In January of 2009, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton slammed the White House for failing to support Israel at the UN Security Council. This was, of course, the administration of President George W. Bush. President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice chose to abstain on Resolution 1860, a decision Bolton called "a slap at Israel's self-defense." In an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal, Bolton wrote:
That's no way to lead. If Washington concluded that a harsh resolution on Gaza was warranted, the proper course was to vote for it. And that is, apparently, what Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had hoped to do. Speaking to the Security Council, Ms. Rice endorsed the basic content of the British draft, saying "this resolution is a step toward our goals." She also said that the U.S. was abstaining to give Egypt's ongoing mediation efforts time to work.
The Palestinian Authority's foreign minister, however, indicates that there may have been another reason. He said publicly Ms. Rice told him just before the vote that she had "been given new instructions" (certainly from President George W. Bush) not to support the draft.
In the past, both Democratic and Republican administrations reacted to one-sided, anti-Israel resolutions by vetoing them. And if the real issue here was timing, the U.S. could have delayed the vote by threatening a veto until it was satisfied that the Egyptian mediation attempt had run its course.
As Republicans criticize President Obama and his strongly pro-Israel record at the United Nations, they would do well to look back and remember their own history.