Peregrine flight

Saturday, October 16, 2010

United Nogoodniks

Murderer's Row - Assad, Amin, Qadaffi

I am not an apologist for Israel. As I have written on many occasions, their settlement policy and their ceding of power to the ultra religious right (sounds familiar?) is problematic for me. They have turned a blind eye to the squalor in Gaza and to the near impossibility of living conditions there. Yet I admit that I am continually dismayed by the constant buffeting and condemnation they endure internationally while so many really bad actors escape censure.

With the constant homegrown violence that occurs daily in the Islamic world, be it Iraq, Sudan, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Britain and all the other provinces of Muhammed's reach, it is almost laughable that little Israel is the epicenter for all the teeth gnashing. Any punishment they have meted out is dwarfed by daily atrocities in the arab world that get little or no scrutiny.

Unfortunately, the complexion of the United Nations is changing and Israel is finding itself even more ostracized, but this time with the seeming complicity of the Obama Administration. Obama wants Israel to continue its building moratorium on West Bank land that it kept and occupied after being simultaneously attacked by and defeating its neighbors on all sides in the 1967 War. Bloodthirsty Liberal has had some interesting posts recently in regard to Israel and the Obama Administration, some of which I borrow here.
From Anne Bayefsky's Oped 9/16/10:
Wednesday in Geneva during the current session of the U.N. Human Rights Council, the Obama administration became a willing participant in the U.N.’s imposition of an apartheid-style ban on representatives of the state of Israel. Despite the promises made by the administration that by joining the Council the United States would not become part of the problem, U.S. Ambassador to the Council Eileen Donahoe chose to attend and fully participate in a meeting that deliberately excluded anyone representing the Jewish state.Israel is the only U.N. state not permitted to be a full member of any of the U.N.’s five regional groups. Throughout the Human Rights Council sessions, these groups hold key planning meetings in which countries negotiate and share important information behind closed doors. Even the Palestinian Authority, though not a state, is permitted into the Asian regional group. Israelis are allowed into the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) in some parts of the U.N. But WEOG members have chosen to exclude them totally in all of their meetings associated with the Human Rights Council. Rather than refusing to participate until such outrageous discrimination comes to an end, Obama administration representatives walked through the door slammed in the face of Israelis and made themselves comfortable. While Israelis are left standing in the hall during the Council’s regional group meetings, this week for the first time Libya took its seat as a full-fledged Council member. Other full voting members of the U.N.’s lead human rights body include such model citizens as Saudi Arabia, China, Cuba, Russia and Kyrgyzstan. 
On Monday, writing in The New York Times, Ambassador Donahoe repeated the claim that U.S. engagement filled “a vacuum of leadership” and alleged that “the council is engaged in a serious self-reflection exercise for the purpose of improving its work and functioning with respect to its core mandate of protecting human rights.”
On the very same day as Donahoe’s op-ed appeared, the 57 members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) put the president in his place on any notion of reform. The OIC holds the balance of power at the Council, because the Council majority is composed of members from the African and Asian regional groups, and OIC countries form the majority in both the African and Asian groups.
Speaking Monday on behalf of the OIC, Pakistan declared: “the OIC…has always stressed that this is…not a ‘reform’ exercise. It is our considered view that this intergovernmental process…should not reopen the lnstitution-building package [the June 2007 agreement which governs Council operations and adopted the agenda singling out Israel]…The Council is mandated to [do] nothing more but to fine-tune where required.” 

