Growing up as the son of a Hungarian Holocaust survivor in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Borough Park, Yossi Klein Halevi was deeply shaped by a sense of Jewish identity, his father’s wartime experiences, and his father’s anger at what he perceived as American Jews’ passivity regarding the fate of European brethren. Halevi himself migrated from the right-wing Zionist Beitar youth movement, to the movement to aid Soviet Jewry that emerged in the 1960s, to Rabbi Meir Kahane’s militant, sometimes violent, and often racist Jewish Defense League (JDL). Sometime after breaking with JDL in the 1970s, Halevi wrote of his experiences in Memoirs of a Jewish Extremist, a work whose themes he revisits in conversation with Jonathan Silver. (Audio, 73 minutes. Options for download and streaming are available at the link below.)
What Jewish Extremists Get Wrong—and Right
Germany’s Bid to Keep Israel off the UN Security Council
The Jewish state has never held a temporary seat on the United Nations Security Council. For the first 50 years of its existence, it was denied membership in any of the UN’s regional groups, which control candidacies for these rotating seats. Then it was finally admitted to the Western European and Others Group, which promptly agreed to wait another twenty years before approving Jerusalem for a Security Council candidacy. Now, Benny Avni notes, Germany is poised to block action:
As a good-faith gesture, the Western European and Others Group promised Israel that it and Belgium would run uncontested for the two open 2019-20 [Security Council] seats. Then, in 2016, Germany announced it would also run—even though it already served as a council member [multiple times, including] as recently as 2011-12. . . . [U]nless Belgium yields, Israel’s hopes for UN respect seem doomed for now—and maybe for the foreseeable future.
Why? Diplomats have been telling me Israel violates too many Security Council resolutions to be a member—as in the one passed during the last weeks of Barack Obama’s presidency, which marked Jewish holy sites as occupied Palestinian territory. But is building a porch in [the West Bank town of] Ma’ale Adumim really such a huge threat to world peace?
How about, then, a report released last week by UN experts on the Security Council’s North Korea sanctions? It found Germany violated a council ban on sparkling wines, exporting $151,840 worth of bubbly and other luxury goods to Kim Jong Un’s cronies. Or how about, as the Jerusalem Post’s Benjamin Weinthal reports, German companies exporting to Iran banned materials that were later used in chemical attacks in Syria?
Never mind. Germany (and Belgium) will surely benefit from the UN’s habit of magnifying Israel’s violations beyond all proportion. Thus, Israel’s petition to join the most prestigious UN club will likely be rejected, thanks to a late entry by a shameless [and] cynical German power play against the Jewish state.