Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
If any doubts remained about Obama’s malignant narcissism, historical ignorance, and geopolitical cretinism, the lame-duck-in-chief dispelled them with his abstention at the Security Council vote on a resolution slandering Israeli “settlements” as the foremost obstacle to peace. Undoing this despicable abandonment of a crucial ally should shoot to the top of incoming president Donald Trump’s to-do list.
Israeli intelligence has demonstrated that this diplomatic drive-by was orchestrated by Obama himself. “From the information that we have, we have no doubt that the Obama administration initiated it, stood behind it, coordinated on the wording and demanded that it be passed,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of what he rightly called a “shameful betrayal.” On the one hand, such back-door machinations are par for the course in the corrupt U.N. When the Bush administration in 2002 was trying to get a U.N. resolution authorizing the Iraq War, Germany lobbied non-permanent Security Council members Mexico, Chile, Cameroon, and Angola to vote against the resolution, which ultimately failed.
But German Chancellor Gerhard Schröeder had grubby political reasons for his meddling. He was running for reelection on a dismal economic record, and found a useful distraction by tapping into German anti-Americanism and reflexive pacifism. So too with France’s machinations and opposition to the war, which were aimed at ending the sanctions on Iraq so that France could get back to doing profitable business with Saddam Hussein, who in 1983 was buying half of all French arms exports.
These actions are bad enough, and are evidence that the U.N. exists to serve the interests of member countries, usually at the expense of other member countries. But Obama has no such utilitarian motives. He’s done with running for office. His reasons for betraying Israel comprise petty spite at Netanyahu for stoutly and publicly resisting Obama’s policies and actions that endanger his beleaguered country; and obeisance to left-wing historical fantasies about “colonialism,” the “two-state solution,” and Palestinian Arab “national aspirations.” In other words, the clichés one would expect from a badly educated university adjunct professor for whom left-wing bromides function as fashion statements and status assertion.
History, of course, tells a different story. There is no “Palestinian” people or “homeland.” There are Arabs whose historical homeland is the Arabian Peninsula. Any Arab living elsewhere is the descendant of invaders, colonizers, occupiers, and immigrants. There are no “occupied territories” or “borders,” but rather contested territories which are bounded by the 1967 armistice line, and the disposition of which will be decided through a negotiated settlement. The “West Bank” is a euphemism for the historical Jewish districts of Judea and Samaria. Jerusalem is not an Arab city, but for three thousand years has been the capital of the Jewish people, who have inhabited it continuously. The “settlements” are not colonial outposts created at the expense of their rightful owners, but towns and cities in the ancient Jewish homeland, most of them on land purchased from Arab landowners happy to make a profit on such barren tracts.
Nor is Israel an “illegitimate” country. Its existence is the result of international law as created by treaties, conferences, the League of Nations, and the U.N. resolution which established an Arab and a Jewish state, the latter comprising one-quarter of the territory mandated for Israel in the postwar settlement. Israel is as legitimate, and in fact even more legitimate, than the other states created in the region like Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq, or the states like Hungary, Austria, the Kingdom of Serbs and Croats, and Czechoslovakia created after the dismemberment of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Moreover, Israel has had to fight off three armed attacks against it on the part of Arab countries that disregarded the U.N. resolution, Article 39 of the U.N. Charter, and numerous international treaties. Instead they tried to win by force land given to the despised dhimmi Jews they had oppressed and dominated for over a thousand years. They tried and lost, and and in 1967 suffered the eternal wages of failed aggressors––loss of territory. Only in this case, the territory the Arabs lost was theirs only by dint of conquest, not legitimacy, and its loss was no different from the Muslim loss of Spain to the Reconquista, or from Greece’s liberation from the Ottomans in 1832. But the land won by the Israelis in the defensive war had been Jewish since the 13th century B.C.
So why this bizarre animus against Israel on the part of the West, this disdain if not hatred of what one French minister called a “shitty little country”? Short-sighted American “realists” don’t believe that defending the region’s only liberal democracy and respecter of human rights is worth antagonizing countries comprising five of the top ten global oil producers. Equally short-sighted European realists, faced with unassimilated Muslim immigrants who hate the West, think they can buy some peace (and access to Middle Eastern labor and business opportunities) by appeasing the Arabs through bullying and slandering Israel.
Leftists hate Israel because they think it is a stooge of neo-colonialist America, an outpost of imperialism oppressing the “natives,” and like America it is a graphic repudiation of leftism’s utopian delusions. Sentimental Third-Worldism prefers the exotic, quaint “other of color” and their more “authentic and vibrant” cultures over a go-getting, brash, innovative people wildly succeeding by adopting the modern Western paradigm of political freedom and open markets. Juvenile idealizers of romantic revolutionary violence are turned on by the “freedom-fighters” and a “resistance” that use action to achieve their aims, even if that violence is indiscriminate terrorism against innocents. The global diplomatic establishment sees Israel as the impediment to some grand diplomatic triumph that will validate their magical thinking about the superiority of talk over action. And don’t forget that post-Holocaust anti-Semitism has found a respectable camouflage in hating the idea of Zionism while ignoring the near-century of terrorist violence and aggression directed at flesh-and-blood Jewish people.
Whether cold calculations of interest or irrational ideological compulsions and prejudices, none of these reasons for demonizing Israel is founded on coherent principle, consistent standards of judgment, or even historical fact. The conflict is not about “settlements” or “check-points” or “national aspirations.” It’s about Islamic-sanctioned Jew hatred, and Arab humiliation and resentment of a handful of refugee Jews who developed lands bare of resources into a nation more militarily powerful and economically successful than their Arab neighbors. No “two-state solution” is going to change these ancient and deep-seated religious beliefs and psychological wounds.
But what can Trump do about it? In the long-run, he must in word and deed tell the world that the U.S. will defend Israel and ensure its security no matter what the “international community” says or does. One place to start is by punishing the U.N. for this despicable resolution by stopping the $8 billion a year we taxpayers contribute to that corrupt country club for international thugs, dictators, autocrats, and their European useful idiots. I don’t mean a token reduction like the $60 million withheld for a while from UNESCO for admitting the Palestinian Authority as a member. Cut it all off.
More importantly, this latest outrage is an opportunity to rethink this country’s participation in an organization that works against our interests and those of our allies, justifies terrorism as legitimate “resistance,” and demonizes Israel while ignoring the millions of people slaughtered in the Balkans, Rwanda, Sudan, and today in Syria. We need to repudiate the delusional belief undergirding our participation in the U.N.: that unelected, unaccountable functionaries of pygmy states and thug regimes can more justly determine the legitimacy of the United States’ foreign policy and behavior than the American people.
In reality, the legitimacy of American actions is conferred by the democratic process: the free, open debate on the part of citizens who can hold their leaders accountable and have a sense of the ideals and principles that animate our foreign policy and provide its goals. Subjecting those decisions to the corrupt deliberations of the U.N. often compromises our own interests and endangers our national security.
So punish the U.N. for damaging our ally, then start the process of getting out by withholding our dues. That will get the world’s attention and, like the thought of being hanged in a fortnight, concentrate their minds wonderfully.