Jerusalem Summit Suggests Alternative to UN by Judy Lash Balint www.jta.org
December 3, 2004
Israel's former Ambassador to the United Nations, Dr. Dore Gold, feels that the UN undermines international peace and security. Internationally renowned expert on terror financing, Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld, accuses the UN of corruption and financing terrorism. Baroness Caroline Cox, Deputy Speaker of the British House of Lords is deeply concerned about the UN's failure in the Darfur region of Sudan.
All three aired their views at the second annual Jerusalem Summit whose stated goal is to develop a Council of Civilizations, intended to serve as a practical alternative to the UN.
The three-day gathering was sponsored by the Michael Chernoy Foundation, a Tel Aviv based entity financed by aluminum mogul Chernoy who also directs a large portion of his money to assisting victims of terror and assisting new immigrants from the former Soviet Union.
Representatives of twelve civilizations were brought to Jerusalem by the Chernoy Foundation to form the nucleus of the Council of Civilizations.
They included Luis Lacalle Herrera, former president of Uruguay; Rep. Bob Beauprez (R-CO); Ana Palacio, former Foreign Minister of Spain; General Mansour Abu Rashid from Jordan; Rev. Dr. Kenneth Meshoe, a South African Member of Parliament and a host of prominent American media figures including talk show hosts John Batchelor and Dennis Prager and National Review editor David Pryce-Jones.
According to Jerusalem Summit director, Dmitry Radyshevsky, the Council's focus will be to "provide a venue for constructive engagement built on universal ethical principles."
Radyshevsky believes that Jerusalem is the logical place for the Council "since it's the only place that commands the respect and awe of the majority of the world's nations and its three major religions."
"We hope to restore Jerusalem's status not only as a religious but as an intellectual center of the world," he added.
Summit academic director, Dr. Martin Sherman, professor of Political Science at Tel Aviv University, presented the most controversial idea of the conference.
Presenting the results of a poll commissioned by the Jerusalem Summit but carried out by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion, Sherman told the audience that 70 percent of Arabs surveyed said that they would emigrate if they were offered one or more material inducements. A guarantee of a good job abroad, high standard housing or substantial financial compensation were specified.
Additionally, 42 percent of those polled said they have considered emigrating permanently.The survey of 528 adult interviewees was conducted between 15-21 November, 2004 in the West Bank and carries a statistical margin of error of 4.5 percent.
Sherman used the data to justify his thesis that political solutions to the Arab-Israeli conflict have brought only suffering to both populations. Sherman called for a redefinition of the Palestinian predicament in humanitarian rather than political terms.
In a 20 page booklet printed and distributed by the Jerusalem Summit, Sherman argues that the humanitarian solution is to help Palestinians achieve a better life by offering financial incentives to realize voluntary relocation in Arab countries.
"The Palestinians arriving at their gates will not be impoverished refugees, but relatively prosperous individuals with saving the equivalent of decades of GNP per capita in their pockets," he writes.
Sherman predicts that for every hundred Palestinians a country absorbs, the economy could count on an influx of around 10-15 million dollars into the private sector.
The basis of Sherman's proposal rests on abandoning the approach of relating to the Palestinians as a collective entity, and substituting a view of them as "tragedy-stricken individuals" to address "the enduring Palestinian humanitarian predicament," he urges.
The proposal, unlikely to get an airing at the UN, Radyshevsky acknowledges, would likely be number one item on the agenda of the Council of Civilizations.