Prior to the United Nations General Assembly vote to declare President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel “null and void,” the representatives of some of the world’s most egregious violators of human rights stood behind the podium, one after the other, to condemn the U.S. and the Jewish state.
CNN’s Jake Tapper pointed out after the vote, citing the independent monitor U.N. Watch, that of 97 resolutions issued by the U.N. General Assembly between 2010 and 2015, 83 were condemnations of Israel.
“You have to ask, is Israel truly deserving of 86 percent of the world’s condemnation? Or possibly, is something else afoot at the United Nations?”
Citing nations that condemned the U.S. before the U.N. vote Thursday, Tapper pointed to “the genocide of the Rohingya people in Myanmar, the lack of basic human rights in North Korea, the children starving in the streets of Venezuela, the citizens of Syria targeted for murder by their own leader using the most grotesque and painful of weapons.”
“The U.S. imperils global peace, says the representative of Venezuela — a country in a humanitarian disaster,” Tapper said. “With violence in the streets, an economy in complete collapse, citizens malnourished, dying children being turned away from hospitals, starving families joining street gangs to scrounge for food. On what moral platform does the government of Venezuela stand today?”
Tapper said “listening to these countries, including North Korea, and Myanmar, and Turkey, and China, lecturing the United States in any way about human rights and peace might seem a bit much.”
Here are some of the most unintentionally ironic statements made Thursday by member representatives in the General Assembly prior to the vote, which was 128-9 in favor of the resolution against the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem, with 35 abstentions:
Palestinian Territories: Representing a government ruled by the Yasser Arafat-founded Fatah party and the terrorist group Hamas, Ambassador Riyad Mansour said the U.S. decision “serves the powers of extremism.”
Meanwhile, in a Christmas message Friday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas wrote that Trump’s decision was “insulting” to the “message of Jesus,” stating the Palestinians “will not accept the U.S. as the mediator in the peace process.”
“This time every year, the souls of billions of people turn to Bethlehem to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the messenger of love, peace and justice,” Abbas wrote. “Bethlehem, the birthplace of hope, continues to be affected by Israeli policies. Regretfully, the U.S. has decided to reward such policies by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.”
Abbas said Palestinians are “inspired by the message of Jesus, who refused injustice and spread a word of hope.”
Turkey: Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkey’s minister for foreign affairs, called the decision by the U.S. to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital a violation of international law and an “outrageous assault to all universal values.”
“The illegal occupations continues, and Palestinians cannot enjoy their basic rights,” said the representative of a nation under the increasingly autocratic rule of Recep Tayyip Erdogan that even the U.N. charged with “massive destruction, killings and numerous other serious human rights violations” against its ethnic Kurdish minority.
Yemen: Introducing the resolution, Yemen’s U.N. ambassador, Khaled Hussein Mohamed Alyemany, urged all “peace-loving countries” to vote in favor of it, calling Trump’s action “a blatant violation of the rights of the Palestinian people and the Arab nations, and all Muslims and Christians of the world.”
He said the U.S. decision “is considered a dangerous violation and breach of international law” that “threatens peace in the world, undermines any chance for peace in the Mideast “and only serves to fan the fires of violence and extremism.”
In Yemen, where at least 7 million people are on the brink of famine, both parties in a civil war continue to commit serious violations and abuses of international humanitarian and human rights, according to Human Rights Watch.
Pakistan: Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi, invoking “the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people,” said the world “cannot and will not be complicit in any illegal activity.”
“We must uphold the prevalent and time-honored norms, both legal and moral,” she said.
In the Muslim-majority nation, where religious minorities are persecuted, including by draconian “blasphemy laws,” an estimated 70 and 90 percent of women and girls in Pakistan have suffered some form of abuse, according to a Human Rights Watch report.
Venezuela: The ambassador from the failing and increasingly autocratic socialist state, Samuel Moncada Acosta, said he was “deeply alarmed” by what he described as “ongoing violations perpetrated by Israel,” including “attempts aimed to alter the character, status and demographic composition of the city of Jerusalem.”
