Michael Oren on the Obama-Kerry Betrayal of Israel

An Israeli youth wrapped in a national flag prays at the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City on Jerusalem Day May 20, 2012. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside/Files

Never has a weary region looked on with such dismay. The Middle East is burning: hundreds of thousands killed, millions displaced. The Russians are back, the Iranians are all over the place — and the Obama administration’s priority is a few thousand Jews living in their own homeland.

In his latest op-ed, appended below, Michael Oren argues that the initiators of Friday’s UN resolution weren’t looking to advance a two-state solution. Instead, they sought to imperil and isolate Israel diplomatically and, ultimately, deny it the right to exist as a sovereign Jewish state.

When the U.N. Security Council passed its resolution Friday denouncing Israel’s presence in territories it captured in 1967, many ambassadors broke out in applause. The decision, they believed, would deter Israel from further settlement building, advance the peace process, and help achieve a two-state solution. The Middle East and the world would benefit. But, sadly, those expectations—and the ovation they sparked—were misplaced.

The resolution in fact poses untold dangers not only to Israel but to the Palestinians themselves, and greatly diminishes—rather than enhances—the chances for peace. It further harms the Middle East, a region that has seen far too much suffering, and should unnerve America’s allies worldwide.

The hazards for Israel are clear. The resolution means the Western Wall and other places sacred to Jews for 3,000 years are considered as illegally occupied. It labels 600,000 Israelis as “flagrant violators of international law.” As such, Israel could be sued in international criminal courts, boycotted, and sanctioned. The goal of the initiators of the resolution was not to achieve a better two-state solution, I believe, but to deny Israel the right to defend itself and, ultimately, the right to exist as sovereign Jewish state.

The resolution has already strengthened those in Israel who reject the two-state formula and call for formal annexation of much of the West Bank. The reasoning is such: “If the U.N. is already branding us criminals for merely settling these territories,” they ask, “why shouldn’t we go ahead and annex them?”

Ironically, though, and tragically, the resolution also hurts the Palestinians. For eight years now, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has refused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s offer to start direct talks immediately without preconditions. But if America and the U.N. are already ganging up on Israel, what incentive will the Palestinians have to negotiate?

Rather, they will continue to follow Abbas’s plan to avoid talks while delegitimizing Israel in world forums. Israel will survive this legal onslaught much as it did the military offensives of the past and continue to thrive. The Palestinians, by contrast, will remain stateless.

The resolution will also harm the Middle East. A strong Israel is virtually all that stands between the Sunni Arab states and the radical jihadists in Iran and ISIS. The Security Council vote will undoubtedly reinforce those radicals and embolden them to mount further attacks not only against the Jewish State but also against its Arab neighbors. Meanwhile, the absence of peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians will further exacerbate regional instability. And the long-tormented peoples of the Middle East will receive an unequivocal message from the U.N.: the massacre of more than half a million Arabs in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen is unimportant. All that matters is Jews living and praying in their homeland.

Finally, the resolution impairs the American credibility so vital to the world. By violating the longstanding U.S. policy that rejected any alternative—especially from the U.N.—to direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, the Obama administration has cast doubts on the reliability of American commitments. More disturbingly, by abstaining from voting on the resolution, in effect abandoning its only democratic Middle Eastern ally, the U.S. has called into question its dependability to its other friends. No American ally should rest easily.

The U.N., which never condemned the Arab states that occupied the West Bank and Gaza before 1967, never denounced the exclusion of Jews from their holiest sites in Jerusalem for 19 years before that, and overlooked Palestinian incitement to terror, has once again shown the vastness of its hypocrisy. That double standard is hardly new and cannot add to the international organization’s discredit.

Yet the damage inflicted by this latest Security Council resolution may be unprecedented. Israel will once again have to defend itself, the Palestinians will refuse to talk, and peace will be ever more remote. The future of the Middle East will become more hopeless yet and America’s vital friendships around the world will be weakened.

