Crowds in Tel Aviv celebrate the UN’s vote for partition in 1947. (Government Press Office, Jerusalem

Israel is celebrating 70 years since the historic November 29, 1947 UN vote that called for the establishment of a Jewish State in the Land of Israel.

Dignitaries from around the world, senior UN officials, ambassadors and leaders from the pro-Israel community joined Israel’s Mission to the UN, in partnership with the World Jewish Congress, to celebrate 70 years since the historic November 29, 1947 United Nations vote on Resolution 181 that called for the establishment of a Jewish State in the Land of Israel.

The event, initiated by Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon, took place in the Queens Museum, which served as UN headquarters in 1947 when the historic vote took place.

The event commemorating the momentous vote was attended by US Vice President Michael Pence, who served as the guest of honor and keynote speaker, US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and over 60 UN ambassadors, including representatives of the 33 states who voted in favor of the resolution, senior diplomats and Jewish community leaders from around the world.  Israel’s Minister of Transportation and  Minister of Intelligence Israel Katz represented the Israeli government.

“Seventy years ago, in this very room, in these very seats where you are sitting today, the dream of the Jewish people of 2,000 years came true,” Danon said at the celebration. “In 1897 Theodor Herzl dreamed of the impossible, in 1947 the Jewish people realized the impossible and today 2017, seventy years later, the modern State of Israel has made the impossible, possible,” the Ambassador continued. “From this day onward, for the next seventy years and beyond, Israel will continue to be a beacon of democracy, a powerhouse of innovation and a light unto the nations.”

Speaking of the special bond between the US and Israel, Pence said that “as we speak, President Trump is actively considering when and how to move the American Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. And President Trump is also committed to finally bring peace to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As President Trump has said, ‘we want Israel to have peace,’ and in recent months, we have made valuable progress toward that noble goal. And while compromise will be necessary, you can rest assured – President Trump will never compromise the safety and security of the Jewish State of Israel. President Trump has made clear that under this administration, America once again stands with our allies and stands up to our enemies.”

During the event, the Queens Museum was reorganized to look like its original state as the UN General Assembly Hall in 1947, including replicas of the tables, chairs, the UN podium and map backdrop. A special audio-visual reenactment of the historic vote was projected in the hall and the traditional Hora dance was performed following the vote’s “approval.”

‘Let Us Learn a Lesson from 1947’

Addressing the participants, World Jewish Congress (WJC) President Ronald Lauder noted, “In 1947, the Jewish people accepted the division of their ancestral land in order to live side by side with their Arab neighbors… . They understood the realities of living in a new era, and they accepted that they could not have it all. But the Arab people did not. They did not accept the partition in 1947, and 70 years later, too many still do not accept it.”

Speaking of the anti-Israel bias and double standards that have spread through the UN, Lauder said “let us learn a lesson from 1947. Seventy years ago, countries on every continent with no vested interested, voted for partition, not for political reasons, not for economic reasons, and not out of self-interest. They voted to create the modern State of Israel because it was the right thing to do. It is my hope, my strongest desire, that rather than use this organization to cast votes based on political lies and deceit, countries actually do what is right. They can use Israel as a reference point.”

Israel’s plans for the celebration were almost derailed when the Queens Museum rescinded its agreement to host the event in August, caving in to the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanction) movement.

Following Danon’s protests and public pressure, the Queens Museum reversed its decision to renege on its earlier agreement, permitting the event to be hosted as planned.