By thejewishweek.com

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.