Last week UN members elected Qatar President of the General Assembly and Iran one of the body’s vice presidents. Both countries’ representatives will use their platform to advance their regimes’ anti-American, anti-Israel and anti-Western agendas.

As Prof. Anne Bayefsky noted in The Weekly Standard last week, their first order of business will be leading the Durban III conference that will take place in New York on the sidelines of September’s General Assembly meeting. The first Durban conference was of course the infamously racist and anti-Jewish UN conference in Durban, South Africa, in September 2001. At Durban, Israel was singled out as the only racist, xenophobic country in the world and Jewish people were denied their right to national rights and self-determination. The conference ended three days before the jihadist attacks on the US on September 11, 2001.

In addition to their anti-Jewish conference, the Qatari and Iranian leaders of the General Assembly will reliably advance a General Assembly resolution embracing Palestinian statehood and condemning Jewish statehood.

Perhaps anticipating its new leadership role in the “international community,” last weekend Iran hosted its first “World Without Terrorism Conference.” Speaking at the conference, Iran’s supreme dictator Ali Khamenei called Israel and the US the greatest terrorists in the world. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the US was behind the September 11 attacks and the Holocaust and has used both to force the Palestinians to submit to invading Jews.

Aside from the fact that the leaders from Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan – who owe their power and freedom to the sacrifices of the US military – participated in the conference, the most notable aspect of the event is that it took place under the UN flag. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon sent greetings to the conferees through his special envoy. According to Iran’s Fars news agency, “In a written message... read by UN Envoy to Teheran Mohammad Rafi Al-Din Shah, [Ban] Kimoon [commended] the Islamic Republic of Iran for holding this very important conference.”

According to Fars, Ban added that the UN had “approved a large number of resolutions against terrorism in recent years, and holding conferences like the Teheran conference can be considerably helpful in implementing these resolutions.”

When journalists inquired about the veracity of the Iranian news report, the UN Secretary-General’s Office defended its position. Ban’s spokesman Farhan Haq sniffed, “If we’re reaching out and trying to make sure that people fight terrorism, we need to go as far as possible to make sure that everyone does it.”

So as far as the UN’s highest official is concerned, when it comes to terrorism there is no qualitative difference between Iran on the one hand and the US and Israel on the other. Here it is worth noting that among the other invitees, Iran’s “counterterror” conference prominently featured Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court on genocide charges for the genocide he has perpetrated in Darfur.

The new General Assembly vice president is not merely the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism. It is also a nuclear proliferator. This no doubt is why Iran’s UN representative expressed glee when earlier this month his nation’s fellow nuclear proliferator North Korea was appointed the head of the UN’s Conference on Disarmament.

This would be the same North Korea that has conducted two illicit nuclear tests; constructed an illicit nuclear reactor in Syria; openly cooperated with Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile program; attacked and sank a South Korean naval ship last year, and threatened nuclear war any time anyone criticizes its aggressive behavior.

What these representative examples of what passes for business as usual at the UN show is that the international institution considered the repository of the will of the “international community” is wholly and completely corrupt. It is morally bankrupt. It is controlled by the most repressive regimes in the world and it uses its US- and Western-funded institutions to attack Israel, the US, the West and forces of liberty and liberalism throughout the world.

Given the utter depravity of the UN and the international system it oversees, what can explain the international Left’s kneejerk obeisance to it? From San Francisco to Chicago to Boston; from Stockholm to Paris to London, members of the international Left claim they support the victims of tyranny. They claim they stand for liberal values of freedom and tolerance and human rights. But like the UN, the truth about the international Left shows that its members are the opposite of what they claim to be.

Here, too, a few examples from the past week suffice to tell the tale of liberal intolerance and violence. On Sunday, US Congresswoman and Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann appeared on ABC News’ This Week with George Stephanopoulos. Towards the end of her interview, Stephanopoulos informed Bachmann that she can expect the media to begin attacking her family, and specifically the 23 foster children that she and her husband cared for.

As he put it, “I know you want to shield them [the foster children] but are they prepared and are you prepared for the loss of privacy that comes with the president [sic] campaign? And is that something you are concerned about for them?” Stephanopoulos’s menacing warning was notable for what it says about the nature of the leftist-dominated media. In a recent interview, first lady Michelle Obama thanked the media for protecting her family from scrutiny. Yet Stephanopoulos had no compunction about threatening Bachmann’s family with a journalistic lynch mob.

And this makes sense. As fellow leftists, the Obamas get a free ride. But as a conservative Republican, and as a non-leftist woman, Bachmann – like the Sarah Palin – has no right to expect tolerance for her family’s privacy from the enlightened, feminist, liberal media.

Then there was the mob assault on Israeli historian Benny Morris outside the London School of Economics two weeks ago. As Morris described it at The National Interest, on his way to give a lecture at the university, “a small mob...of some dozen Muslims, Arabs and their supporters, both men and women, surrounded me and, walking alongside me for several hundred yards as I advanced towards the building where the lecture was to take place, raucously harangued and bated me with cries of “fascist,” “racist,” “England should never have allowed you in,” “you shouldn't be allowed to speak.”

He added, “To me, it felt like Brownshirts in a street scene in 1920s Berlin.”

No less appalling than the behavior of the mob was the behavior of the professor at LSE who hosted Morris’s lecture. As Morris described it, in his “brief introductory remarks,” the professor “failed completely to note the harassment and intimidation (of which he had been made fully aware)..., or to criticize [Morris’s attackers] in any way.”

In New York last weekend, when conservative television and radio host Glenn Beck went to New York’s Bryant Park to watch a movie with his family, they were accosted by the people around them who professed hatred for “Republicans.”

The extraordinary intolerance of the Left for Israel is on full display among the participants in the so-called “flotilla.” The purpose of the flotilla is to break international law by providing aid and comfort to Hamas-controlled Gaza and to weaken with the intention of ending Israel’s lawful maritime blockade of Gaza’s Hamas-controlled coastline.

As Ehud Rosen exposed Thursday in a report for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, this year’s flotilla is organized by Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood with the active participation of leftist anti-Israel groups.

In their public statements, participants in the Hamas flotilla profess bottomless tolerance for Hamas and its genocidal agenda. And they profess no tolerance whatsoever for Israel or its right to exist.

In their behavior, participants in the flotilla from the Obama-aligned Code Pink group and sister organizations ape the behavior of UN Secretary- General Ban in celebrating Iran’s provocative conference on terrorism, and overseeing North Korea’s ascension to the head of the UN’s Conference on Disarmament’ and Qatar’s and Iran’s leadership of the General Assembly.

While emptily mouthing slogans of tolerance, all these adherents to the rule of the “international community” embrace the agenda of the most violent, intolerant, totalitarian forces in the world. Not only do they embrace them, they serve them.

It doesn’t take much to tear off their flimsy mask of sweetness and light. Pity so few can be bothered to do it.