Try this for a guessing game: which European country decided it would renege on a deal its colleagues agreed to whereby Israel would finally get a chance to sit on the U.N. Security Council after spending decades being the only country in the United Nations that was ineligible?
You would think after wiping out six million Jews, Germany would not be that country, but you’d be wrong. As Benny Avni writes in the New York Post, after U.N. ambassador Richard Holbrooke finally succeeded in the 1990s in getting a group of Western countries, including the U.S., Australia, Canada, and European countries west of the Berlin wall to admit Israel to their group, as the countries in the Middle East shut Israel out of their bloc, Israel agreed to wait 20 years to be eligible for a seat. In return, the group assured Israel that in 2019, Israel and Belgium would run uncontested for the two open 2019-20 seats.
But then, in 2016, Germany announced it would also run for a seat, despite the fact it had sat on the council in 2011-2012. With the June election nearing, Germany and Belgium have been pursuing the seats openly as they court U.N. ambassadors from key voting countries, while Israel has to concentrate its efforts behind the scenes.
But last week, President Trump’s nominee to serve as U.S. ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, strongly supported the right of Israel to finally get a seat on the council after over 70 years of isolation.
As Avni writes, “But Germany is unlikely to withdraw. So, unless Belgium yields, Israel’s hopes for U.N. respect seem doomed for now — and maybe for the foreseeable future. Why? Diplomats have been telling me Israel violates too many Security Council resolutions to be a member — as in the one passed during the last weeks of Barack Obama’s presidency, which marked Jewish holy sites as occupied Palestinian territory.”
Avni notes that a report released last week by U.N. experts “found Germany violated a council ban on sparkling wines, exporting $151,840 worth of bubbly and other luxury goods to Kim Jong-un’s cronies. Or how about, as The Jerusalem Post’s Benjamin Weinthal reports, German companies exporting to Iran banned materials that were later used in chemical attacks in Syria?”