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Who Should Replace the Saudis at the UN Security Council?

So perhaps, in the interest of integrity, Saudi Arabia would care to recommend as an alternate a country that has done more and sacrificed more for the cause of peace in the Middle East than all the other countries of the Middle East combined, as well as the UN itself. How about recommending that Israel, the only truly functional democracy in the Middle East, fill the vacant seat?

It is thanks to the Israelis that the world -- including Saudi Arabia -- has been spared a Syrian regime with a full-bore nuclear program; in 2007 the Israelis took upon themselves the risk of destroying the Assad regime's nearly completed clandestine reactor, built with the help of North Korea. It was the Israelis who in 1981 destroyed Saddam Hussein's Osirak reactor, quite likely sparing the world -- including the Saudis -- a nuclear-armed Iraq. In a neighborhood rife with hostile and terror-spawning despotisms, it is the Israelis who have tried over and over to walk a line toward peace -- withdrawing from Lebanon in 2000, Gaza in 2005, and trying cope with a "Palestinian cause" that can be summed up by the PLO logo featured to this day on the web site of the Palestinian Authority's Mission to the UN, depicting a map from which Israel has been erased. While Saudi Arabia boycotted the General Assembly annual opening debate last month, it was Israel whose leader squarely addressed a threat that also deeply worries the Saudis -- the threat of a nuclear-weapons-seeking Iran.

There were reports earlier this month that Israel, which has never held a seat on the Security Council, will be campaigning for a seat for 2019-2020. If the Saudi aim is to pressure the UN Security Council toward dropping its double standards and stepping up as a genuine defender of international peace and security, surely the obvious candidate to fill that empty seat is Israel. Indeed, though the bigotry of the African and Asia-Pacific states means that Israel has been left to align itself with the voting bloc known as the "Western European and Others Group," geographically Israel belongs to the "African and Asia-Pacific states" that combined to produce the slate on which Saudi Arabia ran for a seat.

Not that Saudi Arabia, or the UN General Assembly, is about to do anything of the kind for Israel. We live in the real world. Any prospect of Israel replacing Saudi Arabia in a Security Council seat these next two years would probably send the UN into terminal shock (which, in itself, might do wonders for world peace). But if anyone really cares about ending those double standards, reforming the UN and giving peace and security a chance, this is the obvious move.


What books does Claudia Rosett recommend for 2013? Click here to see her picks at the Freedom Academy Book Club.