Tuesday, October 20, 2009

President Obama: Do not forsake Israel.


by Isi Leibler

The disgusting behavior by the vast majority of members of the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) in relation to the Goldstone Report was no surprise. An international body with an automatic majority of Arab and rogue states was not expected to display even a modicum of balance in relation to Israel. It is obscene that an organization dominated by representatives of tyrannies is entitled to employ a title, including the term "human rights", which represents the absolute antithesis of the behavior of its constituents.

In this case, the Israel bashers did not even bother to go through the routine of mentioning Hamas, concentrating their bile exclusively on Israel.

What is far more shocking is that, despite their penchant for sanctimonious statements, most of the West Europeans lacked the courage to oppose the resolution. The British and French who claim to be friends of Israel behaved appallingly by failing to lodge any vote.

But the real issue is how will the United States respond?  In line with his re-engagement policy President Obama reversed the Bush administration boycott of the United Nations Human Rights Commission. He predicted that US involvement would positively influence the behavior of the Commission. Clearly that has failed and even proven to be counterproductive.

More worrying is the somewhat understated response of the US, not merely to the vote of the UNHRC but to the Goldstone report itself. The US efforts were primarily limited to preventing the Goldstone report being referred to the Security Council. The Americans appear to have been desperate to avoid using their veto power and being perceived as supporting Israel. In fact, some US spokespeople have been ambivalent as to whether the US would actually invoke its veto at the Security Council.

The muted response by the US to the effect that the Goldstone report was unbalanced and that a UNHRC vote endorsing the report would be counterproductive to the peace process is surely not enough. To date, there has been no forthright condemnation of the report by President Obama, his UN representative, or any member of his administration. One would expect a genuine friend of Israel in the White House to reiterate that the State of Israel should enjoy the same rights as any democracy in the conduct of war, no less than the rights afforded to NATO forces in the former Yugoslavia and US and British forces in Afghanistan. All the more so, in a war of self defense, following thousands of rocket attacks on its civilian population.

Obama's failure to stand by Israel is all the more damning in light of the submission to the UNHRC by the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, Colonel Richard Kemp, who unequivocally stated that "the IDF did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare".

Instead of outrightly repudiating the Goldstone report, the US administration has in fact given the report credibility by publicly urging Israel to hold "independent" investigations of alleged war crimes. And just in case the US vote against the UNHRC resolution could be interpreted as being too slanted towards Israel, US National Security Adviser, General James Jones, has now reiterated the demand that Israel end the blockade of Gaza, even prior to Gilad Shalit being released.

There have even been vague hints that instead of vetoing the resolution at the UN Security Council, the US may merely seek to amend and moderate it. Or just as shocking, the US could use its veto power as leverage to force more unilateral concessions from Israel.

Should that happen, Israelis would rightly feel that they had been betrayed and effectively thrown to the dogs by a President who had repeatedly guaranteed he would stand by the Jewish State.

The Goldstone report is not merely a vehicle by which those who defend mass murder in Darfur seek to delegitimize the Jewish state and transform it into the world's foremost pariah. It is far more dangerous. It is the vehicle by which the UNHRC is unashamedly and cynically seeking to embolden and empower terrorists attacking Israel and its civilians by denying Israel's legitimate right to self-defense.

President Obama. In relation to all the assurances and undertakings you made prior to your election, do not forsake Israel. Now is a time for you to stand up and be counted.


Isi Leibler
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.


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