Becker, Raphael N., Arye L. Hillman, Niklas Potrafke, and Alexander H. Schwemmer. “The Preoccupation of the United Nations with Israel: Evidence and Theory.” Review of International Organizations (early view; online first).
We compiled data on all United Nations General Assembly resolutions on which voting took place between January 1990 and June 2013 and find a preoccupation with one country: in 65 % of instances in which a country is criticized in a resolution, the country is Israel, with no other country criticized in more than 10% of resolutions. We use comparative quantitative criteria to confirm that Israel is subject to discrimination. To explain the motives for discrimination, we present a model of behavioral political economy that includes decoy voting, vanity of autocrats, and a Schelling focal point for deflection of criticism. The model includes a role for traditional prejudice. Our conclusions more generally concern political culture in the United Nations.