70th anniversary of the UN vote calling for the establishment of a Jewish state

November 29, 2017 Agencies
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The World Jewish Congress and Israel’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations has marked the 70th anniversary of the November 29, 1947 UN vote that called for the establishment of a Jewish state, with a reenactment of events in the very structure that served as the UN headquarters at that time.

US Vice President Mike Pence greets the audience, together with WJC President Ronald S. Lauder and Israeli Ambassador to UN Danny Danon.
Photo: Shahar Azran

US Vice President Mike Pence spoke as guest of honour, alongside World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder and Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon.

World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder emphasised in his address to the celebration at today’s Queens Museum the need for the United Nations to treat Israel as equally as any other state, and stressed his optimistic resolve for the viability of a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians. “Israel has never denied the right of the Palestinian Arabs to their sovereignty. Yet here we are today, still dreaming that two people – Jews and Arabs – will live together in peace. I believe that at this moment in time, and against all odds, a two-state solution is actually quite possible,” Lauder said.

Referencing the Arab refusal to accept the 1947 partition plan and his vision for a secure State of Israel beside a sovereign Palestinian state, Lauder added: “In 1947, the Jewish people accepted the division of their ancestral land in order to live side by side with their Arab neighbors…. They understood the realities of living in a new era, and they accepted that they could not have it all. But the Arab people did not. They did not accept the partition in 1947, and 70 years later, too many still do not accept it.”

Speaking to the anti-Israel bias and double standards that have spread through the United Nations, and the changing winds brought by officials such as UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and US Ambassador Nikki Haley, Lauder said: “Let us learn a lesson from 1947. Seventy years ago, countries on every continent with no vested interested, voted for partition, not for political reasons, not for economic reasons, and not out of self-interest. They voted to create the modern State of Israel because it was the right thing to do. It is my hope, my strongest desire, that rather than use this organization to cast votes based on political lies and deceit, countries actually do what is right. They can use Israel as a reference point.”

Australian Ambassador to the UN Gillian Bird

United States Vice President Mike Pence, addressed the audience as guest of honour and keynote speaker and said: “The President asked me to be here to remember the day when the United States of America joined 32 other nations to support the creation of the State of Israel, and to express our appreciation for all who support the Jewish people and the Jewish state to this day… But most of all, the President sent me here with a simple message – the same message he delivered earlier this year from the sacred city of Jerusalem… under our administration, America ‘will always stand with Israel.'”

“Under President Donald Trump, if the world knows nothing else, the world will know this: America stands with Israel – and so will it always be,” Pence said. “America stands with Israel because her cause is our cause, her values are our values, and her fight is our fight.  “We stand with Israel because we believe in right over wrong, good over evil, and freedom over tyranny.”

Noting the antisemitism and Israel hatred in the UN, Pence said: “With the leadership of our President, and the efforts of our Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, one thing is clear… the days of Israel-bashing at the United Nations are over.”

Regarding efforts to resume the peace process, Pence said: “President Trump is also committed to finally bring peace to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And while compromise will be necessary, you can rest assured – President Trump will never compromise the safety and security of the Jewish state of Israel.”

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said: “Seventy years ago, in this very room, in these very seats where you are sitting today, the dream of the Jewish people of 2,000 years came true…  In 1897 Theodor Herzl dreamed of the impossible, in 1947 the Jewish people realized the impossible and today 2017, seventy years later, the modern State of Israel has made the impossible, possible. From this day onward, for the next seventy years and beyond, Israel will continue to be a beacon of democracy, a powerhouse of innovation and a light unto the nations.”

The 70th anniversary celebration was held in in the presence of more than 600 government officials, diplomats, ambassadors, and students, and organized in partnership with Keren Hayesod and members of the pro-Israel community including the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the JCRC, American Zionist Movement, Bnai Brith International, America Israel Friendship League, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, StandWithUs, IAC, CAMERA, the European Coalition for Israel, The Israel Project, ZOA, World Zionist Organization and the Bnai Zion Foundation.

Australian community personality Robert Goot was invited to attend the function as Chair of the WJC Policy Council and took the opportunity in discussion with  Ambassador Danny Danon to emphasise the key role played by the then Australian Minister for External Affairs Herbert Vere (Doc) Evatt, as the Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee on Palestine whose recommendation in effect became resolution 181.

Ambassador Danon  was remarked on the role that Australia played then and the steadfast support for Israel demonstrated by the Australian government.

On the night of the function, Ambassador Gillian Bird  attended as guest of honour, the sold out Concert of the Moriah College Touring Band, held at the Museum of Jewish Heritage at Battery Park.

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