The 'International Community' Isn't a Community
Very often these days, we hear about the wonderful richness of the international community. Americans are chastised for failing to go along with the international community on climate change; failing to follow the consensus of the international community on health care; failing to mirror the priorities of the international community in foreign policy.
But here’s the reality: There is no international community. There is merely a group of states motivated by self-interest. Sometimes those self-interests overlap. Other times they don’t. But let’s not pretend that the international community somehow maintains a sort of collective moral standing merely by dint of numbers. In fact, precisely the opposite is often true.
Take, for example, the United Nations’ recent decision not to condemn the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. This week, the U.N. General Assembly voted on a resolution condemning the group for “repeatedly firing rockets into Israel and for inciting violence, thereby putting civilians at risk,” as well as for using assets to construct “tunnels to infiltrate Israel and equipment to launch rockets into civilian areas.” The U.N., which requires a two-thirds vote to pass a General Assembly resolution, voted down the resolution — 87 nations in favor, 58 against, 32 abstaining. All in all, that means that more nations voted against ratifying the resolution — 90 — than in favor of it.
Up to this point, the U.N. has never passed a single resolution against Hamas.
Just days later, Palestinian terrorists opened fire on a group of people waiting for a bus near Ofra, a settlement in Judea and Samaria. The drive-by shooting wounded seven people, including a pregnant woman and her unborn child, as well as her husband. Both the woman and the baby are now in critical condition; it will be a miracle if both survive. According to The Times of Israel, Hamas immediately praised the attack, deeming it “heroic” and an “affirmation of our people’s choice and legitimacy in resisting the Zionist occupation and its settlers.”
Hamas isn’t hiding the ball. It is evil. It celebrates evil. It pays terrorists to commit acts of evil. But the international community isn’t hiding the ball either when its members refuse to condemn terrorism as terrorism when it is directed against disfavored members of the international community.
Take, by contrast, the international community’s reaction to a terrorist attack directed against an Iranian military parade in late September. The U.N. Security Council forcibly condemned the attack, calling it a “heinous and cowardly terrorist attack” and pledging its support to “hold perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism accountable and bring them to justice.”
What’s the difference? Only the perpetrators and the targets. The international community is a joke. Perhaps the United States ought to change its climate change or health care or gun policies. But those arguments should never be made on the basis of the international standard of morality — a standard that doesn’t exist, has never existed and ought not be the subject of pretending by Western nations that ought to know better.
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