Declare Yom Kippur a UN Holiday – Daniel S. Mariaschin and David J. Michaels
(dailyalert.org, Aug. 29, 2014)
The UN charter affirms the “equal rights” of “nations large and small.” But in the “family of nations,” some members are more equal than others. The State of Israel was created, in the Jewish ancestral homeland, as a result of a UN resolution. Israel tries to contribute to international peace in every area in which it can help, from disaster relief to medical innovation to agricultural technology. But over time, Israel has been a target for exceptional mistreatment at the UN and is routinely condemned by the body’s Human Rights Council more than any other member state.
The UN is headquartered in New York City, which has the single largest Jewish population in the diaspora. In 1997, the General Assembly added two Muslim holidays (Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr) to the official calendar of the UN headquarters. Two of the 10 holidays are Christian (Good Friday and Christmas) and the other six are American federal holidays. None is Jewish. Important UN events – even, sometimes, meetings related to Israel – have repeatedly been scheduled on major Jewish holidays.
Last month, 32 nations – including Argentina, Canada, Israel, Nigeria and the U.S. – declared their support for adding Yom Kippur to the UN calendar. The Yom Kippur proposal is a nonpolitical one and a test of inclusiveness. All 193 UN members should support it. Daniel S. Mariaschin is executive vice president, and David J. Michaels is director of UN and intercommunal affairs, at B’nai B’rith International. (New York Times)