Israel braces for difficult term as U.N. General Assembly begins

new york (jta) | If recent events are any indication of what’s to come at the 2004 U.N. General Assembly, Israel had better brace itself.

Now that the three-month session officially started Tuesday, Sept. 14, Israel advocates are preparing for the traditional batch of some 20 anti-Israel resolutions — in addition to several new ones.

Although the United Nations this summer hosted its first-ever large-scale event to address growing worldwide anti-Semitism, observers say little has come of it.

Instead, pro-Israel advocates say they are particularly worried about the Palestinians’ aim to capitalize on the July opinion of the International Court of Justice at the Hague, which advised Israel to dismantle the parts of its security barrier that cut into Palestinian territory and compensate Palestinians impeded by it.

Israel and American Jewish groups are lobbying U.N. member countries to prevent the issue from reaching or gaining passage at the U.N. Security Council, the only U.N. body with the power to impose sanctions.

Israel’s backers are urging members of the General Assembly, a body of 191 countries, to resist the usual habit of trouncing en masse on the Jewish state. In addition, Jewish groups hope that a resolution condemning anti-Semitism that was withdrawn last year due to lack of support will be reintroduced.

According to Amy Goldstein, director of U.N. affairs for B’nai B’rith International, it could turn into either one of the worst sessions or one of the best.

“It could stand out as one of the worst sessions in the U.N. for Israel if the Palestinians decide to try to isolate Israel in the international community even further by seeking to continue this charade of a parallel with South Africa, or it could be a landmark year for the Jewish people with the passage of a stand-alone resolution condemning anti-Semitism as called for by the U.N. secretary-general, Kofi Annan,” at the U.N. conference on anti-Semitism this summer.