INTO THE FRAY: The UN vote on Jerusalem: A disturbing diplomatic debacle

For your perusal, my latest INTO THE FRAY column:

The UN vote on Jerusalem: A disturbing diplomatic debacle

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When India supports an anti-Israel resolution, while Croatia, Romania, and Ukraine do not—invoking ingrained anti-Semitism rings somewhat hollow, and alternative explanations are called for

It appears this week on the following sites (in alphabetical order):


Several short excerpts:

The General Assembly …[a]ffirms that any decisions and actions which purport to have altered the character, status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded … and in this regard, calls upon all States to refrain from the establishment of diplomatic missions in the Holy City of Jerusalem—Excerpt from UN General Assembly resolution ES-10/L.22, December 21, 2017 proposed by Yemen and Turkey, demanding that the US retract its decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The U.N. General Assembly on Thursday overwhelmingly passed a measure rejecting the Trump administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a stunning rebuke of a U.S. decision that allies and adversaries alike warned would undermine prospects for peace – Washington Post, December 21, 2017

A consensus means that everyone agrees to say collectively what no one believes individually…If Algeria introduced a resolution declaring that the earth was flat and that Israel had flattened it, it would pass by a vote of 164 to 13 with 26 abstentions – Abba Eban, Israel’s Foreign Minister, 1966-74.

On Thursday, December 21, 2017, the world—almost unanimously—voted against the Jews and their nation-state, Israel.

Reprehensible resolution

On that day, the United Nations General Assembly, in an Emergency Session, voted by an overwhelming majority in favor of a resolution so absurd that it would be inconceivable in almost any other context in which Jews were not those singled out by it for rebuke.  It was a reprehensible resolution!…

Double disgrace

The decision—affirmed by 128 member states and opposed by 9, with 35 abstaining and 21 absenting themselves from the vote—to deem US recognition of Jerusalem (albeit within undefined borders) “null and void” was a double disgrace.

Firstly, it was a mark of shame for all the countries that did not oppose it—including those who abstained and/or absented themselves from the vote. But there was another element of disgrace attached to the results of UN vote on Jerusalem, and it is one that Israel, itself, must bear…

Raining on the parade: What if Hillary had won?

US ambassador to UN, Samantha Power, refraining from veto on anti-Israel resolution
US ambassador to UN, Samantha Power, refraining from veto on anti-Israel resolution

Of course, I do not wish to “rain on the parade” and diminish the significance of the diplomatic victory entailed in the Trump administration’s decision to acknowledge the indisputable facts on the ground and recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital…However, this fortunate outcome is hardly the result of Israel’s diplomatic strategy, but rather the unexpected outcome of the 2016 presidential election in the US…Indeed, one shudders to think of what would have happened, if ,as widely predicted, Hillary Clinton had won…

Cold comfort

Trump & Netanyahu: Alone against the world?
Trump & Netanyahu: Alone against the world?
For the results of vote were in fact far worse than the mere numerical tally—in itself dismaying enough—would suggest. For the fact that nine nations voted against the resolution is cold comfort indeed. After all, out of those nine, two were Israel and the US themselves, against whom resolution was directed. Of the remaining seven, a majority—four—were tiny and remote islands in the Pacific

Inexcusably and inexplicably remiss

For years Israel has been inexcusably and inexplicably remiss in presenting its case to the world and equally remiss in undermining and discrediting that of its Arab adversaries…

This dangerous disregard is best reflected by two grave lacunae: (a) the hopelessly inadequate resources devoted to Israeli diplomacy in general and to public diplomacy in particular; and (b) Israel’s official embrace of “Palestinian nationhood” and its consequent reluctance to delegitimize the fallacious narrative on which it is based, and the mendacious myths that underpin it.

The stirring annals of Zionist endeavor

Arab Legion of Wall os the Old City of Jerusalem prior to 1967
Arab Legion of Wall on the Old City of Jerusalem prior to 1967

What makes a resolution voiding and nullifying Israel’s claim to Jerusalem as its capital particularly galling, is the total obfuscation…of the conditions that reigned in the city prior to it falling to Israel in the Six-Day War… But Israel has been partially complicit—at least passively—in permitting this perverse state of affairs to emerge—at least by default—and allowing pejorative connotations to be attached to the word “Zionism”.

After all, the rebirth of Jewish nationhood and the annals of Zionist endeavor are, undoubtedly, one of most stirring chapters of modern history

Diplomatic incompetence not inherent anti-Semitism?

… when a country like India, whose history is virtually devoid of any anti-Semitism, disappointingly supports the resolution, while countries like Croatia, Romania, and Ukraine, whose histories are replete with such infamy, do not, then invoking ingrained anti-Semitism rings somewhat hollow—and alternative, or at least supplementary, explanations are called for—like diplomatic incompetence for example.

“Israel…has vacated the battlefield of ideas”

In an incisive and insightful interview on Israel television several years ago, prominent British journalist, Melanie Phillips, excoriated Israel’s public diplomacy (hasbarah) as a “joke” and contended that in that, in the fight for world opinion, Israel had “vacated the battle field of ideas” …Today’s leadership should heed her words…After all, no-one knows who the next White House incumbent will be—or when his/hers incumbency will begin…

As usual your talkbacks/comments/critiques welcome,
Best wishes,

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