Israeli diplomat tells Biden not to re-enter UN human rights bodies or fund Palestinian refugee agency

David Harris of the American Jewish Committee and Ron Prosor, former Israeli ambassador to the UN (Mondoweiss)

Philip Weiss

Mondoweiss  /  December 9, 2020

Another shot across the Biden bow! Ron Prosor, a former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, urged the Biden administration not to re-join two UN bodies that deal with human rights issues, UNESCO and the UN Human Rights Council, because the U.S. presence even in dissent grants greater legitimacy to “science fiction” opinions critical of Israel. He also warned Biden not to fund the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA.

Donald Trump ended funding for UNRWA, pulled the U.S. out of UNESCO, and pulled the U.S. out of the Human Rights Council, citing its “bias” against Israel.

Biden has pledged to return to the Human Rights Council, said he would re-join other international bodies, and suggested that he would refund UNRWA.

Not so fast, Joe! Prosor, an ambassador under Netanyahu and now head of a diplomatic institute in Israel, indirectly addressed the Biden administration policy on UNESCO and the HRC during an American Jewish Committee discussion on November 29.

The bottom line for the United States of America – the minute you are in something, let’s say the Council on Human Rights, which I call the Council on Human Wrongs… the minute you are there, the decisions that they make, by the fact you are there, you are legitimizing those decisions. The minute you go out you basically say, Hey guys, anything you say or write is not really serious, ok? So I think this is an important point for the U.S. to make, in saying we cannot influence a decision, we cannot leverage anything in the Council on Human Rights or UNESCO, it’s better for us not to be there to give it legitimacy.

When you’re out, you automatically pull the carpet away from under decisions which of course I don’t even want to get into– they are on the verge of science fiction.

Prosor directly warned Biden not to go near UNRWA, saying that UNRWA perpetuates the conflict by honouring Palestinian refugee status for generations; and this is a form of “incitement”.

It’s unbelievable what they keep on doing in today’s world. This has to change dramatically, and I hope the next administration will continue with the same line.

The Biden campaign has said he would restore “humanitarian aid for the Palestinian people”, but did not directly mention UNRWA.

In that same conference call, organized by the American Jewish Committee on November 29, the 73d anniversary of the partition resolution, David Harris explained the failure of Palestinians to get a state.

As Ron has said, If the Arab world had said Yes rather than No on this day 73 years ago we might have had a two state solution for the ensuing 70-plus years. But decisions have consequences, and the consequence of saying No unfortunately is still being felt.”

The vote on partition was 33-13-0. Six of the No’s were Arab states: Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

By putting Palestinian statelessness on those states’ actions 73 years ago, Harris thereby dismisses a long history of more than 30 years of Palestinians themselves accepting partition.

Ron Prosor gave props to the Israel lobby for helping to bring about that vote in the General Assembly. In a story new to me, he said that Harvey Firestone, founder of the tire company that bears his name, put pressure on Liberia to vote for the plan.

Liberia I would even brand as a flat tire issue because in Liberia there was a very interesting person called Harvey Firestone who had direct contact with the president of Liberia. Why? Because all the rubber that we know was basically produced in Liberia, he phoned the president and told him you have to vote for Israel and this is how the phrase came, basically, When the rubber hits the road…. So Liberia was on board.

Prosor said that U.S. Jews put their shoulder to the wheel on the UN partition resolution, and we need to keep strengthening “the bond between Israel and the Jewish people.”

[Partition was] an amazing lesson to when we work together, when we hold hands, when we cooperate, oh boy there’s no one no one in the world that really can do anything to us. The message is, the Jewish people all around the world, we should respect each other, we should work with each other, and at the end of the day achieve amazing results.


Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-2006