Tower of Babble: How the United Nations Has Fueled Global Chaos
by Dore Gold
New York: Crown Forum, 2004. 320 pp. $25.95 ($14.95, paper).
Reviewed by Asaf Romirowsky
Middle East Forum
Middle East Quarterly
Gold, Israel's former ambassador to the United Nations, tackles the infrastructure of the organization and the many problems for which it has been responsible, a timely subject given the growing size of the oil-for-food scam. Gold's metaphor of the U.N. as the Tower of Babble is fitting because, like the Bible story (where the language barrier prevented proper communication), here, too, chaos is the name of the game; everyone is on a different page in a different language.
Over the years, the U.N. has shown particular indulgence for mass murder as we witnessed in Zimbabwe, Rwanda, and Bosnia but as horrendous as these acts were, the U.N. has taken a special liking to the Palestinian cause and has become a de facto front group for Yasir Arafat and his legacy of terrorism.
The author offers an insider's perspective as he witnessed the U.N. from within; he saw, for example, how it failed to take any role in Afghanistan during the rise of the Taliban, and how it failed to deploy peacekeepers in Rwanda and Bosnia prior to the mass killings. However, these humanitarian global scandals pale in comparison to the U.N.'s terrorist ties, which are a special interest of Gold's.
The most embarrassing illustration of this is the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) established by the U.N. in 1949, following Israel's independence. UNRWA's appalling depth of terrorist infiltration demonstrates how much the U.N. has been compromised over the years. Many of UNRWA's staff are known members of Hamas. According to Gold, having Hamas membership helps in getting a job with the U.N. on the West Bank. Retired Israel Defense Forces colonel Yoni Fighel, a former military governor in the territories, illustrates the depth of the problem: "as long as UNRWA employees are members of Fatah, Hamas, or PFLP [Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine], they are going to pursue the interests of their party within the framework of their job … Who's going to check up on them to see that they don't? UNRWA? They are UNRWA."
Gold recommends that democratic countries bypass the U.N. in the short- term. For the long-term, he suggests reforming the essence of the U.N. through an agenda that serves democracies rather than dictatorships by building a council of democratic countries and a stronger NATO.
 Allison Kaplan Sommer, "UNRWA on Trial," Reform Judaism Magazine, Winter 2002, p. 42.
Related Topics: Asaf Romirowsky | Winter 2006 MEQ
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