Raising the Standard.

Moynihan’s ‘One Foreboding Fact’

Daniel Patrick Moynihan before the United Nations.

On Friday, the European Union’s Agency for Fundamental Rights released the results of a survey of European Jews. The survey’s most startling finding was that “more than three-quarters” of European Jews believe anti-Semitism is on the rise in their country. Nearly one-third of respondents said they had considered emigrating because they feared religious persecution.

While unsettling, these results cannot be too surprising as populist and nativist far-right* parties like Hungary’s Jobbik and Greece’s Golden Dawn gain strength in Europe.

The survey was released to coincide with the 75th anniversary of Nazi Germany’s Kristallnacht, but I was reminded of another anniversary, which passed on Sunday.

38 years ago, in 1975, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Daniel Patrick Moynihan delivered a scorching speech before the General Assembly. The speech, latter dubbed “Moynihan’s Moment,” concerned U.N. Resolution 3379, which determined that “Zionism,” in addition to being an “imperialist ideology,” is also “a form of racism and racial discrimination.” The resolution was the most overt in a series of slights and attacks on the State of Israel, which stemmed not from any concern for the well-being of Palestinians (as though they are persecuted by Israel) but from malice toward the West in general, and Jewish people in particular.

The resolution’s 25 sponsors closely mirror the list of Arab belligerents in the Six-Day and Yom Kippur wars of 1967 and 1973; the resolution’s 72 supporters (which included the USSR and its satellite states) were, with few exceptions, the barbarous and backwards nations of the world.

It is to those countries that Moynihan, a hard-line anti-Communist, delivered his indictment:

The United States rises to declare before the General Assembly of the United Nations, and before the world, that it does not acknowledge, it will not abide by, it will never acquiesce in this infamous act.

Not three weeks ago, the United States Representative in the Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Committee pleaded in measured and fully considered terms for the United Nations not to do this thing. It was, he said, “obscene.” It is something more today, for the furtiveness with which this obscenity first appeared among us has been replaced by a shameless openness.

There will be time enough to contemplate the harm this act will have done the United Nations. Historians will do that for us, and it is sufficient for the moment only to note the foreboding fact. A great evil has been loosed upon the world. The abomination of anti-semitism — as this year’s Nobel Peace Laureate Andrei Sakharov observed in Moscow just a few days ago — the Abomination of anti-semitism has been given the appearance of international sanction. The General Assembly today grants symbolic amnesty — and more — to the murderers of the six million European Jews. Evil enough in itself, but more ominous by far is the realization that now presses upon us — the realization that if there were no General Assembly, this could never have happened.

As this day will live in infamy, it behooves those who sought to avert it to declare their thoughts so that historians will know that we fought here, that we were not small in number — not this time — and that while we lost, we fought with full knowledge of what indeed would be lost.

Moynihan’s speech met with fierce denunciations from all the usual suspects, but met with acclaim by an American public increasingly disgusted with the U.N.’s sanctimony, which under the guise of international peace and goodwill furthered neither.**

The “Zionism is Racism” resolution was repealed 16 years after its passage. That would be 1991, the year another affront to humanity — the Berlin wall — came tumbling down. As the recent E.U. survey shows, however, Moynihan’s “one foreboding fact,” the “great evil” of anti-Semitism, is with us still today: in an increasingly intolerant Europe, in the Middle East and in a world body that in 2012 passed 22 resolutions concerning Israel, and four for the rest of the world combined.

—M. Blake Seitz is Editor-in-Chief of THE ARCH CONSERVATIVE


*”Far-right” in the continental tradition carries different connotations than in the Anglo-American tradition. While rightists in Europe bear some similarity to American conservatives on cultural issues (both seek national unity through identity), in Europe this is far more likely to be based upon blood identity than cultural identity; appeals to ethnic and blood solidarity are rightly unpalatable to most in America. Additionally, European rightists generally support a strong welfare state as part of their commitment to type. Despite the press’s inaccurate labels, this makes the European far-right more akin to fascism than anything resembling conservatism as we understand it.

**In the memorable words of Professor Gil Troy, by the 1970s the U.N. had become little more than a “third-world dictators’ debating society.”

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