Now is the time to start repairing. Israelis must be told that they are not illegal occupiers of their ancestral home and protected from hostile international courts. The Palestinians must be dissuaded from trying to end-run the peace process and compelled to return unconditionally to the negotiating table. Middle Eastern peoples must be assured that the world cares about them, and freedom-loving nations must regain confidence in the defender of the free world.

All of this will require bold American leadership. In 1975, the same U.N. equated Zionism—the national liberation movement of the Jewish people—with racism. Sixteen years later, thanks to the efforts of President George H.W. Bush, that pernicious resolution was revoked. History teaches us that such injustices can be corrected and that, with courage, the worst of the U.N.’s outrages can be rectified.

Michael B. Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the United States from 2009 to 2013, is currently a member of the Knesset and the deputy minister for diplomacy in the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office.

This entry was posted in 2016 Election, Islamic Terror, IslamoNazis, Israel, Jerusalem, Jerusalem Denial, Jew-haters, Jew-hatred and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.

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12 Comments

  1. sennacherib
    Posted December 30, 2016 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    There is a chance (oooh I’m gonna catch it for this) that the Obama/Kerry performance may turn out to be wonderful for Israel and for US domestic politics (when it comes to the US Jewish faction). The initial results seem to be a big discussion of the issue in a way that those two jackasses did not intend. Rather it seems to highlight the deceitfulness and animus of those two and their administration to Israel, the failure of Obama/Kerry foreign policy, and the in general ineptness of the two. Something I’m willing to bet they didn’t anticipate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted December 30, 2016 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      You are correct. The law of unintended consequences. However, we must also consider the potentially awful repercussions of the UN vote in terms of BDS and Israelis being brought to the Hague as war criminals.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • sennacherib
        Posted December 30, 2016 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

        Robert,
        It might just do the same for the BDS boys and the UN. It’s high time that the UN got called for being the social club of nastys and clueless liberals that it is. I really do think we should seriously consider leaving the thing and at the least significantly cut our funding. I’ll tell you this, kick the rotten legs out from under the UN and the Hague Court, BDS, Pallys Inc, and etal would lose a lot of their luster and what little power that they think they have,

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  2. GetThereJustAsSoon
    Posted December 29, 2016 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Before this past week, I had hoped that we had seen the worst of this administration. No longer. Their malicious, evil deeds have now defined them for all time. Maybe, the Trump administration, with Congress getting onboard, can move quickly to rectify matters.

    Michael Oren has many good point, not the least of which is just where does America stand.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  3. Kevin Aldrich
    Posted December 29, 2016 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    The US abstention and Kerry’s speech a month before Obama’s tenure ends are so bizarre.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    • Larry
      Posted December 29, 2016 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      I don’t find it bizarre. I think it’s an intentional parting shot by the Muslim-preferring regime and its lackeys entirely in keeping with previous behavior. The attention and distraction intended to sidetrack the issues and focus on the lies is completely understandable. Because all the raising of pros and cons and finger pointing will go on unabated otherwise, I favor simply withdrawing from the UN. That action is so thorough as to flummox the whole intention. Then, negotiate independently with friends and identify the intentions of the rest so there remains no uncertainty who is who.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

      • Barry
        Posted December 29, 2016 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

        Not only withdrawing from the UN but destroying it.

        I read a comment fro a Brooklyn based politic called Dov Hikind, or something similar, and I believe Robert knows him, about what a disgrace it is to be a member of the Democratic Party. He can do more than whine about it. Not a guy I relate to at all.

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

        • Robert J. Avrech
          Posted December 29, 2016 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

          Barry:

          Dov is our cousin. He is a Conservative but has to run as a Democrat in order to get elected. Dov is a wonderful man who always has Israel’s back.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

          • Barry
            Posted December 29, 2016 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

            Robert,
            I don’t doubt he is a good man, but — and without any understanding of the local political reality, why does he have to run as a Democrat. That is surely a sin. Republican or Independent works. Don’t the people understand that, in any way, shape or form, the democrats are their enemy?

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

            • Barry
              Posted December 30, 2016 at 8:36 am | Permalink

              What I neglected to write is –Princi0ple should be placed far ahead of pragmatism every day of everyone’s life, but especially in the political arena.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

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