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Devaluing the Prize

Devaluing the Prize

This was not the year to recognize the United Nations and its secretary-general for their roles in "achieving peace and security in the world."

by The Jewish Week


The Nobel Prize in Peace this year was given to the United Nations and its secretary-general, Kofi Annan, cited for reinvigorating new life in the international body. Unfortunately, from our perspective the international body seems to have contributed more to the diminishing of the value of human life this past year.

Soon after the outbreak of the current intifada, last October, three Israeli soldiers were kidnapped in Lebanon. It later turned out that though the UN denied having information about the abduction, the act was witnessed by UN soldiers and the UN had videotapes of the scene. But under pressure from Hezbollah, the militant fundamentalist group responsible for the kidnapping, the UN withheld from Israel the videotapes, as well as personal affects of the three soldiers. This proved to be an embarrassment to the world body and a source of anguish and frustration to the government and people of Israel. This week the families of the three soldiers, whose whereabouts and status are still unknown, called the Nobel decision a "shameful disgrace." Avraham Burg, the speaker of the Knesset, made public his protest of the prize, citing the UN’s handling of the kidnapping.

It was a shameful year for the U.N. and Kofi Annan.

Adding further shame to the name of the UN was its exclusion of the U.S. from its human rights commission this year, and the use of language citing Israel as guilty of war crimes. Equally disturbing was the fiasco known as the UN World Conference Against Racism, held in Durban, South Africa, this summer. Though the U.S. and Israel walked out in protest of the virulent anti-Israel and anti-Semitic language used in the Arab world’s attempt to single out Israel as the most racist government in the world, Secretary-General Annan showed no such moral courage. Sadly, the UN reverted to form in displaying its bias against Israel. More than 25 years after declaring that Zionism equals racism, a resolution that was later removed, the world body was again portraying Israel as a racist, apartheid country.

This was not the year to recognize the United Nations and its secretary-general for their roles in "achieving peace and security in the world." On the contrary, it was a year in which the world body’s immoral imbalance toward Israel was on vivid display. Now Kofi Annan joins Yasir Arafat, whose bloody career reached its peak these last 12 months with the undeclared war he is waging against the Jewish state, as a Nobel Peace laureate. So much for the meaning of words, and values, in a world where those who promote or disregard bloodshed are rewarded for bringing peace.

October 20, 2001

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Visitor Comments: 4

(4) Anonymous, November 10, 2001 12:00 AM

Nobel Prize for Racism and Kidnapping Goes To ... The U.N.!!!

I too am aghast that the U.N. was given ANY award this year, let alone what used to be considered a prestigious award. The Nobel committee has really shot its credibility with this one. What were they drinking? The U.N.'s horrific events of the past year in particular with regard to Israel prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that he U.N. has slid inexorably into the mire of being a racist, ineffectual body that should be ignored as a serious deterrent to terrorism. Their 'peacekeeping force' protected terrorist KIDNAPPERS instead of law abiding Israeli soldiers for goodness' sake! They should also be ignored as a serious contributor to world peace -- that shocking blast of racist incitement they organized in Durban should have more truthfully been called 'Mein Kampf in Arabia'. Siding with terrorists, creating worldwide anti-Semitic incitement the likes of which have not been seen since Hitler's propaganda ... and for this they win a Nobel Peace Prize? The Nobel Prize is now at best rendered utterly meaningless, and at worst an embarassment to have if one must share it with its current recipients.
This business in the U.N. of having one vote per country is also a misguided application of 'democracy' -- believing majority vote is the way to go. Even in a democracy, things cannot be changed by a simple 'majority rule' as the majority is acknowledged to be fickle, too ruled by the trends of the day that have not endured the test of time, or even ill-informed about the decisions at hand and their ramifications. A series of checks and balances are required to ensure that just because some states are yelling louder to influence others, or blackmailing others, or in any way influencing the voting of others that they will not necessarily carry the day.
Now both the U.N. and the Nobel Peace Prize committees are merely the myopic mutant heirs of these once valuable institutions whose original visions have obviously not survived.

(3) Rob Mahaffy, October 24, 2001 12:00 AM

UN has evolved

the UN has evolved, or should I say de-volved, into something that is not even a shadow of what it was intended to be after WW II. It is the empitome of the growing rhetoric or right is wrong, and wrong is right. I believe that given the recent events in Israel and the U.S., it's usefullness which seems to be nothing more than to issue useless, and rediculous condemnations where they don't apply, is at an end.

(2) Phillip Kruse, October 23, 2001 12:00 AM

Alfred Nobel will be turning in his grave.

On current form, next year's Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded to Osama Bin Laden. If that happens, it wouldn't devalue the Prize any more than it has already been devalued.

(1) marie guay, October 22, 2001 12:00 AM


It was a shame on the Nobel Foundation to give it out to anyone esp the UN and Sec Gen. I was aghast and still am.

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