December 27, 2016
Obama Flips Off Israel at the U.N. and Assumes the Jimmy Carter Mantle as Israel’s “Friendliest” Worst Enemy
Dear Friend of FLAME:
Are you excited about Donald Trump’s upcoming presidency . . . or depressed? Did you love Barack Obama or hate him? When it comes to Israel, it shouldn’t matter.
Following last week’s FLAME Hotline, in which we welcomed the stated positions of Donald Trump’s presumptive new U.S. ambassador to Israel, we received letters of outrage, decrying FLAME’s (alleged) support of President-elect Donald Trump.
Just for the record—because it’s critically important—let me declare FLAME’s position on elected officials one more time for all our supporters.
FLAME is a non-partisan organization—our board members and staff come from both major parties, and they presumably voted for their party’s respective candidate. In this sense, FLAME as an organization doesn’t care who the President is, and we don’t make blanket judgments about any President.
What we care about is that the President do the right thing for Israel. Of course, FLAME has many opinions about U.S. policy toward Israel. We were happy to praise Mr. Obama for the generous funding he approved for Israel during his terms, as well as vetoes of certain U.N. resolutions; but we condemn him for his Iran deal and his assertion that settlements are the key obstacle to an Israeli-Palestinian peace.
As for Mr. Trump, we don’t know what his actions will be, but so far we approve of many of the positions he’s stated. Despite FLAME’s neutrality with regard to Americans’ choice for President, many of our supporters take it personally if we praise or criticize their party’s candidate. But our position is principled. We believe support of Israel must remain bipartisan, and we’re sticking to that policy.
In other words, we call ‘em as we see ‘em—based on how each policy supports U.S. and Israeli interests—regardless of political affiliation. In other words, please check your party credentials at the door—and focus with us on what’s best for Israel and the United States.
Which brings us to the momentous U.N. drama this past week. The short version: Last Thursday, Egypt brings to the U.N. Security Council a resolution condemning Israel for its “settlement” activity and calling construction outside the so-called 1967 “borders” illegal. Under pressure from Donald Trump, who doesn’t want his relationship with Israel or the Palestinians tainted by such a one-sided resolution, Egypt withdraws the resolution.
However, on Friday four other nations resuscitate the resolution and present it. Despite the opinion of most Americans, who oppose such unilateral pronouncements against Israel, plus specific, overwhelming opposition in both houses of Congress, U.N. Ambassador Samantha Powers issues a statement supporting the resolution, and the U.S. abstains—which allows the resolution to pass.
In response, many Democrats, like Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, and Republicans, like Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, expressed outrage at President Obama’s U.N. action. Nearly every American Israel advocacy group (except the infamous J Street) issued statements of dismay. In Israel, politicians from all corners of the political spectrum, including Prime Minister Netanyahu, accused the President of betraying the Jewish state.
FLAME hereby adds its voice condemning Mr. Obama for disobeying the will of the American people and Congress, attempting to poison the U.S.-Israel relationship and damaging chances for an Israeli-Palestinian peace.
In these final days, we see a President, who, despite claims of his unshakeable support of Israel, finally reveals himself as a worthy heir to the throne of chief Israel detractor, now possessed by former President Jimmy Carter.
Even worse, President Obama’s justifications for allowing the U.N. resolution to pass are based on patently flimsy ideological, rather than factual, premises. Specifically, the settlements are not the obstacle to peace, but rather it is the Palestinians’ refusal to accept the Jewish state, plus their intractable demand that up to five million (faux) Palestinian “refugees” be allowed to emigrate to Israel (thus swamping the Jewish nation with Arab Muslims).
Mr. Obama would have been smarter—and fairer—to support a U.N. resolution demanding a realistic commitment from the Palestinians to peace (like renunciation of their goal of destroying Israel), rather than censuring the Jewish state, which has made numerous offers and gestures of peace to the Palestinians, all snubbed.
This week’s FLAME Hotline-featured article, by renowned Harvard emeritus law professor, political liberal and tireless defender of Israel, Alan M. Dershowitz, who decries Mr. Obama’s hypocritical, undemocratic and ultimately futile gesture to secure a foreign policy legacy. Dershowitz pulls no punches as he deconstructs the misbegotten U.N. resolution and the damage it does to the U.S., Israel, his own party and the Palestinians themselves by the President’s malicious parting shot.
You’ll find this short article useful as you explain to friends and colleagues why Mr. Obama has been one of the worst Presidents for Israel and why we must continue working hard to ensure that Mr. Trump—despite a promising early indicators—doesn’t make his own set of mistakes in the Middle East.
Finally, I hope you’ll also quickly review the P.S. immediately below, which describes FLAME’s current hasbarah campaign to expose the Palestinians’ funding of Islamic terrorists using U.S. taxpayer dollars.
Peace-hindering UN resolution that U.S. failed to veto leads Palestine to think it can bypass talks with Israel
By Alan M. Dershowitz, New York Daily News, December 23, 2016
It is now illegal for Jews to pray at the Western Wall, live in certain Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem or attend Hebrew University on Mt. Scopus.
All of these actions require Israelis to enter areas that were captured from Jordan during Israel's defensive war of 1967. According to the Security Council resolution that the U.S. did not veto, any area that was not part of Israel before June of 1967 is now illegally occupied.
This is only one of the absurd results of this benighted resolution, which also encourages boycotts of Israeli products manufactured beyond the so-called Green Line, and pressures the International Criminal Court to prosecute Israeli officials. In addition, the resolution makes illegal Israel's security barrier, which has saved numerous lives.
But the most dangerous consequence of this resolution is that it makes peace much more difficult to achieve because it sends a false message to the Palestinians that they can achieve a state through the United Nations rather than through direct negotiations with Israel.
The Palestinian leadership has refused to accept Prime Minister Netanyahu's offer to negotiate without preconditions, and this refusal has now been rewarded. The resolution neglects to mention that Israel offered the Palestinians a state, an end to the occupation and settlements, and peace in 2000 - 2001 as well as in 2008, but the Palestinian leadership did not accept either of these offers. They will continue in this rejectionist mode, fortified by this one sided resolution.
Why then did President Obama, in his parting days, tie the hands of his successor? He was certainly not reflecting the will of the people or of congress. Both the Senate and the House are strongly opposed to this resolution, as are many people within the Obama administration.
Nor is this an issue on which Israelis are divided. There is no Israeli leader who supports this resolution.
President Obama would never have allowed it to go forward before the recent presidential election, but now that he has nothing at stake he can place his personal interests above those of the country, his party and peace. He may believe that this action (or inaction) will burnish his legacy, but he is wrong. It will only solidify his reputation as one of the worst foreign policy presidents in modern history. A president who bears significant responsibility for the tragedy of Syria, the empowerment of Russia and Iran, and the weakening of America's standing in the world.
There are many who believe that he allowed this resolution to be enacted as a way of getting even with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, but a president should never act on personal pique or on a desire to get even with those who he believes have crossed him.
This is a sad day for America, for Israel and for the prospects of peace in the Middle East. Congress can try to ameliorate the tragic effects of this resolution and untie the hands of the incoming President. It can and should enact legislation declaring that it is the policy of the United States that the only road to peace between Israel and the Palestinians is by direct negotiation and not through the U.N., and that this resolution does not represent the policy of the United States.
The legislation should also prohibit the expenditure, directly or indirectly, of any U.S. funds to implement this resolution.
President Obama would not sign such a law, but President Trump would likely do so. This legislation should be enacted by an overwhelming bipartisan vote, since Congressional Democrats and Republicans alike have expressed opposition to Obama's refusal to veto the resolution.
It is important that bipartisanship over Israel continue despite recent efforts to end it by turning the Democratic party against Israel.
Israel will survive this resolution as it has survived many other biased attacks. The real question is: Can the peace process survive? There is little doubt that this resolution has not contributed to peace, to the status of the U.N., to the reputation of President Obama or to basic decency.
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