“Generations of Palestinians are been subject to systematic violence and discrimination,” he said, and “today we will speak up for justice and peace.”
Responding to Haley’s warning of consequences, the minister said the General Assembly would not bow to such “bullying” by the U.S. and insisted it was unethical to think that the votes and dignity of member states were for sale.
“We call upon the government of the United States to halt these violations and provocations. Similarly, we recall the principles and purposes as enshrined in the charter of the United Nation, including the prohibition to acquire land and territory through force.”
Not shy about using force to acquire land, the founder of Venezuela’s “socialist revolution,” the late Hugo Chavez, was known in his “land reform” program to use the Army to take over private property without compensation from individuals and companies, including foreign corporations.
Maldives: Ambassador Ali Naseer Mohamed said the current international system, which had emerged with the founding of the United Nations, was based on international law and every member state, including Israel, was bound to respect and implement resolutions of the Security Council in good faith.
In the Muslim-majority island nation, the government has intensified its crackdown on the rights to freedom of expression and of peaceful assembly over the past two years, according to Amnesty International.
Cuba: Anayansi Rodriguez Camejo said communist Cuba, ruled for six decades by the Castro brothers’ dictatorship, “expresses its deepest concern and rejection of the [United States] president’s unilateral declaration, calling it “a serious and flagrant violation of the United Nations Charter, of international law and of the relevant U.N. resolutions.”
Iran: Gholamali Khoshroo, who represents the strict, Islamic mullah-led regime, one of the world’s leading exporters of terrorism, said the “recent illegal decision of the U.S. in recognizing al-Quds (Jerusalem) as capital of the Zionist regime of Israel and relocating [the U.S.] embassy to this holy city has made it clear that the U.S. just seeks to serve Israel’s interests and does not care about respecting the Palestinians’ legitimate rights.”
Malaysia: M. Shahrul Ikram Yaakob, the country’s permanent representative to the U.N., said the U.S. decision is “an infringement of the Palestinian people’s rights and their right to self determination.”
“We are concerned that this dire situation will only feed into the agenda of the extremists and frustrate our collective efforts in our bigger objective of combating terrorism and ending the vicious cycle of violence,” he said.
Human rights in Muslim-majority Malaysia, where religious minorities are restricted, has continued to deteriorate, according to Human Rights Watch, with human rights defenders, activists, political opposition figures and journalists facing harassment and politically motivated prosecution.
North Korea: Ja Song Nam of the rogue communist dictatorship, which is currently threatening the West with its development of nuclear weapons, called the U.S. decision on Jerusalem an insult to the unanimous will of the international community.
Condemning the decision as “reckless and high‑handed,” he urged the United States to pay greater attention to international efforts to resolve the conflict in accordance with international law.
Syria: Mounzer Mounzer of dictator Bashar al-Assad’s regime said the U.S. decision constituted a flagrant violation of the city’s special status and yet another demonstration of colonial crimes committed against Palestine.
He said U.S. arrogance had now risen to the level of directly threatening member states, treating them like schoolchildren.
“This is a superpower which views the United Nations as a national institution,” he said.
Bangladesh: Madud bin Momen said Bangladesh supported all efforts to resolve protracted conflicts, especially against the backdrop of its own efforts to deal with the massive, ongoing influx of forcibly displaced persons from neighbouring Burma’s Rakhine State.
‘Public and private U.N.’
In an interview Thursday with Fox News, Israel’s ambassador to the U.N., Danny Danon, was asked why countries such as Japan, Ireland, France and Britain were among the 128 countries that voted in favor of the resolution.
“I’m used to that. You have a public U.N. and a private U.N. Publicly they will speak against Israel, [but] privately when I speak with those ambassadors, they know that we are a strong democracy, they appreciate Israel, they even admire Israel,” he said.
