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The United Nations General Assembly declared that “Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination” on this date in 1975 by a vote of 72 to 35, with 32 abstentions. The resolution was passed one year after PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat addressed the General Assembly for the first time, with a holster on his hip, and charged “the Zionist entity” with “cling[ing] tenaciously to occupied Arab territory.” Resolution 3379 took note of “the unholy alliance between South African racism and Zionism” and of an Organization of African Unity statement “that the racist regime in occupied Palestine and the racist regime in Zimbabwe and South Africa have a common imperialist origin” — all the while ignoring the fact that Israel had itself been established as a Jewish state by the UN General Assembly. In response, Israeli Ambassador Chaim Herzog pointed to the integration of Arabs into Israeli society (“it is as natural for an Arab to serve in public office in Israel as it is incongruous to think of a Jew serving in any public office in an Arab country”), called the resolution “another manifestation of the bitter. . . anti-Jewish hatred which animates Arab society,” and tore the resolution in half. The “Zionism-is-racism” resolution would be revoked sixteen years later (by resolution 46/86, approved in a 111 to 25 vote, with 13 abstaining) — the only UN resolution ever to be repealed.
“How sad it is to see here a group of nations, many of whom have but recently freed themselves of colonial rule, deriding one of the most noble liberation movements of this century, a movement which not only gave an example of encouragement and determination to the peoples struggling for independence but also actively aided many of them either during the period of preparation for their independence or immediately thereafter.” —Chaim Herzog