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Pro-Israel Groups Seek to Deter Obama at UN

Jacob Kornbluh

Will President Barack Obama oppose or veto anti-Israel resolutions before he leaves office?

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

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STANDING TOGETHER Duvi Honig, John Bolton, and Dr. Joseph Frager team up to take Israel's side at the UN (Photo: Jacob Kornbluh)

W ith fewer than 40 days remaining before Donald Trump enters the Oval Office, several Jewish organizations gathered on Sunday in front of the United Nations to urge President Barack Obama to oppose or veto anti-Israel resolutions at the world body before he leaves office. 

The press conference was headlined by former UN Ambassador John Bolton and organized by the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), the National Council of Young Israel, and Duvi Honig of the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce.

“President-elect Trump deserves the right and the opportunity to do what he can do in the Middle East,” said Dr. Joseph Frager, a pro-Israel activist who served as emcee of the event. “The president of the US had eight years to do what he wanted to do and it hasn’t been that successful, unfortunately. But in the last days of his presidency to bring about a resolution that only obfuscates and makes peace that much harder to attain is not a rational approach. We plead with the president: he’s vetoed resolutions in the past, we ask him to veto other resolutions as well.” Several resolutions are under consideration by members of the UN Security Council, from condemning Israeli settlements to recognizing an independent Palestinian state, to setting “parameters” for a final peace settlement. The administration has indicated that it may support a more moderate resolution that reinforces longstanding US policy on the peace process.

Trump’s recent nomination of South Carolina governor Nikki Haley as the US ambassador to the UN has been described as “reassuring to Israel” by Senator Lindsey Graham. Haley was the first US governor to sign anti-BDS legislation.

Aaron Klein, a radio talk show host and the Jerusalem bureau chief for Breitbart News, called the UN effort to impose a solution on the two parties a “diplomatic assault” on Israel. Instead, he suggested that the UN should consider dismantling Palestinian refugee camps in the region before lecturing Israel on human rights and peace.

Ambassador Bolton maintained that a UN resolution supported by the Obama administration could have very serious repercussions for Israel and stability in the Middle East. “What we are talking about now are efforts that have been ongoing for a long time to create facts on the ground in the United Nations to pursue the fiction that resolutions across 1st Avenue really have an impact on lasting peace. It hasn’t been true for 50 years, it is not true today, and it won’t be true for the next month either.”

In October, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Israeli right-wing parties that any “unwise conduct” regarding settlements in the transition period could “endanger the entire settlement enterprise.” Last week, the Knesset passed a bill that would legalize outposts in the West Bank, which the Obama administration called “really concerning.”

But according to Bolton, Israeli settlement activity “should not be an issue for the United States” when considering whether to support a UN resolution on the conflict. “It’s a question of maintaining the fundamental principle that peace and security can only arise on a permanent basis when the parties themselves agree,” he asserted.

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