Hillel Neuer

Seeing the UN mourn the Butcher of Tehran should come as no surprise

The organisation has long been a bastion of Israelophobia


The UN flag is lowered to half-mast to honour President Ebrahim Raisi, the 'Butcher of Tehran' (Photo: United Nations)

June 04, 2024 16:00

The United Nation’s response to the death of Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi encapsulates much of its most shameful failures.

When he was killed in a helicopter crash last month, Iranian people were cheering.

They were celebrating because they've been beaten, blinded, tortured, imprisoned, raped and executed by his regime. Five thousand people were executed by the Death Commission in 1988, on which Raisi sat.

In 2022, there were the Mahsa Amini protests. This young woman was arrested for having an improper hijab; she had some hair showing and she was beaten and killed by the regime.

For some reason, however, the UN thought that it was fitting to send condolences to the Iranian people. And the Iranian people wrote back to say, “Iran is happy. We don't want condolences”.

Despite this, Secretary General Antonio Guterres sent his condolences. He said he was saddened.

His deputy secretary general, Amina Mohammed, a Muslim former minister from Nigeria, went to the Iranian mission, signed their book and tweeted out an Islamic prayer that says Allah should admit Raisi, the Butcher of Tehran, to the gardens of Paradise.

Then, the UN General Assembly held a special session in tribute to this man. The UN says this is just protocol but it sends a horrific message to the world.

Guterres, who lit candles for Raisi, also said after October 7 that these things don't happen in a vacuum, then went on to enumerate one Palestinian grievance after another, effectively justifying their attack.

In part, he’s correct: nothing happens in a vacuum. He should have asked, “who taught these terrorists? What schools do they go to?”

Then he might have realised that at least half of them would have gone to UN schools, Unrwa schools, where they teach Palestinians that their real homes are in Jaffa, in Haifa, in Israel.

When they are taught this curriculum of hate, it is no surprise to see these children go on to fight against Israel.

Moreover, Unrwa is itself an organ to further the destruction of Israel. Thanks to the UN, Palestinians pass their refugee status down through the generations, until you get this swelling population demanding the right of return.

The irony is that the UN was once a very respectable institution, which had several leading supporters of Israel as its architects.

It was at first composed primarily of democracies, with many states sympathising with the Jews in the wake of the Holocaust.

That’s in part why in 1947 the UN adopted the two state solution, recognising a Jewish state and an Arab state. But if you fast forward to the 1960s, you see decolonisation and numerous non-democracies joining the UN from Asia and Africa.

These nations were very cleverly co-opted by the Soviet Union in the battle against imperialism. They were angry at Britain and France, and the Soviet Union rallied them to hate the West and America.

Suddenly, then, French President Charles De Gaulle turned on Israel to cast it as some kind of grand imperialist.

From that moment on, there was a new narrative in which Israel was viewed as the occupier and the aggressor. At this point the Soviet Union started to push a narrative that “Zionism is racism”, when in reality it is merely national liberation.

The Soviets rallied the so-called non-aligned movement of countries and they began to attack Israel with one resolution after another.

The UN was the perfect body for the Soviet Union and the Arab states to cast Israel as the villain because they, the main abusers of human rights, were able to weaponise the very values they were disregarding through its institutions.

This is now the strategy of Iran and Hamas. Hijacking human rights works because, sadly, there are both major media organisations and leading human rights groups that are willing to go along with this perverse and Orwellian scheme.

Then, when the October 7 terror attack happened, the UN failed to act.

Sadistic torture was done in front of families. There was mass murder and rape. One would expect the world body, the UN, to be at the forefront of calling it out.

In fact, the first time that the Security Council was able to produce a statement, it was calling for a ceasefire.

The UN called for Israel to stop defending itself, but it wasn't able to condemn October 7.

All of this sheds a different light on the fact that the UN is still seen as the neutral authority, the foremost authority, when it comes to verifying the human rights situation in Gaza and the Palestinian casualty figures.

Despite its ignoble history, people still look to the UN as the authority on this.

They want to believe the narrative that Israel is committing war crimes, and so they want to believe that there is a credible authority behind it.

The only way this can change is if the UN starts tackling Iran and Hamas the way it stood up to Vladamir Putin after the invasion of Ukraine.

Russia was condemned and expelled from the Human Rights Council. It was a rare glimpse of when Western democracies have moral clarity and are fighting against oppression they can use the tools that are available.

I hope that one day we might see the world embark on the same fight to stand up for Israel.

June 04, 2024 16:00

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive