Pro-Israel activist Steve Sheffey wrote this month in Sh’ma that President Barack Obama has helped make Israel’s “unshakeable” alliance with America even stronger through the actions he and other Administration officials have taken to defend Israel in UN bodies.
Sheffey enumerated just some of the ways the Obama Administration has defended Israel at the UN:
The Obama administration has pursued a policy of active engagement at the U.N. to fight efforts to delegitimize Israel. In 2010, Obama told the U.N. General Assembly that ‘Israel’s existence must not be a subject for debate,’ and that ‘efforts to chip away at Israel’s legitimacy will only be met by the unshakeable opposition of the United States.’ And the Obama administration succeeded in pushing through the toughest set of sanctions against Iran ever enacted by the U.N. Security Council.
Perhaps most significant, the Obama administration cast its only veto in the U.N. Security Council against the biased anti-Israel resolution on settlements and promised to veto any U.N. Security Council resolution recognizing an independent Palestinian state of Palestine.
He praised the Administration’s vehement opposition to the Palestinians’ UN gambit and to the Goldstone Report, and said:
This type of consistent engagement at the U.N. has been essential in attempting to redress the efforts to isolate and delegitimize Israel. In response to criticism from Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), the chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and others who believe that instead of engaging at the U.N., the U.S. should first demand reforms and only then fund the U.N., Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Esther Brimmer said, ‘President Obama’s decision to pay our U.N. assessments in full has given us greater influence with allies, partners, and others, and helped us achieve both our policy goals at the U.N. as well as much-needed management reform and budget discipline.’
Prior administrations that generally supported Israel at the U.N. sometimes chose not to veto anti-Israel resolutions. For example, the Bush administration neglected to veto a 2004 U.N. Security Council resolution calling on Israel to stop demolishing Palestinian homes. The Reagan administration supported a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israel for its 1981 attack on Iraq’s nuclear reactor….
Before the U.S. joined the UNHRC in 2009, the UNHRC passed 32 resolutions, of which 26 were critical of Israel. The Bush administration refused to engage UNHRC, thus leaving the council to Israel’s enemies. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice explained that the Obama administration joined the UNHRC to battle the ‘anti-Israel crap.’
By engaging with the UNHRC, the U.S. not only leveraged its power to defend Israel, but it also helped shift attention to what the UNHRC should have been focusing on during its years of neglect under the Bush administration: freedom of assembly and association, woman’s rights, the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community’s rights, and religious rights. The U.S. also spearheaded U.N. efforts to highlight human rights abuses faced by the LGBT community around the world. And the U.S. ‘led unprecedented resolutions condemning human rights abuses in Libya, Iran and then Syria and putting in place mechanisms to document abuses and hold those governments to account’ at the UNHRC.
As President Obama told the U.N. in September 2011, the ‘Jewish people have forged a successful state in their historic homeland. Israel deserves recognition. It deserves normal relations with its neighbors. And friends of the Palestinians do them no favors by ignoring this truth, just as friends of Israel must recognize the need to pursue a two-state solution with a secure Israel next to an independent Palestine.’
Click here to read Sheffey’s full article.