Miracle on East 42nd Street

In the Jewish calendar it’s the year 5777. That’s how long we date our history. The United Nations has lasted a mere seventy-one years (arithmetic corrected) Founded to promote world peace, it has devolved into a corrupt, anti-democratic, anti-Semitic den of thieves, where a “cartel of Bronze Age backward” nations regularly gets resolutions passed to attack the only democratic, modern state in the Middle East while ignoring genocide, despotism, slavery, and ethnic and religious persecutions that take place in their own lands.

Only people as blinkered as Obama, Power, and Kerry could think otherwise, unless they, too, so despise Jews and Israel that they willingly accept the fiction that the UN is an impartial body trying to bring peace to the area. This week, with the connivance of the usual bastard nations and with the surprising addition of New Zealand  (whose main export, wine, should be boycotted in disgust) rammed through a resolution to ban settlements outside the 1967 borders of Israel. They did this despite unprecedented efforts by president-elect Trump to keep the resolution from being considered. At his behest, Egypt postponed the effort to consider the resolution, only to have the administration succeed in conniving with New Zealand and the Palestinians to get it back on the agenda.

This is the very sort of resolution the United States used to veto as a permanent member of the UN Security Council. This time, Obama repaid Jewish citizens, the vast majority of whom voted for him twice, by refusing to veto this resolution, certain -- if enforced -- to make peace in the Middle East less likely and Israel’s position even more precarious.

With an eye to this week’s events at this nefarious outfit, David Goldman (as he often does) echoes my thoughts: “Trump's election was the perfectly natural outcome of political and economic processes, but to the Jewish people it was a nes, a miracle.”

According to the Washington Post:

The resolution declares settlements constructed on land Israel has occupied since the 1967 war, including in East Jerusalem, to have “no legal validity.” It said settlements threaten the viability of the two-state solution, and it urged Israelis and Palestinians to return to negotiations that will lead to two independent nations.

The United States’ abstention Friday was a rare rebuke to Israel, and it reflected mounting frustration in the Obama administration over settlement growth that the United States considers an obstacle to peace. With President Obama’s time in office due to end in barely a month, his decision not to veto was a last-minute symbolic statement of that displeasure and a sense of exasperation that the time has come for two states to be carved out of the contested land.

The administration’s move also defied Donald Trump’s call on Thursday for the United States to veto the resolution. The incoming Trump administration has signaled that there will be a shift in U.S. policy toward Israel, a point the president-elect hammered home about an hour after Friday’s vote when he tweeted, “As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th.”

Trump has supported moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He has appointed David Friedman, a bankruptcy lawyer who believes Israelis should annex and settle the West Bank, as the next U.S. ambassador to Israel.

It is impossible to see how caving in to the Palestinian thugs drives them closer to a two-state solution, the fantasy of the present administration. Instead, it opens the way to countless boycott and divest actions which only encourage the Palestinians to bide their time until the UN votes to obliterate Israel altogether

At a time when the resolution was still pending, Elliott Abrams described what was so bad about it.  

The first paragraph above calls all settlement activity illegal under international law. That could have an impact in Europe and elsewhere in how Israeli settlers and officials are treated. Are they all criminals? Can they be brought before the International Criminal Court? Prosecuted in local courts?

The second paragraph refers to East Jerusalem, and suggests that all Israeli housing construction must stop -- even including construction in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City. That’s madness.

The third paragraph above, treating everything beyond the old “Green Line” or 1949 armistice line as illegal and demanding that all states do so, begs for boycotts. It logically means that any product from East Jerusalem, the Golan, or the West Bank be boycotted and prevented from being sold.

After its passage Abrams was no less critical of it: 

President George W. Bush sought to move peace talks forward in 2004 by asserting what all sides had already tacitly acknowledged — that there could be no return to the 1967 lines in light of the blocs’ existence, and that any negotiated border would have to reflect this reality. By refusing to confirm Bush’s position, Obama dragged the process backward and harmfully reopened old debates.

This regression is enshrined in the resolution, which “underlines that it will not recognize any changes” to the armistice lines, and demands the cessation of all settlement activities everywhere. This is unnecessary and unrealistic — Israelis will not bring life to a halt in towns that no one disputes they will keep — and is more likely to obstruct than facilitate the revival of peace talks.

Second, the resolution rewards those who argue for “internationalization” of the conflict — that is, for using international forums such as the U.N., European Union or International Criminal Court to impose terms on Israel, rather than resorting to negotiations.

For the resolution does indeed dictate terms to Israel, not merely condemn settlement activity. It adopts, as noted above, the position that the 1967 lines, rather than today’s realities, should form the basis of talks — despite the fact that many Israeli communities east of those lines are decades old and that Jews have had a near-continuous presence in the West Bank for thousands of years.

