The unkindest cut of all, right in the back
Obama’s treachery at the U.N. unites the bipartisan friends of Israel
If Israel were a nation in human form, like Uncle Sam or Marianne, the feminine symbol of France, long, bloody knives would be protruding from both back and breast.
The man with blood on his hands would be President Obama, who departed from decades of American policy under several presidents both Republican and Democrat, and refused to veto a United Nations Security Council resolution rebuking Israel for settlements on land which the Jewish state hopes to use in a land swap to secure a lasting peace.
The president’s action, or rather lack of action, is nothing less than treachery by the man who presents himself as a great friend of Israel. His long knives cut deep, a malevolent farewell gesture of contempt for the only democracy in the Middle East. Coming from the United States, for so long Israel’s most reliable friend, this was “the unkindest cut of all.”
The reaction across America has been swift and angry, from left and right, liberal and conservative, Democrat and Republican. Liberal Democratic law professor Alan Dershowitz recalls in disbelief that soon after Mr. Obama’s first inaugural the president called him into the Oval Office to seek his support, promising “he would always have Israel’s back.”
Mr. Dershowitz didn’t get the president’s real meaning at the time, he tells Fox and Friends, “that he would have Israel’s back so he could stab it in the back.” The president’s fading administration tries to wrap itself in sheep’s clothing, blaming the “absence of any meaningful peace process, as well as the accelerated settlement activity,” but the text of the resolution goes far beyond the settlements,
The resolution would make the Western Wall, or the Wailing Wall as it is commonly known, Israel’s holiest site, illegal in international law. Roads that are pathways for both Israeli and Arab students to study at the Hebrew University, and offer access for Israeli and Arab patients to the Hadassah Hospital would suddenly be rendered “illegal,” too.
Israel opened its doors to Palestinians in answer to the Palestinians closing theirs to Israelis. For two decades before the Wailing Wall was liberated in the Six-Day War, Jews were denied access to the ancient stones once stained by their ancestors’ prayers and tears.
John Bolton, the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, agrees that “Barack Obama stabbed Israel in the front” with endorsing the Palestinian narrative and reducing possibilities for “land for peace,” but all is not lost. Donald Trump now has ample opportunities to pivot away from his predecessor’s perfidy. Mr. Bolton joins a chorus of politicians who suggest cutting contributions to the United Nations, where the United States contribute up to $3 billion annually.
If Alan Dershowitz and John Bolton visualize brutal stabbings in both the front and the back of Israel, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina describes the Obama treachery as abandoning “the only democracy in the Middle East that shares our values.” House Speaker Paul Ryan calls the betrayal “absolutely shameful,” and promises a clear focus of a unified Republican governing party to forge a new, strong alliance of the United States and Israel.
If the Obama administration anticipated Republican fury, it seems surprised by the angry roar from the Democrats. Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, who will be the new leader of Senate Democrats, calls the failure to veto the resolution “frustrating, disappointing and confounding.” George Mitchell, a former Democratic senator who was special envoy to the Arab-Israeli peace process in the Obama administration, tells MSNBC News that the betrayal hurts the peace prospects of both Israel and the Palestinians. One Democrat, in the sharpest cut of all, says Barack Obama is “worse than Jimmy Carter.”
Anger becomes farce as critics suggest what to do with the valuable piece of real estate now occupied by the United Nations in the Turtle Bay neighborhood of New York City. One critic says the iconic New York building overlooking the East River could become another Trump hotel with great views of the skyscraper canyons. If the diplomats would pay their parking and traffic tickets, it might sop up some of the red ink in the national budget.
Fun is fun, but change at the United Nations, which began with such idealism as a harbinger of world peace, offers little hope now for anything but more cynicism, more vitriol. As the President-elect might tweet, “so sad.”
Mixing absurdity with tragedy, Secretary of State John Kerry offers his grandiose rhetoric in a long speech that is heavily slanted against Israel, obsessing over settlements while barely touching upon the root of the conflict, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu observed, “Palestinian opposition to a Jewish state in any boundaries.” Leadership from this president’s administration is, as usual, too late, too little — and headed in the wrong direction.