Saturday, July 13, 2024
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Zionism and the U.N.

Abba Eban

NY Times, Nov. 3, 1975

“There is no difference whatever between anti‐Semitism and the denial of Israel’s statehood. Classical anti‐Semitism denies the equal rights of Jews as citizens within society. Anti‐Zionism denies the equal rights of the Jewish people to its lawful sovereignty within the community of nations.”

The United Nations began its life as an anti‐Nazi alliance. Thirty years later it is on the way to becoming the world center of antiSemitism. There is no other tribunal from which such a torrent of abuse is poured forth every year against values, ideals and articles of faith revered by the Jewish people across the centuries. The horrifying truth is that Hitler himself would often have felt at home in a forum which gave applause to a gun‐toting Yasir Arafat and an obsequious ovation to the murderous Idi Amin.

There is, of course, no difference whatever between anti‐Semitism and the denial of Israel’s statehood. Classical anti‐Semitism denies the equal rights of Jews as citizens within society. Anti‐Zionism denies the equal rights of the Jewish people to its lawful sovereignty within the community of nations. The common principle in the two cases is discrimination.

Zionism is nothing more—but also nothing less—than the Jewish people’s sense of origin and destination in the land linked eternally with its name. It is also the instrument whereby the Jewish nation seeks an authentic fulfillment of itself.

And the drama is enacted in the region in which the Arab nation has realized its sovereignty in twenty states comprising 100 million people in four and a half million square miles, with vast resources.

The issue therefore is not whether the world will come to terms with Arab nationalism. The question is at what point Arab nationalism, with its prodigious glut of advantage, wealth and opportunity, will come to terms with the modest but equal right of another Middle Eastern nation to pursue its life in security and peace.

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