|May 2, 2012 – Washington, D.C. – Israel’s ambassador to the UN vowed to bring the issue of Jewish refugees from Arab countries to the forefront of deliberations at the world body.
“It is my responsibility to tell the story,” Ambassador Ron Prosor told the AJC Global Forum. The UN has passed more than1,000 resolutions on the Palestinians, 172 on Palestinian refugees and “zero on the untold story of the 850,000 Jews from Arab countries,” he said.
“I will raise this issue at the UN again and again until the UN is going to really deal with this issue of Jewish refugees from Arab countries,” the ambassador declared.
Ambassador Prosor’s comments came in a conversation with AJC Executive Director David Harris during the opening session of the AJC Global Forum. More than 1,000, including representatives of Jewish communities from 50 countries were in the audience. The conversation also touched on the Palestinian gambit to achieve statehood without negotiations with Israel, the treatment of Israel at the UN, and Iran’s nuclear program.
Prosor emphasized that a key to achieving sustainable peace will be international recognition of Israel as the state of the Jewish people. “Especially in the Arab world recognition of the connection of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel is paramount,” he said.
In this regard, Prosor expressed lingering disappointment with the speech Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas delivered to the UN General Assembly last September, in which he did not mention any Jewish connection to the land.
“Abbas was received at the UN like he is Elton John” and then he delivered “a racist and anti-Semitic speech,” said Prosor. Palestinian recognition of Israel as the Jewish state is essential, said Prosor, to ensure that they do not continue to assert their claim of a right of return even after a Palestinian state is established.
Prosor stressed that a two-state solution to the conflict is “absolutely viable and will allow comprehensive peace in the region.”
But he noted the continuing Palestinian efforts to achieve recognition of a state without negotiating with Israel. Prosor affirmed that the UN Security Council will not make Palestine the 194th member of the UN. However, he expressed concern that the Palestinians, instead of resuming negotiations with Israel, will seek observer nation status in the General Assembly and will continue to seek membership in UN bodies in addition to UNESCO.
Prosor shared with the AJC global audience an insider’s view of the schizophrenic workings of the UN.
While Israel is constantly the target of condemnation at the UN, Prosor said he has found among the ambassadors of many UN member states a great deal of respect for Israel and its contributions to economic and technological development.
Many countries, including members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, are enjoying relations with Israel “under the radar,” said Prosor, but when they go to the UN podium to speak about Israel “you need ear plugs.”
Regarding Iran, Prosor cautioned that its nuclear program is moving fast, “like the express train,” while the international community is on the local train. “If it doesn’t accelerate, the world will not stop Iran,” said Prosor, who called for more sanctions and other measures.