Azerbaijan betrays Israel at the UN

For three decades, the government of Israel and Jewish-American leaders have been showering Azerbaijan with excessive and undeserved praise for its alleged tolerance for its Jewish community and friendship with Israel. There have been several visits by Israeli leaders and prominent Jewish-Americans to Baku, glorifying the government of Azerbaijan and flaunting the special affinity between them.

This is hypocrisy of the highest form. The truth is that relations between Azerbaijan and Israel have nothing to do with the treatment of Jews in Baku. The two countries are basically engaged in mutual exploitation, ignoring all humanitarian and ethical concerns. Azerbaijan has purchased billions of dollars of advanced lethal weapons from Israel in exchange for the sale of Azeri oil to Israel, which imports 40 percent of its oil from Azerbaijan. It is disgraceful that descendants of the Holocaust are arming Azerbaijan to kill survivors of the Armenian Genocide for a fistful of dollars!

Israel has two other reasons for maintaining good relations with Azerbaijan. The first is Israel’s interest in gathering intelligence on Iran and having access to Azerbaijan’s airfields in case of an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear stockpile. This is probably what Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev meant when he compared his country’s relations with Israel to an iceberg: “Nine-tenths of it is below the surface.” Israel’s second reason is to cultivate good relations with a Muslim country, given the Arab-Israeli conflict and its isolation from the Muslim world. However, in light of the recent rapprochement between Israel and several Arab nations, the value of Azerbaijan to Israel in this regard is diminishing.

On the other hand, Azerbaijan expects to maximize its political interests in the United States by benefiting from the influence of Israel and Jewish-Americans in Washington, to counter the Armenian-American lobby.

Nevertheless, Azerbaijan and Israel are concealing some of the irritants in their relationship. First of all, Israel opened its Embassy in Baku in 1993, whereas Azerbaijan has refused to open its Embassy or even a Consulate in Israel, out of concern for its relations with Arab and Muslim nations, particularly Iran. This fact alone belies the supposed friendly relations between the two countries.

Another contradiction is Azerbaijan’s anti-Israel votes and speeches at the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Azerbaijan’s most recent critical action of Israel occurred at the United Nations Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, Switzerland on March 18, 2021.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a frequent apologist for Azerbaijan, quickly condemned the Azeri representative’s remarks at the UN by harshly accusing Azerbaijan of committing “a virtual ‘blood-libel’ against the Jewish state.”

Speaking on item 7 of the Council’s agenda, “human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories,” Shahriyar Hajiyev, Third Secretary at the Permanent Mission of Azerbaijan to the UN in Geneva, gave a three-minute speech on March 18, in which he severely criticized the treatment of Palestinians by the State of Israel. Here is what he said:

“I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) [Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev is the Chairman of the movement which is composed of 120 countries].

“For many years, the Non-Aligned Movement has maintained a firm position of solidarity with the Palestinian people and their just cause, and the condemnation of massive, flagrant and systematic violations of human rights and of international humanitarian law committed by Israel.

“The NAM also underscores the need to continue providing political, economic and humanitarian support to assist the Palestinian people and to bolster their resilience and efforts aimed at achieving their legitimate national aspirations, including their inalienable right to self-determination and freedom in their independent State of Palestine.

“We recognize and commend the efforts of the United Nations and its agencies and particularly the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees in the Near East and the Committee of Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian people. The Movement encourages continuation of their support. The NAM takes note with appreciation of the report of the Secretary General presented to the 43rd Session of the Human Rights Council on the Israeli settlements in the occupied Syrian Golan.

“The NAM expresses its grave concern at the continuing Israeli settlement policy and related activities, including the expansion of settlements, the expropriation of land, the demolition of houses, and the confiscation and destruction of property, which has changed the physical character and demographic composition of the occupied territories and the occupied Syrian Golan.

“The General Assembly, the Security Council and the Human Rights Council have all confirmed that the construction and expansion of Israeli settlements and other related activities in the occupied Palestinian Territory and the occupied Syrian Golan are illegal under international law. The NAM is also deeply concerned over numerous UN official reports, particularly by the recent report of the Secretary General, which have reaffirmed the continued human rights violations of the Palestinian people by Israeli force, throughout the occupied State of Palestine.

“In this regard, the NAM urges the international community to exert its pressure in order to cease immediately the continuation of this illegal trend by Israel which is a blatant violation of international law.

“Furthermore, the NAM strongly believes that Israel, as the occupying power, has to be held accountable for its continued grave and systematic violations of both international human rights law and international humanitarian law in all occupied Arab territories, including Syrian Golan.

“The NAM emphasizes that Israel, as the occupying power, should immediately release all Palestinian prisoners, particularly children and women. It should also cease serious violations of international law and fully lift the blockade of Gaza to remedy the ongoing punitive measures against the civilian population and release Palestinian children in detention in accordance with international standards, in particular the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

“In conclusion, the NAM extends its full support to the Government of the State of Palestine in its ongoing efforts to put an end to the occupation of the land of the State of Palestine and realize the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.”

