Commentary Magazine


Topic: translators

Correct Translation? The UN Is a Joke

That the United Nations long ago became a cesspool of anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist incitement is not news. Indeed, the prejudice against the State of Israel that is on display at virtually every General Assembly session as well as those of its component agencies, especially those supposed to be devoted to the cause of human rights, is so blatant that few involved even bother to deny the disproportionate nature of the proceedings. While the struggle between Israel and the Palestinians has created victims on both sides, the numbers of those who are affected or even inconvenienced are miniscule compared to far greater ongoing tragedies in nearby Arab and Muslim countries or elsewhere in Africa and Asia. But when it comes to the world body, all other causes are mere sideshows when compared to the crusade against Israel. But it’s nice to know that at least some of those who work within the UN are aware of this travesty.

That was made manifest yesterday when the GA voted on nine separate resolutions condemning Israel while ignoring every other conflict on the globe, almost all of which concern far greater numbers of people. But the monotony of this ritualized singling out of the Jews for sacrifice was broken when, during the course of the votes in which 150 or more UN members voted in lockstep against Israel, one of the translators was heard to comment on the absurd nature of what she was forced to transmit. Speaking over a hot mic that caught her genuine feelings about the proceedings, the anonymous translator said the following at the 1:55 mark of this instant UN YouTube classic:

I think when you have… like a total of ten resolutions on Israel and Palestine, there’s gotta be something, c’est un peu trop, non? I mean I know… There’s other really bad s**t happening, but no one says anything about the other stuff.

Never have truer words been spoken at the United Nations.

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That the United Nations long ago became a cesspool of anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist incitement is not news. Indeed, the prejudice against the State of Israel that is on display at virtually every General Assembly session as well as those of its component agencies, especially those supposed to be devoted to the cause of human rights, is so blatant that few involved even bother to deny the disproportionate nature of the proceedings. While the struggle between Israel and the Palestinians has created victims on both sides, the numbers of those who are affected or even inconvenienced are miniscule compared to far greater ongoing tragedies in nearby Arab and Muslim countries or elsewhere in Africa and Asia. But when it comes to the world body, all other causes are mere sideshows when compared to the crusade against Israel. But it’s nice to know that at least some of those who work within the UN are aware of this travesty.

That was made manifest yesterday when the GA voted on nine separate resolutions condemning Israel while ignoring every other conflict on the globe, almost all of which concern far greater numbers of people. But the monotony of this ritualized singling out of the Jews for sacrifice was broken when, during the course of the votes in which 150 or more UN members voted in lockstep against Israel, one of the translators was heard to comment on the absurd nature of what she was forced to transmit. Speaking over a hot mic that caught her genuine feelings about the proceedings, the anonymous translator said the following at the 1:55 mark of this instant UN YouTube classic:

I think when you have… like a total of ten resolutions on Israel and Palestine, there’s gotta be something, c’est un peu trop, non? I mean I know… There’s other really bad s**t happening, but no one says anything about the other stuff.

Never have truer words been spoken at the United Nations.

Of course, as soon as she realized that the official broadcast of the meeting was picking up her comments, the translator apologized repeatedly while the official running this kangaroo court merely smiled and noted that there had been “a problem with the interpretation” as some nervous laughter was heard. Undaunted by the unscheduled bout of candor, the delegates went on and finished their work passing a few more anti-Israel resolutions before patting themselves on the back for their principled support for human rights and adjourned.

As UN Watch’s Hillel Neuer wrote about this in the Times of Israel:

By the end of its annual legislative session next month, the General Assembly will have adopted a total of 22 resolutions condemning Israel—and only four on the rest of the world combined. The hypocrisy, selectivity, and politicization are staggering.

As Neuer rightly notes, one of the resolutions condemned Israel’s continued presence in the Golan Heights, which it took from Syria in a defensive war in 1967. Since then, various Syrian dictators have turned down several feelers from Israel about negotiating a withdrawal as the Assad clan preferred a continuation of the conflict to peace since the strife helped prop up their dictatorship. But no matter what one thinks about the rights and wrongs of that issue, the fact that Syria came up at the UN this week with Israel without one mention of the brutality of the Assad regime or the fact that over 100,000 have been killed during the civil war there is considered unremarkable. Israel was unfairly condemned for being on the Golan and for supposedly mistreating Syrian citizens, but the world body could find no time to address Assad’s ongoing depredations or his use of illegal chemical weapons to slaughter his foes.

Nor, during the course of the standard flaying of the Jews for building communities in Jerusalem and the West or for having the temerity to defend themselves against terrorists, did the UN pause even for a moment to condemn Palestinian terrorism against Israel, the tyranny of the Hamas rulers of Gaza, or the fomenting of hatred and anti-Semitism on official Palestinian Authority print and broadcast outlets.

Only Israel’s alleged wrongs are worthy of discussion and censor at the UN. Everything else is merely an unimportant detail to be swept under the rung no matter how many lives are lost or how awful the circumstances.

Let there be no mistake that what is on display there is nothing short of anti-Semitism no matter how high-minded those involved pretend to be. By treating the one Jewish state by a different standard than every other country and singling it out for condemnation for acting no differently than any other sovereign state under attack, the UN is promoting and practicing prejudice.

It would be nice to think this incident will set off some serious soul searching in Washington about a change in attitude toward the UN. But given President Obama’s infatuation with the world body, that is about as likely to happen as him conceding that ObamaCare was a mistake. We should be grateful to this translator and must hope that she has not been fired for her offensive truth telling. But the real shame here is that civilized people, including the government of the United States, still treat the UN as if it were a legitimate institution rather than a parody of world government run by a corrupt gang of anti-Semites.

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