Historic UN Vote to Establish Israel Reenacted on 70th Anniversary as UN, Palestinians Protest

November 28, 2017

3 min read

In honor of the 70th anniversary of the 1947 United Nations resolution leading to the establishment of the State of Israel, Vice President Mike Pence will preside over a reenactment and celebration on Tuesday as the UN itself sponsors anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian events for the occasion.

The historic November 29, 1947 General Assembly Resolution 181 (II), also known as the Partition Plan, proposed to divide Mandate Palestine into two states. Though it was rejected by Arab leadership and preceded a violent war between the embryo Jewish State and its neighboring enemies, it was considered a major success by Jewish leadership and eventually set the stage for Israel declaring its independence and establishing an autonomous state.

In celebration of the momentous 70th anniversary, the Israeli delegation to the UN organized a reenactment of the historic vote in the very hall where it was held, now part of the Queens Museum in New York.

Alongside Pence, the guest of honor, over 700 guests were invited to the event. Distinguished attendees will include Jewish U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder, local community leaders, and ambassadors and diplomats from the 33 countries that voted in favor of establishing a Jewish State in Palestine. Nikki Haley, American ambassador to the UN, is also expected to attend.

The Queens Museum, which served as the UN headquarters from 1946 to 1950, has been decorated to look exactly as it did on the day of the original vote, with wooden tables, a stage, and a world map hanging on the wall.

Dancers will perform the traditional Jewish hora, or circle dance, to commemorate the sense of joy that spread through the Jewish communities in America and in Mandate Palestine after the passing of the vote in 1947. Israeli singer Ninet Tayeb will perform Israel’s national anthem, “HaTikvah,” as well as “Jerusalem of Gold.”

The reenactment is the initiative of Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, in collaboration with the World Jewish Congress.

“We are proud to celebrate with our heads held high the definitive event that led to the establishment of the state and present the achievements and the vast support that Israel has around the world,” Danon said.

“It is a great honor for Israel to host Vice President Pence at the festivities. The president of the United States 70 years ago, Harry Truman, was the first leader to recognize the State of Israel with its founding. Ever since then, Israel has had no better friend than the United States.”

New York’s Times Square will also host a celebration of the anniversary, with mega screens in the iconic center of the city broadcasting clips from the historic moment when Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion, declared the establishment of the State of Israel. Dancers waving Israeli flags will perform in Times Square.

Jews in Mandate Palestine celebrate the passing of the UN vote on November 29, 1947. (Goverment Press Office/Hans Pinn)

But not all are joining in the anniversary festivities. Critics include the very international body that originally approved the plan. As the Partition Plan was rejected by the Arabs in Palestine as well as the Arab states, November 29th also marks the UN-organized “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People”, an annual event in which UN bodies such as the Division for Palestinian Rights, the Human Rights Council, and the Committee on Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People often pass a series of anti-Israel resolutions.  

Jerusalem-based research institute NGO Monitor sent a letter to UN Secretary General António Guterres on the occasion, calling on him to continue to take efforts to tackle this problem by ending UN programs that reject Israel, deny its sovereignty, and “undermine the spirit” of GA Resolution 181.

The letter states that many UN bodies actively undermine the two-state model, enshrined by the Partition Plan, that has been the core of UN policy for 70 years, “by systematically denying Israel’s legitimacy, denigrating Jewish self-determination, and otherwise demonizing a UN member state.”

The letter gives recent examples that “speak volumes to the insidious nature of Israel denial at the UN”, including this October, when “24 separate UN agencies contracted with the Palestinian Authority to spend more than $18 million on campaigns aimed at isolating Israel through coordinated political, economic, and legal attacks.”

Commenting on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, Danon stated, “The vote on November 29 is a constitutive event in our annals, and we are proud to celebrate it with our many friends from around the world.

“Precisely because of Palestinian attempts to undermine our right to exist, we will display the great support Israel enjoys around the world and celebrate 70 years of independence and prosperity.”

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