New York, December 19th, 2016 – The European Coalition for Israel has marked the 25th anniversary of the revocation of the infamous UN General Assembly Resolution 3379 which called Zionism a form of racism. Meanwhile outgoing UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his final press conference has officially admitted that the UN has been disproportionately biased against Israel.
ECI Founding Director Tomas Sandell and ECI UN Director Gregory Lafitte were officially invited to the farewell concert of outgoing UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson last week in the UN Headquarters in New York. Earlier in the week former Portuguese Prime Minister António Guterres was sworn in as the new Secretary-General of the UN. In private conversations with Jan Eliasson, the outgoing Deputy Secretary-General thanked ECI and the Forum for Cultural Diplomacy for its important work at the UN as he highlighted the need for new forms of diplomacy in a world of continuous conflicts.
In a personal letter to Ban Ki-moon, ECI thanked the outgoing Secretary-General for his support in securing the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur as a floating UN holiday. The Jewish people had their first holiday recognized by the UN this year after more than 67 years of membership. In his last press conference on Friday, Ban Ki-moon openly admitted that Israel has been unfairly treated in the UN, echoing the sentiments of ECI and other pro-Israel organizations over the years.
However, his support for the work of the Forum for Cultural Diplomacy to make the UN a better place for Israel had been steadfast. Ban Ki-moon participated actively in the ECI hosted Taschlik ceremony at the UN Rose Garden in October 2015 and was represented by Under-Secretary Cristina Gallach at the first ever Pesach Seder in the UN Headquarters in April 2016. On October 14th, the office of the Secretary-General received ECI to mark the first year that Yom Kippur was officially recognized at the UN. In a private letter to ECI he had called the work of the Forum “very important”.
In a separate letter to the Permanent Representatives of the 111 UN member states that voted for the revocation of UN Resolution 3379 on December 16th, 1991, Sandell and Lafitte reminded them of the importance of affirming the Jewish right to self-determination at a time of rising antisemitism and new attempts to boycott the Jewish state.
“At a time when the inflammatory language of the infamous UN Resolution 3379 from 1975 is again resurging on university campuses in Europe and elsewhere in the world, it is important that the UN General Assembly stands by its commitments to the Jewish people and do not give in to new forms of antisemitism and recycled lies from the 1975 UN resolution”, the letter reads.
However, December 16th, 1991, marked a unique turning point in UN history when a clear majority of the UN member states stood on the right side of history by distancing themselves from the inflammatory language of hate and demonization of Israel in 1975.
The ECI letter points out that Zionism is not the root cause to antisemitism, as claimed by its critics, but rather the answer to it. By affirming the right of the Jewish people to self-determination, they can be responsible for their own destiny, like any other people group. If this had been the case already in 1939, as promised in the Mandate for Palestine, history may have taken another turn and there would be many more Jews alive today.
“As we mark the 120th anniversary of the First Zionist Congress in Basel next year, the Jewish state is therefore something which deserves to be celebrated by the whole international community”, the letter concludes.