Obama’s Novem­ber sur­prise for Is­rael?

Jerusalem Post - - COMMENT & FEATURES - • By SHMULEY BOTEACH (Reuters)

Word is go­ing around in diplo­matic cir­cles that the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion is plan­ning a Novem­ber sur­prise for Is­rael. Here’s what is said to be go­ing on. The Paris peace con­fer­ence last week, to which Is­rael and the Pales­tini­ans were not even in­vited, will end up ex­ert­ing enor­mous pres­sure on Is­rael to cre­ate a Pales­tinian state. This re­newed pres­sure will come de­spite ev­i­dence that a Pales­tinian state in the West Bank will quickly be dom­i­nated by geno­ci­dal Ha­mas, which is a threat to Is­rael and a dis­as­ter for the Pales­tini­ans. This will lead, in all like­li­hood, to a United Na­tions Se­cu­rity Coun­cil Res­o­lu­tion ei­ther con­demn­ing Is­rael for not cre­at­ing that state or for not with­draw­ing from Judea and Sa­maria in the West Bank, de­spite the fact that do­ing so would ir­re­versibly com­pro­mise Is­rael’s se­cu­rity.

Now, here is where it gets in­ter­est­ing. Is­raeli of­fi­cials and Jewish com­mu­nal lead­ers have told me that they ex­pect that the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion will not veto the res­o­lu­tion at the UNSC. Sa­man­tha Power, the US am­bas­sador to the UN, will not ex­er­cise the Amer­i­can veto. This would mean that the res­o­lu­tion/con­dem­na­tion goes through. Pres­i­dent Barack Obama will not worry about how this might af­fect Hil­lary Clinton’s elec­tion prospects be­cause the UN res­o­lu­tion will come af­ter the Novem­ber elec­tion.

And that’s how the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion will wrap up – with a UN vote against Is­rael and the United States, for al­most the first time, not ve­to­ing a harm­ful res­o­lu­tion against Is­rael. Is­rael will be pow­er­less to stop it.

What gives cre­dence to this spec­u­la­tion first and fore­most is the Paris con­fer­ence it­self. If it were a se­ri­ous con­fer­ence about the prospects for peace, why on earth were the Is­raelis and Pales­tini­ans not in­vited? Is­rael has in­sisted on di­rect, bi­lat­eral talks with­out pre­con­di­tions. The Paris talks there­fore seem to be a com­plete waste of time, un­less their pur­pose was to lead to a res­o­lu­tion at the UN re­gard­less of Is­raeli ob­jec­tions.

What fur­ther gives this cre­dence is the fact that last June, in a House For­eign Af­fairs Com­mit­tee hear­ing, Pow­ers would not com­mit to ex­er­cis­ing an Amer­i­can veto at the UN for a res­o­lu­tion con­demn­ing Is­rael.

“I re­ally am go­ing to re­sist mak­ing blan­ket dec­la­ra­tions on hy­po­thet­i­cal res­o­lu­tions. Our po­si­tion, again, I think has been very clear for some time. I have said, again, we would op­pose any­thing that was de­signed to pun­ish Is­rael or un­der­mine Is­rael’s se­cu­rity. But I think, again, it’s per­ilous. There’s no res­o­lu­tion in front of us.”

Now, if a Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tion au­tho­riz­ing a timetable for the uni­lat­eral creation of a Pales­tinian state is re­sisted by Is­rael and not ve­toed by the US, there ex­ists the pos­si­bil­ity of eco­nomic sanc­tions be­ing levied against the Jewish state, es­pe­cially by the Euro­pean Union.

This is far more se­ri­ous than the boy­cott move­ment, which es­sen­tially in­volves non-bind­ing stu­dent coun­cil res­o­lu­tions against the Jewish state.

Don’t get me wrong. The Boy­cott, Di­vest­ment and Sanc­tions (BDS) move­ment un­de­ni­ably anti-Semitic, must be fought and re­sisted. It dele­git­imizes Is­rael on cam­pus, de­mo­nizes Is­rael and Jews, cre­ates a spirit of in­tim­i­da­tion against Jewish stu­dents on cam­pus, and of­ten white­washes or­ga­ni­za­tions that advocate vi­o­lence and ter­ror­ism.

Still, ac­tual eco­nomic sanc­tions im­posed by gov­ern­ments is even more se­ri­ous.

