Last week, the Jewish community and millions of caring people worldwide observed International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
In 2005, the United Nations finally called for an International Holocaust Remembrance Day to be observed each Jan. 27, the day that in 1945 saw Auschwitz-Birkenau finally liberated. It was a fine-sounding, auspicious decree. However, when it comes to the United Nations and its decades-long bias against Israel, one has to wonder why there have been so many contradictory policies.
Prior to a slew of “feel good” Holocaust Remembrance events last week at the U.N., the Jewish News Syndicate (JNS) reported the United Nations’ latest hypocrisy on Jan. 23. The U.N. created a permanent investigation into Israel. It is critical to emphasize that no such open-ended inquiry has ever been directed against any other U.N. member state. Then, one day before International Holocaust Remembrance Day, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres declared, “All societies must act to ‘tackle anti-Semitism, root and branch.’”
The U.N. has consistently given a pass to the likes of Cuba, China, Iran, and North Korea. They are among 52 dictator nations as reported by the World Population Review in 2020. Central and Latin America have three, Africa has 22, and Asia and the Middle East top out at 27. The U.N.’s membership is 193 nations. The leaders of dictatorships might carry titles such as president or prime minister, but oppressive dictators they are.
The preponderance of dictatorships sadly represents a significant failure of the United Nations Charter that was passed on Oct. 24, 1945, by its then-51 members. A brief summation of the U.N.’s goals: Incorporate harmonious relationships among nations cooperating to solve international problems and keep the peace.
Over the last 77 years, the U.N. seems to have abandoned its original concept that the organization is “open to all peace-loving states that accept the obligations contained in the United Nations Charter and, in the judgment of the Organization, are able to carry out these obligations.” Nowhere is that policy concept more neglected than one of the smallest yet most miraculous nations in the world: Israel. A nation that has longed for peace since the United Nations’ vote on Nov. 29, 1947.
On that day, the United Nations—then located in San Francisco—generated one of its most important decisions. Their vote on Resolution 181 to adopt the so-named partition plan for two states—one Jewish, one Arab—changed world history. The vote ended 25 years of British obligatory rule in what was called the Mandate of Palestine. It not only changed history; it fulfilled a prophecy in Isaiah 66:7-8: “Who has ever heard of such things? Can a country be born in a day, or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children.” Of the then-57 member nations, 33 countries voted “Yes,” 13 voted “No,” and 10 countries abstained.
Little did anyone know that another fulfillment of prophecy was unfolding in Jerusalem that same night—at the same time the vote was taking place. Israeli archaeologist and Hebrew University professor, Eleazer Sukenik, sat in his study that night in Jerusalem intently scrutinizing fragile pieces of parchment. They were part of the Dead Sea Scrolls that had recently come into his hands. As he pondered the precious scroll fragments, his son, Yigael Yadin, ran into the room shouting the news he just heard on the radio.
The cause for Yadin's The Great Isaiah Scrolls excitement: Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, had announced the U.N. vote. Thousands upon thousands of Jews hovering near their radios were intent on hearing news about their 2,000-year hope finally becoming reality. With the historic announcement, shouts of excitement and tears of joy ensued among the Jews of the new Israel. They ran into the streets dancing.
Tragically, less than five months later, surrounding Arab countries attacked the new Jewish nation just hours after Ben-Gurion announced Israel’s Independence on May 14, 1948. Arabs gave up their opportunity to have their own piece of the state, larger than the portion assigned to the Jews. Miraculously, Israel won that defensive war, which would turn out to be the first of many victories against the unrelenting assaults by their Arab neighbors.
The 24-hour convergence of the U.N. vote and Professor Sukenik verifying the Isaiah fragment revealed God’s unmistakable blessing on the modern state of Israel. It was reborn as God had said through the prophet Isaiah 3,000 years earlier.
Another fascinating fact was discovered in Jerusalem and reported on Feb. 22, 2018, that adds to the convergence. Ruth Schuster at Haaretz wrote that Dr. Eilat Mazar of the Hebrew University discovered a seal impression, called a bulla, in an undisturbed section of King David’s palace. She found it near another bulla bearing King Hezekiah’s inscription. Isaiah and Hezekiah were contemporaries. Isaiah’s bulla is half an inch wide, and shows the name, Yesha’yah[u] (Isaiah’s name in ancient Hebrew script), followed by the letters N-V-Y. The letters are thought to be the first three letters of the word for prophet (navi).
Stop for a moment and allow these realizations to sink deeply into your understanding of Israel’s ancestral homeland deeded by the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jesus. Jerusalem, Israel’s ancient capital, is also Israel’s modern capital. Miraculously, Jerusalem has survived 52 attacks, been captured and recaptured 44 times, besieged 23 times, and destroyed twice.
Some 3,000 years ago, Isaiah predicted the journey in Chapter 66, verses 7 and 8. Then Bedouins discovered the first Dead Sea Scrolls in 1946, closely followed by the U.N. vote on Nov. 29, 1947 and Dr. Sukenik’s assessment of authenticity. Finally, adding to 3,000 years of connectivity, Dr. Mazar’s discovery of Isaiah’s bulla.
No matter what lies ahead, whether bias on the United Nations “Commission of Anti-Semitism” (my name), Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas or Iran’s presence in Syria, the Christian community will hopefully maintain vigilance on behalf of Israel and our Jewish friends worldwide. God has given us another chance. Let us not imitate the passivity of so many German Christians in the World War II era.
My favorite theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, was hung in Flossenberg by the Nazis because he risked his life trying to convince German churches to disassociate from Hitler, to wake up, and stand up for Jewish families.
Let’s recall what he wisely observed in his day: “If I sit next to a madman as he drives a car into a group of innocent bystanders, I can’t as a Christian simply wait for the catastrophe then comfort the wounded and bury the dead. I must try to wrestle the steering wheel out of the hands of the driver.”
Arlene Bridges Samuels pioneered Christian outreach for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). After nine years she retired and later worked part-time with International Christian Embassy Jerusalem USA. Arlene is now an author at The Blogs-Times of Israel and writes a weekly column at CBN ISRAEL. She has often traveled to Israel, including being invited three times by Israel’s Government Press Office to their annual Christian Media Summit. Read more of her articles on her CBN Israel blog.