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Congress & the Middle East: House Resolution Congratulating Israel on Chairing a UN Committee

(October 15, 2007)

In October 2007, the House of Representatives passed H.Res.624 to congratulate the State of Israel on its first ever appointment to chair a United Nations committee. The bill also called for supporting continued expansion of Israel's role at the United Nations and welcomed recent attempts by the U.N. to address anti-Semitsm. The meaure was sponsored by Rep. Alcee Hastings [D-FL] and passed by a voice vote.

1st Session
H.RES. 624

Whereas Israel joined the United Nations in 1949, as the 59th member of that organization;

Whereas the preamble of the Charter of the United Nations stated that its objective was to `to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war . . . and to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small . . .';

Whereas the United Nations has failed to live up to its goal to promote equal rights among states, as enshrined in its charter, in the case of Israel;

Whereas the democratic State of Israel is denied full representation within the United Nations, and its constituent agencies and bodies, yet repressive regimes in violation of United Nations human rights principles are afforded full rights and privileges;

Whereas in May 2000, Israel accepted an invitation to become a temporary member of the United Nations' Western European and Others Group (WEOG), and in May 2004, Israel was granted an indefinite extension of its qualified membership in WEOG;

Whereas since Israel was accepted as part of WEOG in 2000, it has had the right to apply for positions on United Nations committees;

Whereas the State of Israel is the only member of WEOG in a conditional status;

Whereas Israel is excluded from discussions and consultations of WEOG at the United Nations offices in Geneva, Nairobi, Rome, and Vienna;

Whereas Israel has been refused admission to the Asian States Group of the United Nations, thereby being denied the rights and privileges of full membership in the United Nations;

Whereas Israel has submitted its candidacy for membership on the United Nations Security Council for 2019 and hopes to gain the full participation rights in the United Nations to which it is entitled as a sovereign state;

Whereas at the opening of the 61st United Nations General Assembly in 2006, former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan stated that `supporters of Israel feel that it is harshly judged by standards that are not applied to its enemies . . . and too often this is true, particularly in some UN bodies';

Whereas Israel has played an active role in the international community and within the United Nations;

Whereas Israel already sits on several important committees in the United Nations, and representatives from Israel have served as deputy chairs in the United Nations numerous times;

Whereas Israelis were first elected to notable United Nations positions in 1994, including the high administrative tribunal at the Hague, Vice Chair of the World Health Organization's Executive Committee and the Human Rights Committee, in June 2005 Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations, Dan Gillerman, was appointed one of the 21 new vice presidents of the General Assembly, and in July 2005, Israel was elected to deputy chairmanship of the United Nations Disarmament Commission (UNDC);

Whereas, on June 19, 2007, for the first time since Israel joined the United Nations, an Israeli diplomat, Mr. Ron Adam, Director of the Israeli Foreign Ministry's United Nations Political Affairs Department, was chosen to chair a United Nations committee, the Committee on Program and Coordination (CPC);

Whereas this 33 member body (composed of Argentina, Armenia, Belarus, Benin, Brazil, Bulgaria, the Republic of Central Africa, China, Comoros, Cuba, France, Ghana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Pakistan, Portugal, Korea, Russia, Senegal, South Africa, Switzerland, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, United States, and Israel) approves the work plan for all United Nations agencies and bodies;

Whereas Israel's first unique appointment to chair a United Nations committee will hopefully encourage the normalization of Israel's bilateral and multilateral relations and challenge future disproportionate United Nations condemnation of Israel;

Whereas anti-Semitic rhetoric and sentiment within United Nations fora have been of grave concern to the United States and other responsible nations;

Whereas United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3379 (1975) concluded that `Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination' and the General Assembly, by a vote of 111-25, revoked Resolution 3379 in 1991 in response to strong leadership by the United States;

Whereas the goals of the 2001 United Nations World Conference Against Racism were undermined by hateful, anti-Jewish rhetoric and anti-Israel political agendas, prompting both Israel and the United States to withdraw their delegations from the Conference;

Whereas, in 2004, at the first United Nations Department of Public Information Seminar on Anti-Semitism, former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan acknowledged that `the United Nations' record on anti-Semitism has at times fallen short of our ideals'; and

Whereas, in 2005, the United Nations held an unprecedented session to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp: Now, therefore, be it

    Resolved, That the House of Representatives--
      (1) congratulates the Government and people of the State of Israel on Israel's first ever appointment to chair a United Nations committee;
      (2) supports continued expansion of Israel's role at the United Nations;
      (3) welcomes recent attempts by the United Nations to address the issue of prevailing anti-Semitism;
      (4) calls on the United Nations to officially and publicly condemn anti-Semitic statements made at all United Nations meetings and hold accountable United Nations Member States that make such statements;
      (5) urges the members of the United Nations' Western European and Others Group (WEOG) to extend full and permanent membership to Israel, without conditions, until such time as Israel can serve as an effective member of the Asian States Group of the United Nations; and
      (6) calls upon United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to continue to work to end any unfair vilification of Israel at the United Nations and ensure Israel's full participation in, and access to, all international fora under United Nations auspices.

Sources: The Library of Congress