If you make your home in New York or commute into and out of the city, you know that the United Nations is in session. You can tell because the usually horrendous traffic that clogs streets and avenues during normal business hours extends to intersections, making driving a headache and pedestrian travel downright life-threatening.
It is ironic that so many motor vehicle engines are in perpetual idle, which uses more gas and ultimately spills more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, because the centerpiece of this session of the U.N. is a summit on the climate and how to save the planet from death by global warming.
As though the U.N. weren’t a joke to start with, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon went out of his way to make the climate summit even sillier by appointing noted climatologist Leonardo di Caprio the official “U.N. Messenger of Peace” for climate change, calling him a “credible voice in the environmental movement.”
This accolade comes as no surprise. The loudest voices in the environmental movement — which include those of Al Gore and Barack Obama — tend to be people with no background in science whatsoever. (Yes, there are real scientists who claim that climate change is a crisis, but there are also many who say the models used don’t provide enough historical data to make any kind of long-term claim.)
But there is another aspect to the current U.N. session that has gone unnoticed by the bulk of the media, and that is the timing of the event. This year, the General Debate, which begins tomorrow and runs for a week, coincides with the Jewish high holiday of Rosh Hashanah. The holiday, one of the most sacred on the Jewish calendar, begins at sundown Wednesday.
In 2011, the Jewish magazine Tablet ran a piece on the burden that year’s session, the 66th, placed on Israeli diplomats, who had a choice of working on a day of sacred observance or not participating. The message from the U.N. seems to be “tough.”
Good thing the annual session never coincides with Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan. No telling what would happen if members of the Arab delegations felt slighted.
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