In the period between the world wars, Isaac Babel wrote the cycle of stories Red Cavalry in the Soviet Union, S.Y. Agnon wrote the novel In the Heart of the Seas in Jerusalem, and Isaac Bashevis Singer wrote the novella Satan in Goray in Warsaw. Each book, influenced by its author’s experience of war, revolution, and—in Agnon’s case—immigration to Palestine, explores aspects of the Jewish condition. Ruth R. Wisse finds in these works much that is relevant to Jewish politics today. (Video, 35 minutes.)
Lessons in Jewish Politics from Three of the 20th Century’s Greatest Works of Jewish Fiction
America Is Right to Withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council
Yesterday the U.S. announced its decision to withdraw from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), which serves primarily as a forum for the worst human-rights abusers to condemn Israel while ignoring the atrocious behavior of tyrants. Anne Bayefsky writes:
Among the 47 UN states calling the shots on the organization’s top human-rights body are such human-rights paragons as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, . . . Qatar, and Venezuela. . . .
There is no doubt that the UN Human Rights Council is a productive tool for anti-Semites. Discrimination against the Jewish state is baked into its procedures . . . as well as its composition. The council reserves one permanent agenda item for every one of its regular sessions solely for condemning Israel. All other 192 UN member states are considered together under a separate item, if they are discussed at all.
The council has adopted more resolutions condemning Israel than any other country on earth, and nothing condemning almost 90 percent of the world’s states. The council has held more emergency special sessions on Israel than on any other country, including Syria—where at least 500,000 have died and up to 12 million have been displaced.
But even beyond the disturbing fact that anti-Semitism thrives at the United Nations under the guise of human rights is that the “human-rights” experts, the nongovernmental organizations and the academic entourage surrounding this whole apparatus, have the council’s back. For months, they have been flooding the airwaves and [the American ambassador to the UN Nikki] Haley and [Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo’s email inboxes begging the Trump administration to stay on the council. In a nutshell, they make one basic point: the demonization of Israel, even if undeserved, is peripheral to the common good. Pompeo and Haley have courageously decided to set them straight. Equal rights cannot be built on inequality for Jews and the Jewish state.