I wish I could have just talked to you about the joyous news from the Middle East of Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men this Christmas season. But President Obama and the UN have forced me to talk instead about their shocking betrayal of Israel.
Last week, with just a few weeks left in his term, Obama had UN Ambassador Samantha Power abstain rather than veto a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as a “flagrant violation of international law.” (Yes, with all the brutal violence, death and terrorism roiling the Middle East, that’s how the UN “Security” Council is occupying its time.)
In refusing to veto that outrageous resolution, Obama basically extended a final farewell wave to Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu, using only his middle finger. This is the most amazing position he could have taken. One Israeli official accused Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry of being behind a "shameful move against Israel" that breaks decades of US policy.
This is an insult not just to Israel but to every person who loves freedom. When people use the term "settlements," it brings to mind images of tents or mobile homes. These "settlements" are permanent communities and neighborhoods, with shops, schools, synagogues, streets and permanent structures where people live and raise their families. Judea and Sumaria belong to Israel; they are its ancient and God-given boundaries. Obama is even saying that the Western Wall should be part of territory that's given back.
Charles Krauthammer (who said the US "joined the jackals" with this abstention) notes that this resolution allows any Jew who lives in the "Jewish Quarter" of Jerusalem, so called because it's been inhabited by the Jewish people for a thousand years, to be hauled into court and charged with breaking international law. This in effect puts a UN stamp of approval on the 19-year period following the Arab invasion of Israel in 1948 when Jordan occupied the Jewish quarter. Israel took it back in the Six Day War. The UN now certifies that brief period of occupation as the true state of how things should be, not the ten centuries that came before nor the half-century since. This is so beyond anything we've seen in the past 40 years, it's just insane.
Many experts are saying that once this resolution is passed, it will have deep repercussions that can't be rolled back. But thankfully, President-elect Trump tweeted, “At the UN, things will be different after Jan. 20th.” Donald Trump knows that money talks. Immediately upon taking office, he should say that we aren't going to spend one more penny funding the UN if they're going to keep doing frankly idiotic things that demonize Israel and undermine any hope of peace (Republicans in Congress are already writing up proposed legislation to do just that). Although personally, I hope the first thing Trump does is utilize his experience in building demolition by sending some jackhammers over to Turtle Bay to chop the whole UN off into the East River.
For the past few years under this Administration, we've been kissing the backside of the Iranians and kicking the backside of the only real, true friend we have in the Middle East, the only democracy in the region and the only nation that respects human rights. Someone please explain how that makes sense, even in the fog of insanity we often see in the diplomatic world. No real peace is ever going to be achieved by kowtowing to nations like Iran, the world's #1 state sponsor of terrorism.
When Obama was running for reelection, he voiced empty rhetoric about how he would always have Israel's back. He kept up that rhetoric when he was trying to get Hillary Clinton elected to continue his all-talk policies. Now that that's a lost cause and the exit door is looming, he doesn't have to worry about alienating the Democratic Jewish vote, so he pulls this last-minute betrayal. It's a clear indication that no matter what he says, Obama clearly is not supportive of the free and democratic process of peace that lives in Israel right now. (Then again, remember how his associates tried to "interfere" in Benjamin Netanyahu's reelection.)
The stunned reaction to this appalling abandonment of our #1 ally is not partisan, it's just common sense. What coherent policy involves embracing a hostile state whose legislators regularly chant "Death to America" while giving the back of our hand to our one true friend in the region? Or siding with those who think Israel has no right to protect itself from those sworn to its destruction or to insure its own people live in safety? The anger is shared by critics across the political spectrum, from John McCain and Lindsay Graham to Chuck Schumer. Even former DNC head Debbie Wasserman Schultz called it a "reckless," "one-sided, anti-Israel resolution" that she "condemned in the strongest terms."
That's because it is an example of a word that the left has overused so much that it's almost lost its meaning, but in this case, it genuinely applies.
It is an outrage.