The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Friday, December 23, 2016


I wrote the original post "Abstention" earlier today, when it looked like the vote to condemn Israel would not be taken. It's now about 3:00 EST and apparently, pressure was brought to bear and the vote was called. I suspect, but cannot prove, that Obama pushed for the vote to prove that he, not Donald Trump, is still in control of U.S. foreign policy.

In what House Speaker Paul Ryan has accurately called a "shameful" act, Barack Obama had our U.N ambassador abstain from vetoing the resolution. In the post that follows, I talked about abstention not knowing whether Obama would have carried through with it. Now, his anti-Israel position in full flower, we know that he had indeed accomplished something that is duplicitous, deplorable, and despicable (see below).

It's almost as if Barack Obama wanted to prove that he could somehow expand the wreckage he created in the Middle East with an act so despicable that it would cement his legacy as the worst U.S. President in history. I think he achieved that this afternoon.

Here's the original post ...

When a party abstains from an important vote, it does so for one or more of these reasons: (1) it views the vote as unimportant and simply doesn't care which way the vote goes; (2) it doesn't want to allow its position to be known to others, and/or (3) it knows that the vote will go against a friend or ally without its intercession, also knows that the votes is very important to the friend or ally, but privately wants to screw over the friend or ally. If the third reason is the cause, the action of abstention is at the least, duplicitous, can be easily described a "deplorable," and from the point of view of the friend or ally, is despicable.

With that in mind, let's consider the current attempt to censure Israel for building housing in their capital city of Jerusalem. The New York Times reports:
JERUSALEM — President-elect Donald J. Trump thrust himself into one of the world’s most polarizing debates on Thursday by pressuring President Obama to veto a United Nations resolution critical of Israel, the newly elected leader’s most direct intervention in foreign policy during his transition to power.

Mr. Trump spoke out after Israeli officials contacted his team for help in blocking the draft resolution condemning settlement construction even as they lobbied its sponsor, Egypt. Within a couple of hours, Egypt withdrew the resolution, at least temporarily, and its president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, called Mr. Trump to discuss how “to establish true peace in the Middle East,” according to an aide to the president-elect ...

The Egyptian-sponsored resolution would have condemned Israeli housing construction in East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank as a “flagrant violation under international law” that was “dangerously imperiling the viability” of a future peace settlement establishing a Palestinian state. The United States has routinely used its veto at the Security Council to block similar measures, including under Mr. Obama in 2011. But Mr. Obama refused to commit to doing so again this time.

Mr. Trump said flatly that he should. “As the United States has long maintained, peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians will only come through direct negotiations between the parties and not through the imposition of terms by the United Nations,” the president-elect said. “This puts Israel in a very poor negotiating position and is extremely unfair to all Israelis.”
Throughout his disastrous eight year foray in foreign policy, Barack Obama has often chosen to "abstain." It appeared that his administration was prepared to do so in this U.N. vote.

I have on numerous occasions (e.g., here, here, and here) presented compelling evidence that the Obama administration, following the meme long-voiced by the hard left, views Israel as an 'oppressor" and has taken policy positions that are clearly anti-Israel. Obama's antipathy toward Israel's prime minister, Bibi Netanyahu, showed a level of political immaturity and a lack of character that came as no surprise to those of us who have criticized Obama's foreign policy decisions in the Middle East. It seems as if Obama has worked hard to mollify our foes and "screw over" our friends and allies.

Now in his last 25 days in office, Obama tried for a coup de grâce. It appears that he wanted to put Israel on the defensive by allowing a U.N. vote that could never be reversed (due to Russian or Chinese vetos), giving the palestinians leverage while demanding nothing of them. Thankfully, it also appears that Donald Trump has learned more about international leadership in 40 days that Obama learned in eight years. As the NYT notes, Trump's pressure on Egypt killed this attempt to screw over the only liberal democracy in the Middle East.

If, in fact, it was Obama's intent to abstain, he cements the notion, supported by eight years of bad decisions and bad policies, that he understands nothing about international leadership and even less about the Middle East. If he intended to abstain in the U.N. vote, his actions were at the least, duplicitous, can be easily described a "deplorable," and from the point of view of Israel and her supporters, were historically despicable.


This from the always Obama-friendly AP:
JERUSALEM (AP) -- An Israeli official on Friday accused President Barack Obama of colluding with the Palestinians in a "shameful move against Israel at the U.N." after learning the White House did not intend to veto a Security Council resolution condemning settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem the day before.

"President Obama and Secretary Kerry are behind this shameful move against Israel at the U.N.," the official said. "The U.S administration secretly cooked up with the Palestinians an extreme anti-Israeli resolution behind Israel's back which would be a tail wind for terror and boycotts and effectively make the Western Wall occupied Palestinian territory," he said calling it "an abandonment of Israel which breaks decades of US policy of protecting Israel at the UN."

Earlier he said Israel's prime minister turned to President-elect Donald Trump to help head off the critical U.N. resolution.
It's funny that those (including the Obama administration) who oppose Trump's suggestion that the U.S. embassy be moved to Israel's capital of Jerusalem, wring their hands about outrage in the Arab world.

At the same time, they seem wholly unconcerned that allowing a reckless U.N. vote via abstention will create "a tail wind for terror and boycotts and effectively make the Western Wall occupied Palestinian territory ..." Then again, intellectual consistency is not a strong characteristic of the left.