An open letter to the United Nations

You said “Never Again” and we believed you. When it comes to Jews, “Again” you remain silent

By Rolene Marks

Republished with permission from Lay of the Land
Originally published on 29 December 2023 here.

Dear United Nations

In a few weeks’ time, member states of the United Nations will commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance and Memorial Day. The 27th of January, is designated as a day of remembrance to coincide with the anniversary of the Red Army liberating the Auschwitz death camp. It is a day separate to Yom Hashoa, Israel’s national Memorial Day. UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres will look suitably solemn, make speeches, and attend ceremonies where he will say “Never Again” and talk about the imperative of memorial and fighting antisemitism. Many world leaders will do the same. In the halls of the UN and around the world, you will all give yourselves a perfunctory pat on the back and look suitably smug. You will acknowledge the Holocaust, looked sad for a day (and those photo opportunities because optics are important) and can tick your annual gesture to the genocide of the Jewish people off your to-do list. Ceremonies done, lip service paid, you can resume your sanctimony.

‘Never Again’ at UN sounding Shallow. What will UN Secretary-General Guterres – who is seen here with Israel’s UN envoy Gilad Erdan (l) and Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan (r) viewing a Holocaust installation at the UN Headquarters in New York, January 26, 2023 – say this coming January on ‘International Holocaust Remembrance and Memorial Day’ in light of the rising antisemitism, some of it fuelled by his personal statements and the positions of his UN relating to Israel’s war against Hamas?  (Photo: Luke Tress/Times of Israel)

The United Nations, established out of the ashes of the Holocaust, has a founding document or mandate to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction of race, sex, language, or religion. You said Never Again – and we believed you.

Then 7 October happened. You were silent. The noble tenets of your mandate discarded and replaced with a wall of immovable silence.

When the marauding, plundering, barbaric Hamas terrorists rained thousands of rockets down on Israeli civilians with the intention of murdering us, you said nothing.

Your social media feeds are filled with tweets about Gaza – the children in Gaza, the women in Gaza, the plight of Palestinians in Gaza. Nobody begrudges you that. Nobody is more acutely aware of the plight of Gazan civilians than Israelis are. This is why we are angry and frustrated that Hamas invited this war of wars on both our people. Your silence and that of your agencies UNICEF, UNRWA, UN Women and others about the plight of Israelis is deafening.

The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has been conspicuous in their absence of commentary – and empathy for Israeli child victims of the 7/10 atrocities. Where is the litany of tweets in support of Israeli children; don’t they deserve protection in a time of war? Where are your demands for the release of Kfir and Ariel Bibas and other minors held hostage by Hamas? Have you met with the children released from captivity and heard their stories? Have you visited the children from the towns and kibbutzim who have lost their homes, family members, friends, parents and community? They are enduring an unprecedented wave of trauma. Do you realise how many children are internal refugees, having evacuated from their homes in the north and south of Israel? You have not expressed your sorrow and anger about the brutal murder, torture, mutilation and rapes of Israeli children. Why is that? Do their lives not count? Why did you have fundraising campaigns for children of Gaza but nothing for Israeli children? Don’t worry, we hear you loud and clear. Our children don’t count – at least in your eyes.

UN’helpful. The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has been conspicuous in their absence of interest for the Israeli child victims of the 7/10 atrocities such as 10-month-old Kfir Bibas, seen here in a poster held up by a relation of the Bidas family who are all hostages held by Hamas. 

You advocate for children in Gaza, but where were you when Hamas used child labour to dig their terror tunnels? Many children have died as a result, and you have been silent so don’t start with the hypocritical pearl clutching now. Where were you when children were recruited by terrorists to use as child soldiers? Nowhere. I want to talk to you about education of hate, but I think that is more applicable to another UN agency – UNRWA.

Let us talk about UNRWA, the United Nations Relief Works Agency, designed to keep Palestinians in perpetual, generational refugee status. For years, various organisations have been warning that not only do Hamas use UNRWA schools and hospitals to store weapons but also textbooks are rife with incitement of hate. Some of your trucks were found on the devastated kibbutzim and as the IDF advance through Gaza we are seeing UNRWA branding in tunnels, on packages and boxes with weapons inside and we know that some of your staff were celebrating the massacre.