Reacting to the vote Thursday, the Gaza chief of the Islamic supremacist organization Hamas, which rules Gaza, called for Friday to be a “red bloody day.” In a speech to Gazan youth broadcast on Hamas’ Al-Aqsa Television, Yahya Sinwar called for “turning Friday into a decisive day in the struggle of our people to bring down the decision of Trump.”
Hamas, which states in its charter that its reason for existence is to destroy Israel, has encouraged thousands of Gazans to confront Israeli troops at the Gaza border fence, where there have been several fatalities in recent weeks, the Times of Israel reported.
U.S. denounces U.N. absurdities:
In her remarks at the podium before the General Assembly, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, said the United States “will remember this day in which it was singled out for attack in this assembly.”
“We will remember it when we are called upon to once again make the world’s largest contribution” to the U.N. and when other member nations ask the U.S. “to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit.”
She said the vote would have no impact on the U.S. decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“That is what the American people want us to do and it is the right thing to do,” Haley said. “This vote will make a difference in how Americans look at the U.N.,” she said. “And this vote will be remembered.”
At a Cabinet meeting Thursday, Trump backed up the threat to cut off aid to countries that voted against the resolution.
“Let them vote against us,” he said. “We’ll save a lot. We don’t care. But this isn’t like it used to be where they could vote against you and then you pay them hundreds of millions of dollars. We’re not going to be taken advantage of any longer.”
Haley has invited all the countries that didn’t vote for the resolution to a party Jan. 3 to thank them for their “friendship to the United States.”
Only nine countries voted directly against the resolution, while 56 others either abstained or did not cast a ballot.
Israel has held most of its state institutions in Jerusalem for decades, but the city remains disputed, and its eastern section is still considered to be occupied territory under international law. Palestinians also consider East Jerusalem to be the capital of their future state.
Israel denounces U.N. absurdities:
Following U.S. lead
On Friday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed Israel’s envoy to the UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, to submit a formal letter announcing the nation’s intent to leave the cultural organization. Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said the decision was based on the organization’s “attempts to disconnect Jewish history from the land of Israel.”
Also, Netanyahu told CNN in an interview Friday that Israel is in contact with several countries “seriously considering” following the U.S. lead in recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving their embassies to Jerusalem.
The head of Romania’s parliament, Liviu Dragnea, said his nation should “seriously consider” the move, the Times of Israel reported. Czech Republic President Milos Zeman has said his country should make the move, but his prime minister, Andrej Babis, has since said he has no immediate plans to do so.
‘A hostile place for the state of Israel’
In her remarks to the U.N. before the vote Thursday, Haley said that “to its shame, the United Nations has long been a hostile place for the state of Israel.”
She said the “disproportionate focus on Israel … undermines the credibility of this institution, and that in turn is harmful for the entire world.”
“I’ve often wondered why, in the face of such hostility, Israel has chosen to remain a member of this body,” Haley said. “And then I remember that Israel has chosen to remain in this institution because it’s important to stand up for yourself. Israel must stand up for its own survival as a nation, but it also stands up for the ideals of freedom and human dignity that the United Nations is supposed to be about.”
She said that being forced to defend the sovereignty and the integrity of the United States of America brings “many of the same thoughts” to mind.
“The United States is by far the single largest contributor to the United Nations and its agencies,” she said, but when “we make generous contributions to the U.N., we also have a legitimate expectation that our good will is recognized and respected.”
The U.S., she said, “is asked to pay for the ‘privilege’ of being disrespected.”
Trump’s decision, she said, reflects the will of a nation governed by the people.
“The decision does not prejudge any final status issues, including Jerusalem’s boundaries. The decision does not preclude a two-state solution, if the parties agree to that. The decision does nothing to harm peace efforts. Rather, the president’s decision reflects the will of the American people and our right as a nation to choose the location of our embassy. There is no need to describe it further.”
She warned that the United States “will remember this day in which it was singled out for attack in the General Assembly for the very act of exercising our right as a sovereign nation.”
“We will remember it when we are called upon to once again make the world’s largest contribution to the United Nations. And we will remember it when so many countries come calling on us, as they so often do, to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit.”