By: Joel Fishman
The ongoing war of delegitimization against Israel has produced two major setbacks for the Jewish State: the passage of United Nations General Assembly Resolution #3379 on November 10, 1975 (Zionism is racism) and the UN World Conference against Racism, which took place in Durban from August 31 to September 7, 2001.
Viewing these events from a historical perspective, it becomes clear that each represents a different phase of the same war. Although the General Assembly revoked this resolution on December 16, 1991, the players at Durban succeeded in reviving the libel that “Zionism is racism” and converting it into a political program.
In fact, Article 418 of the NGO resolution of Durban of September 3, 2001 called for the “reinstitution” of UNGA resolution 3379.1 In this context, the lineage of the current campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) goes back to the 1960s when, under the auspices of the UN, the earliest discussions that labeled apartheid as a form of racism took place. Indeed, the stated purpose of Durban and today’s BDS movement is to assure that Zionism is equated with apartheid and racism and, following the South African model, to bring about Israel’s destruction.2 Both in 1975 and in 2001, the Palestinians, in cooperation with external sponsors and with the support of a group of African and Islamic countries, launched such initiatives. In the first case, the Soviet Union was the major mover and, in the second, Iran.
The meaning of the term “a disaster of another kind,” is rooted in the fact that the Soviet Union, the Palestinians, and their allies, “framed” Israel’s reality in ideological terms in a form that possessed a quasi-legal standing, which defamed it and singled it out for opprobrium. At the same time, they prevented the adoption of “an explicit definition of antisemitism as a form of racism” and a legally recognized human rights violation. With few exceptions, Israeli and Western leaders and the intellectuals of the time failed to appreciate the danger of this development. Since then, the Palestinians have persevered in their campaign of delegitimization and incitement against Israel, making use of this resolution and drawing on the support of their allies and sympathizers, and receiving support from NGO front groups. Despite the mindless and opportunistic pronouncements of those who would have us believe that there could be a new beginning for the politics of the region and that the past is irrelevant, history does matter. Ignorance is not an asset. Without knowing the record, one cannot hope to grasp and confront the problems of the present, or imagine the future.