Moynihan; U.S. Abstention in UN on Anti-israel Measures is Acquiescence
Menu JTA Search

Moynihan; U.S. Abstention in UN on Anti-israel Measures is Acquiescence

Download PDF for this date

Sen. Daniel Moynihan (D. NY) declared here last night that for the United States to abstain in United Nations Security Council resolutions against Israel “is to acquiesce.”

“I have been disappointed that we seem to be letting the Security Council degenerate into the conditions of the General Assembly.” Moynihan. a former United States Ambassador to the UN, said. He was responding to questions from Rabbi William Berkowitz at Congregation B’nai Jeshurun’s “Dialogue 80” series.

Moynihan explained that in the 1970s the democracies, which now number about 35 countries, lost their majority in the General Assembly. He said the same thing appears to be happening in the Security Council even though the U.S. as a permanent member of the Council can veto any resolution.

In the last nine resolutions on Israel in the Security Council the U.S. “inexplicably voted for one.” (later disavowed by President Carter); vetoed one and abstained seven times. Moynihan said.


The last time was Aug. 20 when the Council condemned Israel for the Jerusalem Law. Moynihan said the right to choose a capital was the very essence of sovereignty. He added that he wrote the plank in the 1976 and this year’s Democratic Party Platform calling for the U.S. to move its Embassy to Jerusalem. He said he won’t do it again because his party is not keeping its promises.

Coincidentally, earlier in the day, at a meeting of clergymen from throughout the U.S. at the headquarters of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith in support of Israel. Robert Hunter, director of Middle East Affairs for the National Security Council, said that President Carter has promised that the U.S. will from now on veto all “one-sided resolutions.”

Hunter said that in the Aug. 20 debate. Secretary of State Edmund Muskie warned the UN Security Council that this was the last time the U.S. would abstain on such resolutions. The White House official pointed to a statement by Carter last Friday that. “Whenever in the future the United Nations is misused or abused on Israeli-Arab issues with malicious, unfair and one-sided resolutions we will oppose them and in the Security Council we will veto them.”

Hunter also said that the U.S. has recently prevented moves to seek Israel’s ouster from the General Assembly and UNESCO and to give the Palestine Liberation Organization observer status at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meeting. He said the U.S. has voted against anti-Israel resolutions such as at the recent World Conference of the UN Decade for Women in Copenhagen.


Moynihan told the several hundred persons in the audience at the Manhattan congregation last night that he became a defender of Israel because when he entered the UN as U.S. Ambassador in 1975 he discovered that “Israel was being defamed in exactly the terms that the Jews of Nazi Germany and Poland were attacked.” He said he found the “very same Goebbels’ lie” in the “Zionist Racism” resolution adopted by the General Assembly.

The New York Senator said in tracing the origins of this attack he found it in a two-part article in Pravda in 1971 in which it was charged that Jews were not the victims of the Nazis but their “collaborators.” He said since then there have been efforts to deny Israel its legitimacy as a state referring to it only as the “Zionist entity.”

Noting that Israel is constantly accused of violating the Fourth Geneva Convention. Moynihan explained that this convention was adopted after World War II to condemn the way the Nazis had moved Jews from throughout Europe to the extermination camps. The only country ever found guilty of violating this convention is Israel. Moynihan said, and yet, he charged, the U.S. abstains on resolutions that include references to this Convention.

Berkowitz and Moynihan ranged over a wide variety of subjects. When Berkowitz asked for a thumbnail sketch of the four Presidents for whom he worked. Moynihan replied: “Kennedy knew too little. Johnson knew too much. Nixon knew the wrong things and Ford didn’t know what the question was.”

When Moynihan was asked about former Israeli Defense Minister Ezer Weizman accompanying Carter on his campaign trips yesterday, the Senator replied. “Israeli generals should keep their noses out of American politics.” He added. “If that goes for Ezer Weizman it damn sure goes for the Ayatollah,” an apparent reference to reports that the Ayatollah Khomeini is attempting to use the American hostages held in Iran to manipulate the U.S. elections.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund