politics to go

Obama team defends support of U.N. slander


At 2:20 pm on Friday afternoon, the anti-Israel team of Barack Obama and John Kerry directed U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power to abstain rather than veto an anti-Israel resolution in the Security Council. Since the abstention allowed the resolution to pass, their action had the same effect as an anti-Israel U.N. vote.

Not only did the Obama directed action in the anti-Israel U.N. vote give the Palestinians a free pass to continue to avoid negotiations, it locks Israel into the 1948 Armistice line and declares Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem occupied Palestinian land. As Security Council resolutions create international law, this means that the Jewish State’s presence in East Jerusalem, commonly known as the “Jewish Quarter,” is illegal. This absurd action ignores the fact Jews have been living in the “Jewish Quarter” since the time of King David, except for the period of 1948–1967 when Jordan kicked out the Jews and destroyed many of the Jewish holy sites in the “Jewish Quarter.”

The resolution also asks U.N. member states not to use Israeli products that were created in the disputed territories. New Zealand, Malaysia, Venezuela and Senegal were co-sponsors of the draft resolution despite the fact that the original sponsor, Egypt, requested that the vote be delayed indefinitely.

In a cynical move, Power followed her abstention by railing against the U.N. for its anti-Israel bias. 

 After the vote, I participated in a White House conference call that included Ned Price, spokesperson for the National Security Council; Ben Rhodes, who in a New York Times magazine interview a few months ago claimed he fooled the press to help sell the Iran deal; Robert Malley, who made a career of trashing Israel and whose dad was a close friend of Yasser Arafat; and longtime John Kerry aide Frank Lowenstein, who is now Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations at the State Department.  

Price, who did most of the talking, denied the contention of an unnamed Israel source that the Obama administration was “abandoning Israel” and that the U.S. was behind the resolution. He added that no administration has been as supportive of Israel as the Obama administration. Price asserted that U.S. opposition to settlement building has always had bi-partisan support — but in truth, that’s not the case. 

Elliot Abrams, Bush 43’s deputy national security adviser for global democracy strategy, wrote in a June 26, 2009 Wall Street Journal commentary that he negotiated a deal between the U.S. and Israel. In the Abrams deal, the Jewish state agreed not build any housing units outside existing communities (no new settlement communities), and the U.S. would not object to the construction in existing communities. It was only after the Obama administration refused to acknowledge that agreement that an up-tic in housing units began.

In August 2009, Prime Minister Netanyahu announced a ten-month “settlement” freeze. It was approved by the cabinet, implemented on Nov. 25, 2009, and was to run until Sept. 25, 2010. Despite pressure from the United States, the Palestinians refused to join any talks the first 9+ months of the freeze; they did not come to the negotiation table till September 2010, three weeks before the freeze ended. The same administrat sAn Al-Jazeera report on Oct. 11, 2010 revealed that Netanyahu was willing to extend the ten-month settlement freeze he unilaterally implemented, if the Palestinian Authority would recognize Israel as the Jewish state. Netanyahu made a similar offer in May 2011, when he spoke before Congress. Each time, Palestinian President Abbas rejected the offer outright.

If settlements were such an important issue to President Obama, why was there no follow-up? Does President Obama not accept that Israel is a Jewish state (as outlined in the original partition document, UN 181)? And why are settlements such a big issue for this administration anyway? During the Bush 43’s reign there was construction and negotiation at the same time; only after Obama made it an issue did it become a Palestinian negotiation pre-condition.

It seems that the Obama administration has been trying to delegitimize the Jewish state for as long as it’s been in power, ignoring previous U.S.-Israel deals, publicly berating Israel at every opportunity, leaving Israel’s prime minister to sit and stew with the Israeli delegation in a White House conference room for an hour because they wouldn’t capitulate to the president’s demands, and even blaming Israel and American Jews for pushing the U.S. into the Iraq war while he was trying to sell the disastrous Iran deal. Before this president criticized Russia for (in his opinion) trying to skew the American election toward Donald Trump, he sent some of his political advisers to Israel and allowed the State Department to spend money in an attempt to defeat Netanyahu in Israel’s most recent election.

With all that in mind, why is anybody surprised by President Obama’s abstention?

Certainly not New York Senator Charles Schumer, who in January will become the Senate minority leader, making him the most powerful Democrat in the federal government.

“It is extremely frustrating, disappointing and confounding that the Administration has failed to veto this resolution,” Schumer said. “Whatever one’s views are on settlements, the U.N. is the wrong forum to settle these issues. The U.N. has been a fervently anti-Israel body since the days of ‘Zionism is racism’ and, unfortunately, that fervor has never diminished. Knowing this, past administrations — both Democrat and Republican — have protected Israel from the vagaries of this biased institution. Unfortunately, this administration has not followed in that path and its actions will move us further from peace in the Middle East.”

Allowing the U.N. Security Council to slander Israel cannot be easily undone by the Trump administration. The only way to overturn a U.N. Security Council resolution is another U.N. Security Council resolution. Since Russia and China each have a veto, that is very unlikely to happen.

President Obama vetoed a similar Security Council resolution about a year ago. But there is a major difference between the two votes. This vote occurred after the presidential election and almost two years before the mid-term elections. Obama is cynically counting on the fact that the major Jewish donors to the Democratic Party, as well as the traditional Democratic voting bloc of Jewish voters, will forget this action before the next election. Sadly, he is probably correct.