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Something Stinks

The stench reaches right around the world. It comes from the United Nations.

Most Australian’s believe in fairness, and many are often surprised to realise that our taxpayer dollars are contributed towards funding the often immoral and farcical existence of the UN, ostensibly created to foster global security.

Just days ago, at the UN Human Rights Council, the following statement was officially recorded:

“Syria, speaking as a concerned country, said that the Israeli forces continued their violations in a systematic and persistent manner. The Council and the Office of the High Commissioner must not remain silent before such practices and should not be put under pressure by the State committing State terrorism.”

That’s right. Syria, where recently 20,000 innocent people have been murdered and 40,000 people have fled, is given a platform to accuse Israel of breaching international law. Syria is also bidding for a seat on the United Nations Security Council, amongst other nations who are right up there on the real list of human rights abusers.

Australia is the thirteenth largest funder of the UN. It’s hard to know exactly what the contribution of Australian dollars is to the UN due to the number of agencies, projects and programs that receive Australian funding. That would be an interesting exercise for a journalist or academic to calculate in true dollar terms. Many of the UN programs are undoubtedly worthwhile and deserving of an Australian contribution. But there are many others that should be of concern to Australians.

As a whole, the UN has failed consistently to prevent genocide. From Rwanda and Srebrenica a decade ago to the more recent killing fields of Darfur, and in front of our eyes today in Syria, the UN shows itself as impotent when it comes to fulfilling its collective security mandate.

DFAT will not disclose how much Australian money goes to the UN, but says “Australia contributes significant amounts to the UN regular annual budget and the budgets of specialised agencies and peace keeping activities, as well as contributions to specific humanitarian appeals. Also, significant voluntary contributions are made to a range of development funds such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).” A little research shows that the international aid budget of Australia this year is about $5.15 billion. If this was directed towards alleviating poverty then I think Australian’s would be accepting of this. But where is the accountability? Where are the checks and balances?

On top of the many billions of Australian dollars that go to the UN, most Australian’s are also unaware that 10% of the Carbon tax collected will be used by Julia Gillard to pay the United Nations. This tithe will cost Australians a further $600 million in the coming year.  I didn’t hear any journalists ask Greg “every dollar of the Carbon Tax will be given back to the people” Combet about how this money is assigned and what outcomes it will generate.

When I last questioned the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs about how the $90 million on top of the $119 million already provided to the Palestinian authority is distributed, I got a generic and non-committal response.  I would be happy for my tax dollars to be directed here if they contributed to the creation of peace. Instead the recipient Authority of the funding has reneged on its obligations to a peace process, and to this day refuse to recognise the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish State. Yet we keep paying to perpetuate refugee crisis that is deliberately unsolved, in a society that is riddled with corruption. Of all subsidiary bodies of the UN General Assembly, six focus on Palestinians, and none on any other specific people in any UN member state. Globally, money pours into these agencies, and much of it is allegedly siphoned into rouge trade arrangements and ends up as private wealth.

The epoch of modern Israel is highlighted by its relationship to the United Nations. Ironically, once the entity that mandated the creation of the Jewish State, Israel has been continually maligned and unfairly isolated by this body ever since. Today, as Israel is the only Member of the United Nations that is not counted as part of a regional grouping, it is practically and effectively the only Member State of the United Nations that cannot sit on the Security Council. There is no process by which it can even be nominated.  If you would like to view graphical proof of the UN systemic and culturally entrenched bias against Israel, visit Eye on the UN.

Last week, Jewish communities around the world read a dedicated Torah script (parsha) called Balak. It includes the experience of the Prophet Bilaam, who sells his gift of prophecy to the highest bidder, and ends up receiving an assignment from the King of Moab to curse the nation of Israel. Amongst his observations he declares that they are “a people who dwell apart, who will not be reckoned amongst the nations”. The Rabbis debate whether this statement alludes to a self imposed separation, or a segregation that is inflicted by the outside world. Jewish history shows that both dynamics have impacted as Jewish communities have traversed and developed.

The evolvement of Israel into the future, if it remains true to its ideal as a Jewish State, will see it continue to grow and develop with societal values and trends that differ from other nations. The economic and ethical path of Israel should stand as a moral alternative. Chief Rabbi Sacks cautions that a people who dwells alone will find themselves alone, and advocates a universal role for Judaism and the Jewish State. However, as the parsha Balak teaches us, sometimes what appears to be a curse can indeed be a blessing. When it comes to the UN, it is indeed Israel that can hold the moral high ground.

The United Nations can continue to delude itself by turning despots and human rights abusers into respected diplomats. It can continue to unfairly isolate Israel and lambast the Country for having the chutzpah to defend itself from those who wish to destroy it. However why Australian taxpayers should have to front up and pay the bill for this farce is well beyond me!

The stated purpose of the UN remains to identify, condemn, and protect against human rights violations and confront and respond to threats to international peace and security. When the majority of its member states are not democratic, when the objectives of the UN are not being met, when the leaders of human rights abuse are accorded legitimacy, and when Israel is unfairly treated, then it is time to take a stand. Australia should refuse to fund this outrageous institution, and our political leaders should be asked to justify how and why our tax dollars are directed towards this when there are so many other domestic policy priorities that remain unfunded. Imagine what a further $5 billion dollars could do for our health and education systems!

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