The US abstention which allowed UNSC resolution 2334 to be adopted under the UN charter has generated an enormous amount of commentary over the Christmas period. There were those who thought Netanyahu had it coming, and it was about time Israel was called out on its settlements "in Palestinian territories occupied since 1967". For them, the "settlements" were exemplified by those in the West Bank. For too long the Israeli PM had been pandering to the right-wing settler lobby. In fact if you read the mainstream press here, you'd think that it was only Israel's obstinacy in building these settlements in occupied Palestinian land that prevented a two-state solution.
The other side, who thought this was an outrageous betrayal of America's long-standing protection of Israel from the UN's clear and obvious anti-Israel bias, tended to concentrate on the Jerusalem part of the resolution, which states that central icons of Jewish history and culture, such as the Temple Mount and the Western Wall, are actually occupied Palestinian territory.
Of those critical of Netanyahu, David Horovitz is one of the few who allows that the Israeli leader has, at least, some justification for his anger:
Some of Netanyahu’s outrage is well-founded. The entire international community rejects the settlement enterprise and always has — no surprises there. But much of that international community ought at least to demonstrate to the Jewish state some solidarity when it comes to Jerusalem. Netanyahu is understandably aggrieved that those 12 Security Council countries with whom Israel has diplomatic relations voted in favor of a resolution that determines all parts of Jerusalem captured by Israel in the 1967 war to be “occupied Palestinian territory,” and that the US allowed it through.
Elsewhere the anger is clear. Caroline Glick at the Jerusalem Post is as uncompromising as ever For her, the US is betraying not only its Israeli ally, but also its own history as champion of the free world:
Obama’s predecessors’ opposition to the war against Israel at the UN was not merely an expression of their support for Israel. They acted also out of a fealty to US power, which is directly targeted by that war.
It is critical that we understand how this is the case, and why the implications of Resolution 2334 are disastrous to the US itself.
Resolution 2334 is being presented as an “anti-settlement” resolution. But it is not an anti-settlement resolution.
Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and neighborhoods in Jerusalem are being used – as they always have been used – as a means of delegitimizing the Jewish state as a whole, and legitimizing Palestinian terrorists and Islamic terrorists more generally. Resolution 2334 serves to criminalize Israel and its people and to undermine Israel’s right to exist, while embracing Palestinian terrorists and empowering them in their war to annihilate Israel.
America’s historic refusal to countenance such actions at the UN Security was never a purely altruistic position. It was also a stand for American power and the inherent justice of American superpower status and global leadership....
With their automatic majority in the General Assembly and all other UN organs, the Soviets used the Palestinian war against Israel as a proxy for their war against America. After the demise of the Soviet Union, the Islamic bloc, backed by members of the former Soviet bloc, the non-aligned bloc and the Europeans continued their campaign. The only thing that kept them from winning was the US and its Security Council veto.
When Obama chose to lead the anti-Israel lynch mob at the Security Council last week, he did more than deliver the PLO terrorist organization its greatest victory to date against Israel. He delivered a strategic victory to the anti-American forces that seek to destroy the coherence of American superpower status. That is, he carried out a strategic strike on American power.
At Tablet, Liel Leibovitz calls out New Zealand, one of the sponsors of the resolution, for its grotesque hypocrisy:
While the United States made headlines by abstaining from the 14-0 vote, less attention was paid to the resolution’s sponsor—and to the dark history that lies behind a small South Pacific nation’s passionate feelings about a property dispute in the Middle East.
New Zealanders are no strangers to settlements—or to the cavalier denial of the rights of an indigenous people in their historic homeland. Coincidentally or not, this December marks the 153rd anniversary of The New Zealand Settlements Act, which shows that the denial of indigenous rights, and the deliberate destruction of a two-state solution in favor of an illegal land grab, are the bedrock on which the modern state of New Zealand was founded. Given that history, and the current realities of New Zealand’s treatment of its indigenous Maori population, the country’s steering of a UN Security Council resolution pronouncing the Jewish connection to our historic homeland to be illegal passes well into the territory of historical denialism.