It is ironic that the Simon Wiesenthal Center officials, after years of kowtowing to Azerbaijan, repeatedly visiting that country, and praising it as a close friend of Israel, are now complaining about Baku’s harsh criticism of Israel. I hope Jewish and Israeli leaders realize that they have been fooled by Azerbaijan all these years and learn the valuable lesson that a wolf in sheep’s clothing cannot be trusted. They should also realize that, as the saying goes, when you go to bed with dogs, you wake up with fleas. Israeli and Jewish officials do not seem to have learned anything from their experience of being deceived by Turkey. After decades of backing Turkey, even going as far as shamefully blocking the congressional recognition of the Armenian Genocide, Israeli and Jewish officials are now accusing Turkey of anti-Semitism and hostility to Israel. Armenians kept warning them for years, to no avail, not to trust Turkey and that they will be stabbed in the back when they least suspect it. In this vulgar game of mutual exploitation, Israelis and Jewish Americans got the short end of the stick. The same thing is happening now in their relations with Azerbaijan. It will only get worse, unless they quickly come to their senses.

Not everything should be measured by oil, weapons and money. There is something much more valuable, like humanity, justice and truthfulness, than financial gain and self-interest. But in this selfish world, it is too much to expect such decent behavior!

Harut Sassounian

Harut Sassounian

California Courier Editor
Harut Sassounian is the publisher of The California Courier, a weekly newspaper based in Glendale, Calif. He is the president of the Armenia Artsakh Fund, a non-profit organization that has donated to Armenia and Artsakh $917 million of humanitarian aid, mostly medicines, since 1989 (including its predecessor, the United Armenian Fund). He has been decorated by the presidents of Armenia and Artsakh and the heads of the Armenian Apostolic and Catholic churches. He is also the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.


  1. For a much more nuanced view of the current situation between Armenia-Azerbaijan & Israel I suggest interested readers read also the comprehensive article of Daniel Edelstein of March 10.2021 in titled ” Potential gain for Israel after Azerbaijan victory”. I find it more fair & balanced for all parties and deals with “realpolitik” of the region

  2. Why doesn’t Armenia recognize Palestine? After all there is an Armenian minority in Palestine with a special Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem. Palestinians welcomed us and never sided with attacks on Armenia or Armenians. In fact, Armenian liberation movements trained with Palestine liberation movements in the 70s and 80s, such as ASALA. Israel, on the other hand, holds close military relations with Turkey and Azerbaijan, and funds their latest attacks on Armenians. Why should we maintain the status quo with Israel when the relationship is not reciprocal?

    • I think Armenia generally does. It votes against Israel in UN Resolutions. But the PA have never formally recognised the Armenian Genocide. If they do, Turkey will back lash at them. Erdogan is ok with this. You have to remember that most Turks are Kemalist at heart. So they will criticise Palestinians all across the media. This is also the reason why Erdogan is in power. He is more islamist than secular. In fact he like the Ottomans more than Ataturk but he praises Attaturk just to blend in and get votes. Either way, if youre a kemalist you will not like the Armenian genocide being mentioned; as Ataturk brushed it under the carpet. Whereas pro Ottomans will try to justify it and say Armenian rebels killed so many Kurdish and Turkish muslims ( I doubt thats entirely true, as peaceful Assyrian christians were also persecuted).

  3. It is very interesting and devastating at the same time like it was mentioned in the article how the survivors of the holocaust are selling weapons to Azerbaijan, which continues the Turkish dream for centuries that is ending their job, leaving only one Armenian in the museum. After this war, we should consider that Azerbaijan has a longer border with Iran, and in the case of the cold war, Israel can use the territory of Azerbaijan for treating Iran. On the other hand, Azerbaijan benefits from Israel buying modern UAV s and other weapons. At first sight, the relationship between Israel and Azerbaijan is straightforward, and they should be close allies. But we should consider another side of the same coin. As they have many shared interests in the region, Azerbaijan and Israel may disagree about certain aspects. Armenia should use its international relations to influence more on their brotherhood. Armenia should become a country that will be more trustable than Azerbaijan for Israel. Definitely, we can be good friends neither with Azerbaijan nor with Israel, but I think we can be like we are. We should make them take into account our opinion and make Israel feel the wrongness of its actions by selling weapons to the country that use them on peaceful citizens.

  4. I am not surprised. They are anti semites that actually support Israel. But why its funny how Azerbaijan and Turkey still refrained from voting against Israel in the in the recent UN investigation on Israel. I think the muslim world needs to rethink the silence of the Armenian genocide and see who is the real threat to the religion as a whole and even to the Palestinian cause.It may seem that Armenia is anti islamic. BUT THATS NOT THE CASE IF YOU STUDY HISTORY! Its actually Turkey, Azerbaijan and Iran. Even if Yair Lapid lives to be the prime minister of Israel, the right wing in the Knesset will always vote the recognition of the Armenian genocide.

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