I was also alerted to an article in the New York Sun 10/12/10 by Benny Avni talking about how Canada is getting shuffled out of the U.N. mix.
Canada’s increasing ties with Israel and its defense of Jerusalem have cost it a seat on the United Nations Security Council, diplomats here are saying after days of maneuvering by Arab countries, Brazil, and Cuba in which the United States had nearly disappeared.
Canada’s failure to capture a seat on next year’s Security Council will break a tradition in which America’s northern neighbor has been elected to the most prestigious United Nations body in every decade since 1948. Diplomats here say Brazil was instrumental in handing defeat to Prime Minister Harper in an international contest that pitted Canada, a traditional U.N. power house, against one of the European Union’s least powerful countries – Portugal.
Canada withdrew its candidacy in today’s election for five available council slots after it realized that Portugal had sewn up enough General Assembly votes in the secret ballot to win the only contested seat. Several sources told me that members of a powerful voting bloc in the 192-member assembly – the 57 countries of the Organizations of Islamic Conference – were united in voting for Portugal over Canada, mostly because of Mr. Harper’s record of supporting Israel.
In addition to the OIC, anti-Western countries like Cuba and Venezuela have been active in opposing Canada’s candidacy.While blocs that included the African and Latin American countries were largely thought to have split their vote on the contested seat, the Arab countries and the OIC were largely believed to have voted en-bloc to bar Canada entry to the council.
Mr. Harper’s government has become one of Israel’s more forthright defenders in organizations like the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council, where members like Cuba and Libya often single Israel out and garner enough votes to condemn its human rights record.
Only a few years ago, the American ambassador here would have made a public issue in defense of Canada. But in the maneuvering leading to today’s vote, American diplomats were all but absent.
Conversely, Israeli diplomats who habitually count heads before the votes at international bodies do not see Portugal as a reliable ally among the members of the European Union, which often joins the majorities or abstains after attempting to “soften” anti-Israel votes. 
And from Richard Grenell 10/13/10:
In fact, U.S. State Department insiders say that U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice not only didn’t campaign for Canada’s election but instructed American diplomats to not get involved in the weeks leading up to the heated contest. With no public American support, Canada lost its bid to serve. That gives the EU more than 25% control of the body and a strong voting block to ensure EU priorities become global priorities. -- This was the second time a high profile ally could have used U.S. help yet Rice chose to stay silent.Israel was left to defend itself against a full-out assault from the U.N. after it captured a flotilla aid ship headed to the Gaza Strip on May 31. Susan Rice never showed up for the marathon emergency U.N. meeting and left Israel without its most powerful friend. “It was a crucial moment for Israel and for the top American Ambassador to not even show up to the meeting where Israel was being attacked by hypocritical dictatorships was a powerful sign to others,” one current U.N. diplomat said.  Instead she instructed colleagues to steer clear, effectively abandoning Canada. By contrast, when Venezuela wanted a seat on the Security Council over U.S. objections in 2006, then-U.S. Ambassador John Bolton aggressively campaigned for Guatemala instead. Bolton met with a plethora of U.N. diplomats and publicly pushed the U.N. to vote 48 times over 3 weeks until Venezuela finally gave up its campaign and was denied a seat. Rice’s actions also differ greatly from the words she used during the 2008 presidential campaign when she promised that the Obama administration would “lead our friends and allies.”
And Caroline Glick from the JPost 10/15/10:
On Tuesday, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley was asked, “Do you [i.e. the administration] recognize Israel as a Jewish state and will you try to convince the Palestinians to recognize it? As Rick Richman at Commentary’s blog noted, Crowley repeatedly tried to evade answering the question. Reporters were forced to repeat the question six times before Crowley managed to say, “We recognize that Israel is a – as it says itself, is a Jewish state, yes.”As for whether or not the administration will try to convince the Palestinians to recognize the Jewish state, Crowley could not bring himself to give a simple affirmative answer.Crowley’s refusal to give straight answers to straight questions about US recognition of Israel as a Jewish state shows that Israel has never faced a more unfriendly US administration. After all, recognizing Israel as a Jewish state means recognizing that the Jewish people are a nation, and as a nation, the Jews have a right to self-determination in our national homeland. So recognizing Israel as a Jewish state is recognizing Israel’s right to exist.Crowley’s unwillingness to state flat out that the US recognizes Israel as a Jewish state and expects Israel’s supposed Palestinian peace partners to do so as well means that the Obama administration’s basic hostility to Israel is so salient that no amount of appeasing on any specific issue will alter its position.
Some 93.5 percent of Americans believe that the US should be concerned about Israel’s security. Whereas the Obama administration is unconvinced that the Palestinians need to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, 77% of Americans believe that they must do so. Only 6% of Americans believe the Palestinians shouldn’t recognize Israel. And not only do Americans support Israel, they expect their leaders to support Israel as well. Some 50.9% of Americans are more likely to vote for a staunchly pro-Israel candidate, and only 25.2% are less likely to do so. Fifty-three percent of Americans say they could not vote for an anti- Israel candidate even if they agreed with the candidate’s positions on most other issues. As for Obama’s treatment of Israel, some 42.7% of Americans believe that the president’s Middle East policies harm Israel’s security, and only 29.6% believe that they are improving Israel’s security situation. Some 51.6% of Americans believe that Obama is less friendly towards Israel than his predecessors have been. Only 35.4% believe that he is as friendly towards Israel as his predecessors were.
The United Nations is an official mockery. We now have Daffy Qaddafi on the United Nations Human Rights Council, a dictator responsible for all sorts of murder and chicanery, while Israel becomes the new international pariah. Forget the Congo rape, the lopping of of noses, honor killing and genital mutilation rampant in the arab world, we all know who the real enemy is. The little country trying to protect itself from a huge enemy that refuses to recognize it's right to exist. Forget China and its human rights record. They hold the mortgage. And our once steadfast ally Israel is marginalized and left on its own to battle the entire world. With the blessings of the Obama Administration, I guess. Honestly I don't know where they really stand. If I was Netanyahu, I would be spending more than a few sleepless nights wondering about the reliability of my american "friend." Because talk is cheap with this administration.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like Israel was better off with W in the White House.

windowdancer said...

"Change you can believe in" for sure. Oh... Now I finally get what Chris Matthews was talking about when he said "I Felt This Thrill Going Up My Leg" as Obama spoke.

Or as the guy on the A-Team used to say... I love it when a plan comes together.