It implicitly prejudges the disposition of East Jerusalem — one of most contentious issues dividing the parties — by characterizing Israeli construction as settlement activity, a stance Israelis reject. The resolution would demand an absolute halt to construction in East Jerusalem, even in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, something no Israeli government ever would agree to do.

Moreover,  the resolution is conspicuously silent on Israeli concerns. There’s no demand, for example, that the Palestinians acknowledge Israel’s very right to exist.

The resolution undermines what sentient people must acknowledge is the only path to resolution—direct negotiations between the two interested parties.

Indeed, for years the U.S. position has been that only direct talks between the two parties will resolve their differences. Refusing to veto this resolution and choosing to abstain after working hard to have it back on track before Obama’s term ends defies both long-term policy and common sense.

Wars end when one side knows that it has lost and is willing to make peace. The Arab side refuses to accept that it was defeated in four wars and various insurgencies. Arafat walked away from Ehud Barak's peace offer in 1999 without a response and Abbas refused to even consider Olmert's similar offer in 2008. Like the Duke brothers in "Trading Places," the Palestinian Arabs think they can re-trade the Israeli War of Independence, go back in time, erase the historical record, and reclaim victory. If you lose and refuse to make peace, you pay a penalty, and the normal penalty is loss of territory. For opportunistic reasons (placating Muslim trading partners and restive Muslim populations) most countries indulge the Muslim fantasy that defeat is inconceivable and therefore reversible. That simply leads to more futile violence.

Just as important is the Jewish presence in what would have been a Palestinian state, if the Palestinians had wanted to have a state in 1999 or 2008. That ship probably has sailed; chaos in the region around them makes it impossible de facto to create a Palestinian state today. If the Palestinians wanted peace, then they would tolerate a Jewish population in their putative state, just as Israel embraces a 20% Arab minority. The fact that the Palestinians demand a state entirely Judenrein ("clean" of Jews) betrays hostile intent.

To indulge the Palestinians on the matter of ethnic cleansing of Jews from Judea and Samaria is unprecedented in international peace negotiations, and utterly and despicably hypocritical on the part of the majority of Security Council members.

President-elect Trump has promised a new approach to the UN after January 20 and Republicans are threatening UN funding cuts as a result of this resolution: 

Senate Republicans threatened to "suspend or significantly reduce" funding for the United Nations and any American allies who support a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlement construction in disputed Palestinian territory.

"Any nation which backs this resolution and receives assistance from the United States will put that assistance in jeopardy," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Friday in anticipation of the vote. 

It remains to be seen how many Democrats, if any, will go along with this. To be sure, senators Blumenthal and Schumer, doubtless more attuned to their re-election chances than anything else, had urged lame duck Obama to veto this, but will they walk the walk when it comes to taking action against the UN and those who supported the resolution?

It would be a hoped for miracle if the UN is forced to move or shutter its operations.

David Goldman reflects: “Obama just destroyed the Democratic Party, which has splintered into a far-left hulk attended by people who would rather be somewhere else. By the time the next Democratic president is elected, Barron Trump will have turned that eyesore at 42nd St. and the East River into a hotel.”

Given that the decision to abstain came on the day before Chanukah, which celebrates both the defeat of the Syrian-Greeks who tried to abolish the Jews’ freedom of religion and the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem over 2,000 years ago, the move was particularly offensive.

For those Jews who voted for Obama twice, this action should not come as a surprise, though I suppose they weren’t paying attention. As far back as 2011, I noted what was happening. 

The preamble to this week's Obama epic foreign policy blunder was the president's comment on May 10 in Austin that there was a "Teutonic shift" taking place in the Middle East. To me, the grandiose albeit risibly erroneous description signaled that Obama's narcissistic needs needed stoking with some bold new initiative which no one but such a genius as he is could imagine. The following day, someone in the White House brain trust corrected the transcript to read "tectonic shift," but the writing on the wall was clear, even though White House spokesman Jay Carney denied it.

Obama intended to and, in fact, did go on to make a stupid but dramatic call that Israel return to the indefensible 1967 borders.[snip] Because the president's comment lends support to the anticipated effort to get the U.N. Security Council to mandate an Israeli return to the 1967 borders, the Obama plan is more than silly and faithless -- it would mean Israel's destruction.  And any suggestion that some international peacekeepers could protect Israel after a massive shift of its population to forty-year-old boundaries is beneath consideration. 

Those who voted for him a second time either didn’t pay attention or like the anti-Israeli J Street  adherents didn’t care.

Now, it’s time for the feckless Jewish Democrats to wake up though it seems they have been terminally hoodwinked -- seduced by social justice warriors into supporting actions that only promote war.  Will the scales fall from their eyes? Will it take the selection of anti-Semite Keith Ellison as head of the DNC to do the trick? It will be yet another miracle as great as defeating the Seleucids and the election of Trump if they do -- for it is clear that their allegiance is not to the truth or their religion or the best interests of their country and the world. It is to the left and its search for ever more power, including the power to blind us to the obvious with falsehoods.

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