Saul Singer at PostGlobal

Saul Singer

Jerusalem, Israel

Saul Singer, a columnist and former editorial page editor at the Jerusalem Post, is co-author of the forthcoming book, Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle. He has also written for the Wall Street Journal, Commentary, Middle East Quarterly, Moment, the New Leader, and bitterlemons.org (an Israeli/Palestinian e-zine). Before moving to Israel in 1994, he served as an adviser in the United States Congress to the House Foreign Affairs and Senate Banking Committees. He is also on Twitter. Close.

Saul Singer

Jerusalem, Israel

Saul Singer is a columnist and former editorial page editor at the Jerusalem Post. more »

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Recognize Self-Defense

Jerusalem, Israel - Welcome to your new post. As much as we in Israel distrust the UN, which at times seems oddly dedicated to supporting our enemies, we always hope for better and wish that you will be successful at reforming this critical institution.

I hope you will start at the beginning, by putting these words in a frame on your desk:

"To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace."

You, of course, recognize these words as Article I, Paragraph I of the UN Charter. It powerfully captures how the UN is supposed to maintain peace. Its key tactic is to take "effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace."

In short, organize the good guys to gang up against the bad guys. And how are we to tell the difference between the good and the bad guys? To the drafters of the Charter, this was obvious -- peace-loving states must collectively defend themselves against aggressor states.

It has become fashionable to claim that "aggression," presumably like the terms "terrorist" and "freedom-fighter," is in the eye of the beholder. But that sort of attempt to rob critical concepts of their meaning is exactly what has transformed the UN into such an Orwellian place, where Israel is the most condemned country in the world and the worst dictatorships and even genocide are ignored or paid lip service.

There is an easy way to tell the difference between aggression and self-defense: if the victim stops defending himself, war continues and even escalates; if the aggressor is defeated or stops attacking, there is peace.

Someday, the UN will rush to condemn those attacking Israel more quickly than it leaps to stop Israel from defending itself. When that day comes, peace will have arrived as well, or will not be far off.

Sincerely,

Saul Singer
Jerusalem, Israel

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