Is Obama pre­par­ing part­ing shot at Is­rael?

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - OPINION - Charles Krautham­mer is syn­di­cated by the Washington Post Writ­ers Group. His email ad­dress is let­ters@ charleskrautham­mer.com.

Last week, the U.N.’s premier cul­tural agency, UNESCO, ap­proved a res­o­lu­tion vi­ciously con­demn­ing Is­rael (re­ferred to as “the Oc­cu­py­ing Power”) for var­i­ous al­leged tres­passes and vi­o­la­tions of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Ex­cept that the res­o­lu­tion never uses that term for Ju­daism’s holi­est shrine. It refers to and treats it as an ex­clu­sively Mus­lim site, a de­lib­er­ate at­tempt to erad­i­cate its con­nec­tion — let alone its cen­tral­ity — to the Jewish peo­ple and Jewish his­tory. This Or­wellian ab­sur­dity is an in­sult not just to Ju­daism but to Chris­tian­ity. It makes a mock­ery of the Gospels, which chron­i­cle the story of a Galilean Jew whose life and min­istry un­folded through­out the Holy Land, most es­pe­cially in Jerusalem and the Temple. If this is noth­ing but a Mus­lim site, what hap­pens to the very foun­da­tion of Chris­tian­ity, which oc­curred 600 years be­fore Is­lam even came into be­ing? This UNESCO res­o­lu­tion is merely the sur­real ex­treme of the world­wide cam­paign to dele­git­imize Is­rael. It fea­tures the BDS move­ment (Boy­cott, Divest­ment and Sanc­tions), now growing on Western univer­sity cam­puses and some main­line Protes­tant churches. And it ex­tends even into some precincts of the Demo­cratic Party. Bernie San­ders tried to in­tro­duce into the Demo­cratic Party plat­form a plank more un­fa­vor­able to Is­rael. He failed, but when a cou­ple of Clin­ton cam­paign con­sul­tants ques­tioned (in emails re­vealed by Wik­iLeaks) why she should be men­tion­ing Is­rael in her speeches, cam­paign man­ager Robby Mook con­curred, “We shouldn’t have Is­rael at pub­lic events. Es­pe­cially dem ac­tivists.” For whom the very men­tion of Is­rael is toxic.

And what to make of the White House’s cor­rec­tion to a press re­lease about last month’s fu­neral of Shi­mon Peres? The orig­i­nal re­lease iden­ti­fied the lo­ca­tion as “Mount Herzl, Jerusalem, Is­rael.” The cor­rec­tion crossed out the coun­try iden­ti­fier — “Is­rael.”

Well, where else is Jerusalem? Sri Lanka? More­over, Mount Herzl isn’t even in dis­puted East Jerusalem. It’s in West Jerusalem, within the bound­aries of pre-1967 Is­rael. If that’s not Is­rael, what is?

But such cow­ardly ges­tures are mere pin­pricks com­pared to the dam­age Is­rael faces in the fi­nal days of the Obama pres­i­dency. As John Han­nah of the Foun­da­tion for De­fense of Democ­ra­cies re­cently wrote (in For­eign Pol­icy), there have been in­di­ca­tions for months that Pres­i­dent Obama might go to the U.N. and un­veil his own fi­nal sta­tus pa­ram­e­ters of a twostate so­lu­tion. Th­ese would then be en­shrined in a new Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tion that could of­fi­cially rec­og­nize a Pales­tinian state on the ter­ri­tory Is­rael came into pos­ses­sion of dur­ing the 1967 Six-Day War.

There is a rea­son such a move has been re­sisted by eight pre­vi­ous U.S. ad­min­is­tra­tions: It over­throws the cen­tral premise of Mid­dle East peace­mak­ing — land for peace. Un­der which the Pales­tini­ans get their state after ne­go­ti­a­tions in which the par­ties agree on rec­og­nized bound­aries, ex­change mu­tual recog­ni­tion and de­clare a per­ma­nent end to the con­flict.

Land for peace would be re­placed by land for noth­ing. En­dors­ing in ad­vance a Pales­tinian state and what would es­sen­tially be a full Is­raeli with­drawal re­moves the Pales­tinian in­cen­tive to ne­go­ti­ate and strips Is­rael of ter­ri­to­rial bar­gain­ing chips of the kind it used, for ex­am­ple, to achieve peace with Egypt. The re­sult would be not just per­pet­ual war but in­cal­cu­la­ble dam­age to Is­rael. Con­sider but one ex­am­ple: the Jewish Quar­ter of Jerusalem, de­stroyed and eth­ni­cally cleansed of Jews by its Arab con­querors in the war of 19481949. It was re­built by Is­rael after 1967. It would now be open to the ab­surd ju­di­cial charge that the Jewish state’s pos­ses­sion of the Jewish Quar­ter con­sti­tutes a crim­i­nal oc­cu­pa­tion of an­other coun­try.

Is­rael would be hauled end­lessly into courts (both na­tional and in­ter­na­tional) to face sanc­tions, boy­cotts (now un­der color of law) and ar­rest of its lead­ers. All this for vi­o­lat­ing a U.N. man­date to which no Is­raeli gov­ern­ment, left or right, could pos­si­bly ac­cede.

Be­fore the elec­tion, Obama dare not at­tempt this fi­nal legacy item, to go along with the Iran deal and the Cas­tro con­cil­i­a­tion, for fear of dam­ag­ing Hil­lary Clin­ton. His last op­por­tu­nity comes after Elec­tion Day. The one per­son who might de­ter him, points out Han­nah, is Clin­ton her­self, by com­mit­ting Obama to do noth­ing be­fore he leaves of­fice that would tie her hands should she be­come pres­i­dent.

Clin­ton’s sup­port­ers who care about Is­rael and about peace need to urge her to do that now. It will soon be too late. Soon Obama will be free to de­liver a dev­as­tat­ing part­ing shot to Is­rael and to the prime min­is­ter he de­tests.

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