Commentary and Newsletters

Anne Bayefsky

Why John Bolton deserves to be US-UN Ambassador

Monday, November 20, 2006

On November 17, 2006 the UN General Assembly "reconvened" its "Tenth" Emergency Session to condemn Israel. The Tenth Session began in 1997and has now been reconvened 14 times. No other emergency session of the General Assembly has occurred on any other subject in these ten years - not even on Darfur, Sudan with 2.5 million people displaced and over 400,000 dead. And once again, the General Assembly adopted another resolution condemning Israel without mentioning Hezbollah, Hamas, Iran or Syria, which are openly acting to bring about Israel's annihilation. Just seven of the UN member states voted against the resolution the United States, Australia, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, and Palau. The European Union voted in favor.

In the midst of this display of visceral hatred of the Jewish state and the Jewish people, inimical to everything the UN was created to oppose, came a singularly powerful voice for reason, dignity and honesty Ambassador John Bolton. The crowd assembled in the General Assembly hall was hostile to the man and to the country he represents. But Ambassador Bolton took the podium and spoke with no rancor and no double-talk. Here is part of what he said: "This problem of endemic to the culture of the United Nations. It is a decades-old, systemic problem that transcends the whole panoply of UN organizations and agencies...The consequences of this persistent, unconstructive, biased approach are painfully clear - not one single Palestinian is helped and the United Nations continues to be discredited by its inability to confront...the Israel-Palestinian conflict in a serious, responsible manner."

Nobody clapped in contrast to the applause which the same crowd had lavished on Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez when he referred to President Bush this past September as the devil. John Bolton, however, wasn't looking for accolades. In a room where the US has one vote among 192 states, he simply spoke truth to power. "We believe that the United Nations is ill served when its members seek to transform the organization into a forum that is little more than a self-serving and polemical attack against Israel or the United States."

The strength of his conviction and the veracity of his message reverberated around the room. Ambassador Bolton used his role to explain what America stands for and what it does not. This is exactly what makes an ambassador great, and United States UN Ambassador Bolton one of the greatest.