At her Se­nate con­fir­ma­tion hear­ings, which I at­tended at Pow­ers’ in­vi­ta­tion, she promised that at the UN “I will stand up for Is­rael and work tire­lessly to de­fend it.”

At the AIPAC An­nual Pol­icy Con­fer­ence in Wash­ing­ton, DC, last March, Sa­man­tha avowed, “It is a false choice to tell Is­rael that it has to choose be­tween peace on the one hand, and se­cu­rity on the other. The United Na­tions would not ask any other coun­try to make that choice, and it should not ask it of Is­rael.”

Se­cu­rity is the foun­da­tion of any sus­tain­able peace frame­work in the Mid­dle East. The US has long stood for jus­tice and served as an es­sen­tial check against over­reach, anti-Semitism and dou­ble stan­dards by Arab and Euro­pean na­tions at the UN against Is­rael.

The Pales­tinian Author­ity lead­er­ship has re­peat­edly proven it­self in­ca­pable of ad­her­ing to ba­sic demo­cratic prin­ci­ples, trans­parency and rule of law. The PA’s his­tory of graft, support of ter­ror­ism and lack of ac­count­abil­ity is stag­ger­ing.

Long be­fore Pow­ers be­came am­bas­sador, she was a highly-re­garded aca­demic study­ing hu­man rights at Har­vard’s Kennedy School. It was there that she wrote the Pulitzer-win­ning book that launched her ca­reer into or­bit, A Prob­lem from Hell, the stir­ring and es­sen­tial in­dict­ment of the in­abil­ity of the US to act against geno­cide over the past 100 years. It re­mains one of the most im­por­tant books I have ever read.

But as her star rose in the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion, many be­gan pay­ing at­ten­tion to other early state­ments and writ­ing, in­clud­ing spe­cific ones that raised con­cerns about her at­ti­tude to­ward Is­rael and un­der­stand­ing of the con­flict. These might have gone un­no­ticed for any ordinary aca­demic speak­ing loosely early in her ca­reer, but Sa­man­tha was no ordinary aca­demic. Due to those ear­lier state­ments, Sa­man­tha wasn’t im­plic­itly trusted by mem­bers of the Jewish com­mu­nity when she took her role in the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Coun­cil. Af­ter writ­ing an op-ed where I en­cour­aged her to clar­ify her state­ments, she did just that.

We met in the White House, and spoke can­didly – and even quite emo­tion­ally – about Is­rael, the chal­lenges in the re­gion, and the real con­cerns that some had about her ear­lier state­ments. Her pas­sion and support of Is­rael was per­sua­sive. I be­came in­tent on trans­form­ing the Jewish com­mu­nity’s opin­ion of her, work­ing side-by-side to per­suade oth­ers that she was some­one whose judg­ment and un­der­stand­ing of the con­flict could be trusted when it came to is­sues re­lated to Is­rael.

Ul­ti­mately, when the time came for her nom­i­na­tion to serve as US am­bas­sador to the UN, the Jewish Amer­i­can com­mu­nity reg­is­tered strong, wide­spread support.

Now, with the pos­si­bil­ity of a se­ri­ous anti-Is­rael res­o­lu­tion mak­ing its way through the UN with the po­ten­tial to do long-term harm to the Jewish state, Sa­man­tha will be con­fronted with the stark choice of stand­ing firm and act­ing on her commitment to Is­rael and the Jewish com­mu­nity and her loy­alty to the pres­i­dent and his ad­min­is­tra­tion in its last days.

With anti-Semitism and anti-Is­rael sen­ti­ment grow­ing world­wide, we rely on Pow­ers to not only honor her pledge of support for the Jewish state but to stand squarely against Ha­mas and its geno­ci­dal pledge, stated clearly in its covenant, to an­ni­hi­late the Jewish peo­ple wher­ever they may be found.

I am con­fi­dent the Sa­man­tha Power I know will stand with Is­rael. Her legacy and the se­cu­rity of the Jewish state de­pends on it.

The au­thor, whom The Wash­ing­ton Post calls “the most fa­mous rabbi in Amer­ica,” is the founder of The World Val­ues Net­work and is the international best-sell­ing au­thor of 30 books, in­clud­ing his just-pub­lished, The Is­rael War­rior: Fight­ing Back for the Jewish State from Cam­pus to Street Cor­ner. Fol­low him on Twit­ter @Rab­biSh­mu­ley.

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