Dear Mr. President,
Remember me? That father of 3 kids from Rehovot who wrote that Open Letter to you at the end of March 2010, on my people’s concerns about Iran? I didn’t think I’d be writing to you again but after last Friday night’s UN disgrace, here I am.
I am trying to imagine where you are and how you reacted to last Friday night’s UN Security Council condemnation. I hear you are in Kailua, Hawaii for Christmas. I hear that your family’s Christmas vacations have cost US taxpayers more than $35 million over the past 8 years. That’s no business of mine really, some may say, but it is. You see, there has always been a startling incongruence between what you say, and what you do.
I imagine you sitting there in a floral shirt, mom jeans, and a sweet alcoholic drink with an umbrella in it. And a smug look of satisfaction and hollow achievement on your face. Once again, your arrogance has blinded you from seeing things with clarity. Last Friday night’s farcical UN drama is symbolic of your entire presidency: cowardly, ineffective and utterly meaningless.
Let’s take stock of your foreign policy record. Despite receiving a Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, you leave the world stage in a far worse situation than when you entered it. You have left the Middle East in tatters. You have soiled relations with the Israelis, the Saudis, the Egyptians and the Jordanians. When sanctions on Iran were finally having the desired effect, you secretly and without the knowledge of Congress, closed with them a multi-billion dollar deal . You broke the golden rule of hostage negotiations, and entered into cash-for-prisoners transactions. On your watch, you abandoned one of your own ambassadors, leaving him and his defenders to die. And then despicably blamed the spontaneous riot on some unheard of Youtube movie. You pulled out far too early in places where US presence was most needed, inviting ISIS to fill the vacuum. In other places that required immediate action and intervention, you displayed paralysis and awkward indecision. History will note the price of your inaction, but you can ask any Syrian or refugee in Europe, or the Europeans who are taking them in. For they are paying the price. You drew meaningless lines in the sand. Lines which were crossed without hesitation by a Russian President who saw one thing clearly. Your lack of credibility. Paraphrasing Stinger in Top Gun: “Your mouth is writing checks your integrity can’t cash!”
Now let’s review what happened in the last week at the UN. Hollywood scriptwriters would not have been able to dream up a more fantastic drama. Word on the street has it that a couple of weeks ago your administration met with senior Egyptian and Palestinian officials and cooked up this shameful resolution. It was proposed by the Egyptians who are currently sitting on the Security Council. When the Israelis and Trump’s folks got wind of it, they succeeded in convincing Egyptian President El-Sisi to postpone the resolution until next month’s council meeting. Your team, not to be outdone, then convinced four other countries on the Security Council – Malaysia, New Zealand, Senegal and Venezuela – to take up Egypt’s proposal as their own, and put it up for a vote. And then – watch closely – the US ABSTAINED in the vote. This is the purest form of cowardice, hypocrisy and lack of integrity.
Now we all know how the UN Vote on Resolution 2334 against Israel went: 14 in favor, none against – and the cowardly US abstention, but what does it all mean? There are 4 points worth noting:
(1) There have been many such unanimous resolutions against Israel. Like Resolution 497, also a “December Resolution”, in 1981. This was adopted unanimously, and declared that Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights “was null and void and without international legal effect”. So? It hasn’t stopped me and my kids from trekking this beautiful region and skiing in the Hermon mountains. It has however stopped ISIS rebels, who would probably be swimming in the Sea of Galilee. Fortunately we here in Israel pay little attention to UN resolutions with the seriousness that they do not deserve. Like the Golan resolution, last night’s resolution made a lot of noise, but little else. It was passed under Section 6 of the UN Charter, which means it is non-binding. It does not include any coercive mechanisms or sanctions if the Israelis choose to ignore it.
(2) What does it say about the standing and credibility of the UN and its bodies? Isn’t the single most pressing need on the world stage right now Syria? How can the UN be taken seriously when it chooses to devote so much attention to Jews building in the Land of their Heritage instead of time in resolving the Syrian crisis. Israel-bashing is a covert form of Jew bashing. We get it. And it doesn’t weaken us. It strengthens us.
(3) Following on from the end of the last point, if you know the Trump psyche [or most human psyche for that matter], what occurred last night in the UN was done without the support of the US congress. It angered Republicans and Democrats alike. Was this your way of trying to settle one final personal score – against Bibi, Israel and my people? And like your mom-jeans, it was a “girly-swing”, and will only strengthen Trump’s resolve in making real changes in the Israel and the Middle East. Just watch.
(4) Last Friday night’s US-orchestrated UN resolution just called Israeli building in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City a violation of International Law. Let that sink in for a moment. For centuries my people – Jews – lived and thrived in the cities of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Each in their own time, they were persecuted, ghettoed, pogromed and holocausted. No matter in which city or which time period, one thing was common. The chant: “Jews go home”.
My Christmas message to you is a simple one:
“We ARE home. Gone are the days where you – or any individual, government or international body – will dictate our borders, how we live or where we choose to build”.
Enjoy your daiquiri Barry!