The New York Post obtained phone call recordings between a Palestinian man and an IDF officer. The Palestinian civilians accused UNRWA, of being under Hamas’ power, and that the terrorist group has been hogging all the humanitarian supplies. Humanitarian aid that civilians desperately need.

“The situation is terrible because the humanitarian people, those responsible for the humanitarian aid, are thieves,” the frustrated Gaza resident said in the recording.

“Hamas has their hands on UNRWA administration workers, and it manages UNRWA,” he alleges. “From the day they [Hamas] rose to power they took control of everything.”

The Palestinian man also said that Hamas has made sure the incoming humanitarian supplies were distributed to its own people first as opposed to the more than one million civilians who have been displaced by the war.

How do you explain this? Your social media has a black band across your name, indicating a state of mourning, but if your “staff”, some who celebrated the atrocities of 7/10 and some who have been investigated over the years for incitement of hate, are Hamas or assisting Hamas, this makes them legitimate military targets.

Massacre in the Making. A 2023 report by two independent research and monitoring groups reveals that teachers and schools at the UN agency that runs education and social services for Palestinians regularly call to murder Jews, and create teaching materials that glorify terrorism, encourage martyrdom, demonize Israelis and incite antisemitism.

The World Health Organisation, also a part of your once venerated organization, has also opted for silence or perhaps amnesia as a reason to not condemn or even comment on the firing on ambulances and hospitals. Director General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, said nothing when Barzilai hospital in Ashkelon was hit 4 times by Hamas rockets which in one incident, seriously damaged operating theatres. Nothing was said when Hamas terrorists fired on ambulances on 7/10, destroying them before they could be used to help the wounded. Hamas murdered paramedics like Awad, a Muslim and Amit a Jew. They were found with their latex gloves on. They helped the wounded until Hamas took the last breath from their bodies. World Health Organisation branding was visible in Al- Rantisi Hospital, where the evidence shows some of our hostages were kept there. Hamas have used hospitals as human shields, violating their secure status and turning them into legitimate military targets and still you condemn Israel. Did you forget the oath to “first do no harm”?

Last but certainly not least, I want to address UN Women.

You took nearly 60 days to tweet out that you were “alarmed at reports of sexual violence”. Well, I was not alarmed – I was sickened, distraught, devastated and angry when I first saw the images of Shany Louk’s lifeless and nearly naked body, her legs broken as she was paraded like a trophy through the streets of Gaza, while Palestinian men kicked her and spat on her. I felt a punch not to my gut but to my soul when I saw Naama Levy, who is still being held hostage, dragged by her hair by a Hamas terrorist, the bloodstains around her crotch area for the entire world to see that she had been violated. You should have voiced you anger and condemnation when the world watched with horror – not 60 days later!

Naama’s mother, Ayelet Levy Shachar speaks with a gentle voice and when she talks about her Na’ama in a tone so filled with love, it makes me want to wrap my arms around her and shield her from the pain of knowing what her daughter has and continues to endure. UN Women, you have barely acknowledged her or the pain of other mothers and fathers – let alone the victims. We have heard from doctors who treated the released hostages that several of them, including girls as young as 12 and at least one 30-year-old male had been sexually violated. US officials believe the young women have not been released for the simple reason – they will talk. They will tell the world what they have endured. You are still silent. You have betrayed your mandate – and the trust of victims of sexual violence past and present. When rape is used as a weapon of war, you should be the first to respond. Your prejudice has been exposed for the entire world to see.

Israel’s war with Hamas has exposed not only the gross negligence of the UN and all your agencies, but has shown the public how complicit you are with a terror organization comparable to ISIS. On 27 January, you will observe Holocaust Remembrance and Memorial Day and you will say Never Again. Never again is now – and you failed to prevent or even condemn it.

Shame on you!

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