Last Friday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that he will seek Palestinian statehood from the United Nations this month. This dangerous pronouncement puts into stark relief the damage the Obama Administration has done because of its standoffish posture towards Israel. Back in the spring, President Obama threw Israel under the proverbial bus when he suggested the country go back to its 1967 borders. The idea was met with fierce opposition from supporters of Israel, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling the 1967 borders “indefensible.”
Actions have consequences and the Obama Administration’s hostility towards Israel has led directly to this unprecedented request by Palestinian leaders. Maen Areikat, the Palestinians’ top envoy to the United States, said the Obama “administration itself did not implicitly or explicitly, directly or indirectly; threaten to take any punitive actions” when it came to advancing Palestinian statehood. This, along with a 2010 speech Obama gave to the General Assembly, has been interpreted by the Palestinians as implicit permission to continue with their bid for statehood.
President Obama has promised to use the United States’ power as a permanent member of the United Nation’s Security Council to veto Palestinian statehood, but the situation should never have escalated this high in the first place. The impotence of the Obama Administration’s diplomatic power was on full display when it failed in negotiations to persuade the Palestians to drop their bid.
The Obama Administration is powerless but thankfully, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has proposed a bill to pull all U.N. funding if the member nations vote in favor of Palestinian statehood outside of a negotiated settlement with Israel. Getting tough with the anti-Israel U.N. is long overdue.
The U.N. is set to advance another anti-Israel initiative this week with “Durban III,” the U.N. General Assembly’s third “anti-racism” conference. This first took place in Durban, South Africa, just days before September 11th 2001, where the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA) was adopted. The DDPA singled out only one state with charges of racism: Israel, for the “occupation” of “Palestine.” Unfortunately, leaders like Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad use the DDPA as a propaganda piece when denouncing Israel. This ridiculous document shows how much the U.N. is broken and it is a further stain on the assembly that it is set to reaffirm the DDPA on its 10th anniversary.
There will be a counter-conference to “Durban III” put on by the Hudson Institute and Touro College, called The Perils of Global Intolerance: The United Nations and Durban III. The conference will feature a number of speakers, including former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton, Former Arkansas Governor and 2008 Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Elie Wiesel, Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, and others, talking about the U.N.’s exceptional mistreatment of Israel. The conference will take place on Sept. 22, 2011 in New York City’s Millennium UN Plaza Hotel from 9am to 6pm. For more information please go to www.durbanwatch.com.
Israel is America’s greatest ally in the Middle East. Unfortunately, President Obama and members of his administration do not seem to value our strategic partnership and Israel’s unique position of being threatened with annihilation by its enemies. Americans understand the need to defend Israel, this was borne out last week when a Republican won a House seat in a deep blue Congressional district in New York City. Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch – a lifelong Democrat – endorsed the Republican because he said he wanted to send a message to President Obama about his policies towards Israel. When Democrats like Ed Koch choose the Republican candidate because of your stance on Israel, you have a serious problem.
It is time for the Obama Administration to finally wake up and see that its harmful stances towards Israel only hurt the Jewish state and embolden its enemies. The Israeli people are under attack from threats near and far and it is up to the United States to stand shoulder to shoulder with them to thwart the anti-Semitic assault of some member states at the U.N. President Obama must stop holding Israel at arm’s length, not only for his own cynical electoral self-preservation but, because it is the right thing to do.