The Forgotten Prelude
They will beat their swords into plowshares,
their spears into pruning hooks:
nation will not lift the sword against nation,
nor will they learn warfare any more.
The truncated expression from Isaiah 2:4 above is engraved in the “Isaiah Wall” in a park across the street from the U.N. world headquarters in New York City. The wall faces the U.N building, marking a rather ironic and twisted mirror of everything that the U.N. should represent but in every instance not only fails these aims, but seeks their opposite effect.
Littering the entrance and halls of the U.N. building are monuments to peace. Japanese peace temples adorn the exterior walkways as visitors forget that they are representative of a culture responsible for the deaths of millions just a little more than half a century ago. The whole ambiance of the organization, and the structures that houses it, are designed to make the visitor and the diplomat forget not only their own history, but every other nation’s as well. There are no longer responsible nations, guilty of crimes, save one. There are leaders guilty of war crimes, but never nations– save for one.
Cultures are no longer held accountable for being grotesque, abusive, murderous, rapacious, repugnant, infantile, or just idiotic–save one– they are platformed, honored and respected, lauded, cherished, preserved and chided into continuing their barbarity. This is the only thing that the U.N. has accomplished: it has given a voice to the most vile and vicious regimes on the planet. Sayeth the Lord:
Your monthly and regular meetings
my soul detests.
They have become a burden on me;
I am weary of putting up with them. Isaiah 1:14
The fact that the very culture responsible for the ideas behind the United Nations is censured most frequently, and detested and libeled most viciously, in the international arena should be illuminating to the intellectual senses if only because the senses are so assiduously assaulted. The people who claim Isaiah as there own, the reflective and perennially concerned with suffering, Israel in particular and Jews in general, are the whipping post of world angst.
After having executing an unarmed handicapped man aboard the Achille Lauro and dispensing his corpse to the waves, and after having slaughtered Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics, and after having killed many thousands of Jews both worldwide and in Israel, the PLO was granted observer status at the UN. To the extent that the U.N. condemns terrorism is measured by their readiness to allow terrorist tactics to work. And to the extent that they seek justice for oppressed peoples is measured by their relative silence in relation to actual nations in extremis: the Kurds, the Tibetans, the Basques, the western Sahara, the Coptic Christians, the Maronite Christians; the list is depressingly endless.
A broader point i to be noted and discussed. The nations that find themselves ignored are the nations that actually have credible claims to nationhood. The nations that are legitimized as nations are not real nations. There are more Palestinians in Jordan than in the west bank; are they occupied as well? The Jordanians are Arabs, the Iraqi’s are Arabs, the Saudi’s at least admit they’re Arabs. There are no People of Oman, or Yemen. There are no Jordanians, Iraqi’s, Algerians, Libyans, Moroccans, Palestinians, Kuwaitis, United Arab Emirates(is), Qataris; the differences between these “nations” are only defined by which side of a line they happen to be on. But these are all legitimate and more legitimate than the actual peoples listed above.
Israel finds itself as a nation dealing with, and being attacked by, nations that aren’t nations by any appropriate definition. With a cynical and stunning opaqueness, the international community would rather ignore the Jews as a minority and non-recognized polity rather than deal with them as a nation committed to their national rebuilding after centuries of continual destruction. And to bolster their own specious claims to people hood, many of the artificial national characters of both the European and the Arab world propagate the myth of a Palestine because they have to propagate a myth of something at all times. The U.N. is a sycophants dreamworld.
And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. Isaiah 2:4
The forgotten and intently dropped prelude to the Isaiah Wall’s quotation is telling. That which follows, world peace, is congenial to many a disposition. That which brings it into being, G-d’s Judgement, his law, morality, reason, Justice, and ultimately, mercy, is anathema to a western world which still believes that pure reason and human imagination can bring it into being. Israel is anathema to the western world because Israel is a nation of both particular and universal values. The world will take the universal overtures to tolerance and all the warm, fuzzy, feel good vibes, but will reject Jewish collective rights, because nations are no longer allowed at the U.N., and myths are offered at the tabernacle of diversity and tolerance with such a regularity as to overwhelm the identity of any particular nation.
Bring no more worthless offerings; they are as a loathsome incense to me. (…) Wickedness with the solemn gathering, I cannot approve. Isaiah 1:13
If G-d is to Judge the nations, he will not find them at the U.N. He may find a few: Israel, the Native tribes are a pretty cohesive people, the Greeks, but he will find very few of the artificial nations worthy of even judgement and will certainly rebuke them for their utter and debased image work and propagation of secular idolatry.