Geoffrey Paul and Bernard Joseph
Jewish Chronicle, 20 Dec. 1991
UN vote “a victory for morality?
Israeli Foreign Minister David Levy and his countrx’s United Nations Ambassador, Mr Yoram Aridor, reached out to each other in a spontaneous embrace when the UN General Assembly repealed the 1975 resolution equating Zionism with racism.
One hundred and eleven nations voted in favour of the repeal, 25 against and 13 abstained. Seventeen, including two Arab countries, Egypt and Moroco, recorded no vote.
It was only the second time that the General Assembly had rescinded one of its own resolutions. the last occasion was in 1950, when Spain was given full status in the world body, baving been refused it when the UN was established in 1946.
Until the very last moment of Mondax’s vote, the Arab group of the UN, led by Yemen, Algeria and Sudan, fought either to have the resolution withdrawn or, at the very least, to demand that it requires a two-thirds majority for success. They failed in this bid but, as the vote itself dramatically illustrated, they would have lost even had the two-thirds requirement been adopted.
Only two non-Arab or non-Muslim countries voted against the repeal: Cuba and Vietnam.
Immediately after the result was known, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir telephoned US President George Bush to thank him for the US role in repealing the resolution.
In London, jubilant Israeli diplomats hailed the role played by the British Government in co-sponsoring the repeal of the resolution.
Ambassador Yoav Biran emphasised that the British played a “very active part? in encouraging other countries to support the move.
“We are delighted Britain was one of the first countries to become a co-sponsor and it played a big part in making this a big success,” he said.
“It was clear that this was not just a routine exercise. Britain made a considerable effort.”