# 438 – The UN by Stephen Pohlmann - Ourboox.com
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# 438 – The UN

Helping others to understand Israel - and Israelis to understand others...
  • Joined Sep 2016
  • Published Books 481

First, a correction to yesterday’s Letter –
There are 120 seats in the Israeli Knesset. To win a no-confidence vote needs a simple 61/120 majority, not 61/100.

The UN

Where does one start?
In my humble opinion, we have a similar situation to politics, religion and policing. Uninvent these ‘ideas’ today, and they would be re-invented tomorrow. And with humans in charge, much would turn out good, and some would turn out bad.


In the case of politics, it’s ‘boring’ to say ‘all politicians are bad’. We need them, we try to choose them carefully, and we hope they do a good job.

In today’s World, we need a ‘global authority’. So, like it or not we have the UN.

Let me mention a tiny list of obvious comments about the UN –


Several of those associated with the UN have received the Nobel Peace prize. In fact, the UN itself, and its Sec-Gen, Kofi Anan, won the prize in 2001. Like the other 3 institutions mentioned above, the UN does (or did) mean to do good.

A great number of countries in the UN cannot, in any shape or form, be described as democracies. But they have a vote. Currently, there are 193 member states. (No, the Vatican is an observer state – not one of the 193).


57 states have Muslim majority or rule.
23 are considered to be Muslim states
(A reminder: Israel would not exist today, were it to depend on a UN vote today, instead of 1947).

Remember my (the) suggestion to introduce a new ‘official UN definition’ of democracy, this creating 2 UN ‘houses’: Dem and un-Dem.
It is reported that over 30 UNRWA employees have been killed in Gaza so far. Trying to remain objective, I wish to remind you that UNRWA is the UN dept. for refugees from the Palestine war.


This included the Israelis (it is almost certain that there were more Jews displaced by the war than Arabs, forced out of the countries at war with the newly-established Israel. By 1951, all had been settled, and the UNRWA became an organisation solely for the Arabs. Almost 300,000 employees, almost all Palestinians. Casualties amongst them are sadly inevitable.


I watched bits of yesterday’s debates for yet another anti-Israel resolution. Reminder: of ALL such resolutions, 140 have been against Israel. Only 68 have been against the rest!!! “Aah, you see! Israel is a bad country!”. He or she who had that thought, please take yourself off this mailing list).

Many countries said what was expected. Let’s have a humanitarian pause. The original Jordanian resolution ignored mention of Hamas and the hostages. Canada introduced a corrective clause; many voted against that amendment.


Iran threatened the USA. A country which officially aims to eradicate a fellow UN member is allowed into the US and make such threats. This is taking the definition of ‘wimp’ over the edge. Like him or not, Trump would not have let the man into the country – or out.

Erdan, the Israeli UN ambassador made the correct speech/appeal, falling in deaf ears.


And the Palestinian ambassador almost broke my heart. Until I pulled back, closed my eyes, and saw an image of his President, Mahmoud Abbas, recently addressing the UN Security Council, holding up his famous maps of the history of ‘Palestine’ since 1947.

[Reminder: Palestine would be in the Lower House of the UN. Abbas is into the 18th year of his 4-year term.]


I’ve so often scoffed at the ‘map argument’, focusing on so many other means to defend this decent country. But now I came across the following 35-min discussion, ‘Did Israel Steal Palestine?’ –



First thing I gotta say is that it came from the Ayn Rand Institute. Wow! Remember Ayn Rand? She wrote the epics ‘Atlas Shrugged’ and ‘Fountainhead’ (​which became a terrific Gary Cooper film) and many other shorter novels & stuff. Her philosophy was ‘Objectivism’. She admired ‘the good and the powerful’. In her ‘world’ a ‘group’ of good people could do good, and work together for the benefit of the ‘hoi polloi’.


(I was never able to ask her, but I am sure she would have shied away from the ‘1 good powerful man’ theory – a ‘good dictator’). I always admired one of her titles: ‘The Virtue of Selfishness’.

So, watch this discussion. It totally tears up the sob story poured out ​daily 1 by the Palestinians.


I won’t go again into what could have been built in Gaza. As you know…another Dubai. ​But what about the billions from Europe, American, Arab States (esp. Qatar – in suitcases).  Not all of it went into the leader’s pockets (Suhar Arafat continues to live in Switzerland and Paris in luxury). ​2-300 km of sophisticated tunnels. Only thing missing is the subway!


It is the Sabbath here. I look across the sunlit roofs and blue sky. Practical silence. Yesterday, by now, there were 3 separate attacks in this region. 3 times into the stairwell. One of the 3 landed. Damage of course, and 3 injured. I know….nothing compared to the horror happening right now, 70km.down the road. And nothing compared to what happened 3 Sabbaths ago.



I’m being melodramatic? Do you really think this won’t/can’t happen again? Don’t you see what’s going on? This is a very sad wake-up call. As Golda said:

When peace comes, we will perhaps in time be able to forgive the Arabs for killing our sons, but it will be harder for us to forgive them for having forced us to kill their sons.



PS – This is a very strange, cruel time. I was brought back to temporary sanity thanks to the ‘In Memoriam’ piano concerto by Alma Deutscher, specially dedicated to the fallen on Oct 7.



I don’t know how I had never heard of this young lady, this child prodigy, a musical genius. Alma is now 18. Already at the age of 12, a virtuoso violinist, pianist, composer and conductor. And a fair soprano voice. Watch the award-winning 60-Minutes programme on her from 2012. English mother, Israeli father, grew up in England, now lives in Vienna.


Her ‘Waltz of the Sirens’ made me think back to a visit some 15 years ago to Toronto. We were invited to see an opera by a female Finnish composer. Now, I love opera – in my forthcoming book (da-da ) – I tell of my time as a ‘standing room’ opera fanatic when I lived in NYC and Vienna. But I was/am old-fashioned. Not too keen on the modern stuff, where the next note is usually a shock. The opera in Toronto was such a shock. Interesting staging, good singing etc., but horrible music. I swore then never to go again to an opera by a female composer.


Until today. In her intro to ‘Waltz of the Sirens’, Alma explains her quest to move away from the ugly sirens and the cacophony of the street and convert them into something of beauty. Why must modern music deny this? Alma’s operas, ‘Cinderella’ and ‘Sweeper of Dreams’ are ‘easy on the ear’.

Thank-you, Alma.


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