Obama’s U.N. Record
Surprise: It’s not what it was supposed to be

Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the U.N. (Alex Wong/Getty)


The Goldstone pattern was repeated in the wake of the May 31, 2010, Gaza-flotilla confrontation, where the HRC voted two days after the incident to conduct another investigation of Israel. This time the vote was even worse: 32 in favor, three opposed (United States, Italy, Netherlands), and twelve abstaining or not voting (again including Britain, France, Japan, and South Korea). One can easily imagine what this latest report will say. Moreover, even after the Obama administration browbeat Israel into accepting a separate inquiry by a panel appointed by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the HRC investigation continued. That’s what “fair and balanced” means at the U.N.: two panels, one biased, one supposedly not.

Contemporaneously with the Gaza vote, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty’s pentennial-review conference was wrapping up at U.N. headquarters. Obama’s negotiators agreed to a text that, among other bad ideas, called for a meeting no later than 2012 (i.e., during Obama’s presidency) on eliminating weapons of mass destruction from the Middle East. Innocuous on the surface, the conference’s not-so-hidden agenda will be to demonize Israel for its nuclear-weapons program (long one of the world’s worst-kept secrets). The administration accepted this outcome, but later criticized the anti-Israel passages. Those unfamiliar with arcane U.N. procedures probably missed the point that Obama could have blocked adoption of any language to which he objected. To accept the document but complain about it later is at best hypocritical; “cowardly” would be a more precise description. Of course, standing by Israel, consistently with past administrations Democratic and Republican, would have roiled the review conference’s smooth waters, which explains the ease with which Obama threw our ally to the sharks.

October 4, 2010    |     Volume LXII, No. 18

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