Last week, heads of state and high-ranking diplomats gathered at the United Nations for its annual General Assembly. Invariably at these conclaves, many make speeches that garner headlines but signify little; many others make speeches that largely go unnoticed. The real work, writes Micah Halpern, happens in the corridors and backrooms, where statesmen have a chance to discuss serious matters away from the cameras. And although the General Assembly, like so many UN bodies, is obsessed with condemning Israel, these corridors and backrooms give Jerusalem opportunities. Halpern writes:
It’s a well-kept secret that Israel is very active in helping other countries solve problems—especially in Africa. Israelis are particularly adept in helping African nations improve their ability to grow crops and expand their food sources. They teach them how to get more milk from cows and more eggs from chickens. They assist in productive irrigation and efficient crop growth. Israelis assist other nations with health care, computer technology, and communication services. And, of course, Israel aids countries with their infrastructure development, security, and defense.
And most of the deals between Israel and these other nations—many of whom refuse to acknowledge Israel’s existence, let alone shake the hand of an Israeli in public, are initiated and inked behind closed doors at UN committees and during annual General Assembly gatherings. . . .
Many bodies within the UN are still anti-Israel and the United Nations is still a platform for an ugly, deplorable form of anti-Semitism. . . . [Nonetheless], Israel contributes greatly to the UN and, by extension, to the world. Those contributions . . . slowly move publicly antagonistic countries closer to recognizing Israel as a full-fledged member of the community of nations.