Demographic, Environmental,
Security Issues Project

Letter re FORWARD Editorial on US Veto of Boutros Ghali

by Ronald Bleier

NOTE: The following letter was emailed to the editor of the Forward (NYC). The editors have apparently declined to print it.

November 24, 1996

To the editor:

Some readers may be puzzled by your uncritical support of the U.S. veto in the Security Council of a second term for Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali despite the isolation and embarrassment of being on the losing side of a 14-1 vote this month. You write that "you can bet America is in the right. It's a lead pipe cinch. ("Good-bye Boutros-Ghali," editorial, November 22, 1996")

It's not a great stretch to make out a Middle East issue lurking in the shadows of your uncritical support, in part because the Forward is invariably supportive of U.S. backing of Israel even if it means , as it does once again in this case, our diplomatic isolation.

The official explanation for the U.S. veto (which you later give), that a new Secretary General would be more palatable to Congress is unconvincing since no one has explained how a new UN leader would affect perceived Congressional unhappiness.

A link from the U.S. veto to the Middle East is supplied by veteran U.N. reporter Ian Williams. Writing in The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs ("U.N. Debate on Jerusalem Tunnel Isolates U.S. and Israel, Again," November/December 1996) Mr. Williams argues that "the U.S. campaign against U.N. Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali ... was at the very least initiated by his refusal to hide the report about the Israeli shelling of the Lebanese refugees..."

Israel claimed that its shelling of the U.N. compound was a mistake but the U.N. investigation found that the evidence pointed to a deliberate attack.

The U.N. report was published in May against the bitter reproaches and warnings of the U.S. and Israel, and the first news of the American decision to replace Mr. Ghali came in June.

The U.S. veto and its consequent isolation in the Security Council raises the disturbing issue of the hijacking of U.S. policy by the powerful Zionist lobby. Once again we have outraged the rest of the world -- not least the Muslim and African communities -- for no good reason. In addition, the Forward's unquestioning support of U.S. Middle East policy highlights the issue of divided loyalty on the part of the American pro-Israeli community.