On November 10, 1976, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a Resolution declaring that "Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination." Seventy-two votes were recorded in favor of the Resolution, and 35 against. There were 32 abstentions, and three countries-Romania, South Africa and Spain-for different reasons, were recorded as absent.
The Resolution attracted a great deal of attention, and has been much used to attack both Zionism and the United Nations. In the Soviet and Arab camps the Resolution was regarded as constituting formal condemnation, before the tribunal of mankind, of Zionism and of the state which it established. In other quarters it was regarded as evidence of the decline and fall of the United Nations.
The Resolution was not an isolated phenomenon, but part of a continuing process. The campaign to secure a U.N. condemnation of Zionism1 was launched at the World Conference of the International Women's Year held in Mexico City in late June and early July 1975; the "Declaration on the Equality of Women" issued on that occasion repeatedly stresses the share of women in the struggle against neocolonialism, foreign occupation, Zionism, racism, racial discrimination and apartheid.2 On October 17 the Third Committee of the General Assembly-concerned with social, humanitarian and cultural affairs-agreed by a substantial majority that Zionism was a form of racism and called upon the General Assembly to do likewise. This was duly done, and the Resolution made the basis for a series of further condemnations in different agencies and at various meetings of the United Nations, most recently at the Habitat conference in Canada.
An inquiry into the Resolution, its genesis and its consequences, might begin with the double question: How much truth is there in the charge that Zionism is a form of racism? How much truth is there in the countercharge leveled by some Zionists and some of their friends that the Resolution is a thinly disguised form of anti-Semitism and is itself a return to the racial politics of Nazi Germany
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