Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan, 2017. (AP/Ariel Schalit, FILE) (AP/Ariel Schalit, FILE)
Gilad Erdan

A motion promoting agritech in developing countries passed 140-1. Syria was the sole no vote despite the suffering of its people and the dire need for the innovation.

By Pesach Benson, United With Israel

It’s extremely rare for Israel to score diplomatic victories in the United Nations General Assembly. With 193 countries and no protective US veto power, the Palestinians enjoy what Israelis refer to as “an automatic majority.”

So it’s worth savoring Tuesday’s General Assembly vote for an Israeli resolution promoting agricultural technology in developing countries and areas stricken by famine or drought. The resolution gives those countries access to advanced sustainable agricultural technologies. The resolution is a result of Israeli advancements in agritech. The UNGA will vote on the resolution a second time in December.

The resolution was easily passed on Tuesday by a vote of 140-1 with 34 abstentions. More impressively, however, 135 countries partnered with Israel in cosponsoring the resolution.

Syria was the sole no vote, claiming that Israel has no moral authority to present a resolution because of “atrocities it has committed against the Palestinian and Syrian people.”

Iran dodged the vote, with a representative saying, “We don’t recognize the so-called state of Israel. So we didn’t vote against or in favor of this resolution.”

A Palestinian representative quoted by the Jerusalem Post also spoke against the resolution, insisting that Jewish pioneers making the desert bloom was a false narrative. “From the river to the sea, Palestine itself was not a desert before the Nakba,” he claimed.

Most Arab countries abstained on the vote, including some with which Israel has some level of diplomatic relations — Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan. Morocco was absent from the vote.

‘Antisemitic and Petty’

In a statement following the vote, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan stressed the importance of agritech, expressed his appreciation for the widespread cooperation and rebuked Syria and Iran’s stance as “antisemitic” and “petty.”

“Since the onset of COVID-19, agricultural production and distribution have suffered heavy blows. This has caused food prices to rise, increasing global hunger and poverty. Meanwhile, as sea levels rise and weather becomes more extreme, climate change is destroying the futures of farmers around the globe. This new reality not only threatens small or developing countries, but rather the entire international community as a collective. And this resolution addresses these hardships by highlighting the potential of innovation,” Erdan said.

“Unfortunately, this resolution did not pass by consensus. Despite its importance, there are still member states, such as Syria and Iran, who chose not to support it out of antisemitism and contempt. These member states chose hate and petty politics over the betterment of humankind. Voting against a resolution, simply because it was proposed by Israel, was more important for them than voting for a brighter future for their citizens.”

Israel innovation has led to breakthroughs in the way technology, such as artificial intelligence and drones, leads to more efficient farming, larger crop yields, water conservation and better food security.

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