Israel Elected to UN Leadership Role for First Time, Despite Anti-Israel Bias

Israel will have a leading role in the UN's fight against terror. UN headquarters. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

Israel will have a leading role in the UN’s fight against terror. UN headquarters. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

Israel has been unfairly singled out by the United Nations for decades—but on Monday they were singled out for the first time for a prestigious leadership position, as they were elected the head of the UN’s Sixth Committee, which deals with legal issues. Yet even this privilege didn’t first come without a reminder of the UN’s anti-Israel bias. The committee leadership role normally doesn’t require a vote, but The Times of Israel reported that Yemen challenged Israel’s nomination and called for a ballot. Israel won anyway, but the slight didn’t go unnoticed by the United States.

US Deputy Ambassador to the UN David Pressman noted that the UN Committee even once accepted without a vote the nomination of Libya under former dictator Muammar Qaddafi. “For any other country in these United Nations, today’s election would have been an unremarkable affair. But Israel is rarely treated like any other country here… This pattern of bias needs to change,” Pressman said in a press statement from the Embassy. “The United States is very disappointed that a vote was called.” Nonetheless, Israel had the final say.

“Iran, the Palestinians and anti-Israel groups tried to stop us—and failed. I thank all the countries that stood by Israel in this important battle,” Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon said on the Facebook page of the Israeli Embassy to the UN.

US Deputy Ambassador Pressman believes the anti-Israel efforts at the UN are the opposite from what should be happening. “We need a United Nations that is a model of equal treatment and non-discrimination. We need a United Nations that includes Israel, that brings Israel closer, not one that systematically pushes Israel away.”

Moving forward, Israel’s expertise will have a chance to shine in the new role. Among the topics in the provisional program for the committee to be chaired by Israel is eliminating international terrorism, according to the UN website. In their report, The Times of Israel quoted Danon as noting that Israel is a global leader on the topic and looks forward to sharing their experiences in that realm.

The United States is looking forward to it too. Said Pressman, “Israel has shown, time and time again, that it is has much to contribute to the international community, to the benefit of the United Nations and of the world.”

(By Joshua Spurlock,, June 13, 2016)

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