Perhaps the most scathing response, though, comes from Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, taking particular aim at Samantha Powers:
All that our U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Powers, is missing is a fiddle. For the duration of the seemingly endless Syrian civil war she has figuratively fiddled while that country burns. Now, with one foot out the door from a tenure that has all but obliterated her once formidable reputation as an anti-genocide activist, she’s decided to kick Israel in the teeth on her way out....
Just imagine, there is a genocide going on for years in the Middle East in general and Syria in particular. It involves ISIS targeting Yazidis and Christians for extermination, and, in Syria, Shia Muslims joining Alawites to exterminate Sunnis. This is the classic definition of genocide where an ethnic group is a target for annihilation.
The genocide has reached fever pitch in December, 2016, just as the Obama Administration, which hasn’t lifted a finger to protect 500,000 Arabs from being slaughtered, is winding down. Aleppo is in the news daily as the world watches the horrors of daily bombings of civilians amid incalculable loss of life.
And what was Samantha Power, the great anti-genocide campaigner doing while Aleppo and its residents were being reduced to rubble? Why, scheming against Israel, of course!
Samantha Power should have resigned over Syria long ago. She decided instead to embrace the hypocrisy of having written a Pulitzer-prize winning book condemning previous American administrations who were bystanders to genocide while becoming one herself. That was bad enough. What we know now is far worse. Aleppo was ignored as she focused instead on the condemning the Jewish state.
Earth to Samantha: 500,000 Arabs died in Syria. Do you really think the problem in the Middle East is Jews building extra bedrooms in communities in Beit-El? You couldn’t pass even one United Nations Security Council Resolution condemning Russia, Syria, and Iran for the slaughter in Syria. But you passed this motion condemning peace-loving Jews who live in the ancient Biblical lands of Judea and Samaria?
Let’s not forget the carnage in Syria is largely a result of Obama’s disastrous foreign policy. When he precipitously pulled American troops out of Iraq, he created a vacuum that has been filled by Iran, ISIS, al-Qaeda and other radical Islamic groups.
Rather than work to bring down the brutal Assad regime and support Syrians who reject his totalitarian rule and the proposed Sharia law of the Muslim extremists, Power stood by while Iran and its Hezbollah terrorist puppets rushed into bolster the tottering Assad regime.
Given that Syria is Iran’s only ally in the region, removing Assad would have had the twin benefits of eliminating one of the region’s last dictators and leaving Iran without a friend in the region.
Acting early on would have saved tens of thousands of lives, prevented the devastating immigration problem that threatens to bring down Jordan’s pro-American regime and seed Europe and, perhaps the United States, with radical Islamists trained by ISIS and al-Qaeda to infiltrate Western societies for the purpose of committing terror and mayhem.
By failing to act swiftly and surely, Obama also opened the door to Russian intervention. After keeping Russia contained in the region for more than 40 years, Obama’s inaction woke the sleeping bear and Vladimir Putin’s forces are now bombing civilian areas and doing everything possible to maintain their own foothold in the region. While Power has fiddled, Putin has also extended his tentacles into nations that had been staunch US allies before Obama turned on them.
Obama’s most devastating decision was his failure to follow up his threat to take action against Syria if Assad used chemical weapons. Instead, he patted himself on the back for a brilliant diplomatic coup (as he did with his disastrous nuclear deal with Iran) in reaching a deal with Russia to remove and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile.
Just as Iran has cheated on the nuclear deal while Obama and his UN mouthpiece Power have buried their heads in the sand, Syria also ignored the toothless warnings of the president and kept enough weapons to continue to slaughter civilians and rebels alike.
But heck, at least Obama and Power finally socked it to Bibi and Israel. That’ll teach ‘em.
Then again, by this point no one should be surprised by Power’s cowardice in the face of slaughter.
On the hundredth anniversary of the Armenian genocide, she could not bring herself to speak the truth, even after promising to do so during the presidential campaign. Taking the moral low ground, Power continued to robotically repeat the politically convenient and historically inaccurate line that Turkey did not wage a genocidal war against the Armenians.
Update: see also this post at Jerry Coyne's blog.