Josef Olmert

Umm-[UN] May Be Shmumm But Not This Time

Israelis like to hate the UN, and for good reasons. All the deep-seated feelings of generations of antisemitism and double standards about Jews and Israel have been channeled through the everyday operation and political resolutions of this organization about us. Yes, there was the Partition Resolution from 29 November 1947, but not anything good since then. So, no wonder that the Israelis have developed their dark humor about the UN, starting with no other than THE founding father, David Ben Gurion, of all people, who related to the Umm Schmumm . Well, Ben Gurion said, so Ben Gurion knew what he said, but he also said, that , the role of a leader is to say to his people not what they Want to hear, but what they NEED to hear, which is the truth.

Today, more than ever, we need to realize that the Umm Schmumm has teeth, they can bite, bite hard and painful and Israel
can be very soon on the receiving end of all that.

Here is some context- Israel has until now survived the actual damage which the UN can cause not through anything like creative diplomacy on our part, or the sense of morality afflicting states when they come to vote on Israel. Not also any divine intervention helped us , but something else. It has been the American veto power in the Security Council , this and nothing else.

This has worked for us even in times when relations between our Prime Ministers and American Presidents were sour, such as with Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush. It has worked for us also under Barack Hussein Obama , but it may no more. ”Something” is brewing up, something by way of a UN Security Council resolution about the Palestinians which will be phrased in a binding way , will be bad to Israel, and will NOT be vetoed by the Obama Administration.

I have no secret sources of information, but there is no need for any secrecy in this case. There is so much buzz in the Liberal media in the US about that, the NYT specifically calls for exactly such scenario to happen, and the NYT has long been the megaphone of Obama with regard to Israel, and beyond all that , there are three more supportive elements. First, let us review the frequency, intensity and ferocity of the White House statements against anything done and said by the Israeli Government with regard to Judea and Samaria.

This can be easily dismissed as venting frustrations with Netanyahu, showing how unpopular he is in the corridors of the White House and the State Department , but no more. Maybe, but maybe not, and that leads to the second element-the Obama legacy. When it comes to the Middle East, is the legacy only the Iran nuclear deal which has been resented by many Arab countries, or is it also about the Palestinian issue? I, for one, believe those who argue, that Obama wants to leave a legacy which can also be supported by all the Arabs, and yes, sadly enough , also by many Jews.

Just imagine the celebrations of J Street, Rabbis for the Palestinians [those who are also called Rabbis for Human Rights, Tru’a and others], Beinart, Thomas Friedman and all the rest of the chorus, when the resolution will pass and the US will not veto it, and the explanation for not vetoing will be the third element. It is, that the US fulfills its obligation to Israel’s security with the recently -signed Security Aid Package , which was hailed by Netanyahu as the best evidence of the special relations with the US , and at the same time, fulfills its long-standing commitment to the Two States Solution , which , on record, Netanyahu is in support of.

A resolution like that will be presented to the Security Council only after 8 November, not by the US, say by France, and can and will be approved with American abstention, not before an enthusiastic speech by the American Ambassador praising the alliance between the US and Israel. Such a resolution will call for a Palestinian State in the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its Capital, will emphasize the fact, that 2017 is the 50th anniversary of the 1967 war, will set a time limit for the Israeli-Palestinian talks and will be phrased in a way which will entail the possibility of sanctions against Israel. The word sanctions may be the elephant in the room, but when there is no American veto , and with a Clinton Administration with strong likelihood of Democratically-controlled Congress, Israel will be pushed to the corner like never before.

Speculation? Scare tactics? Lefty propaganda? well, maybe all the above, none of it, or still a likely scenario reflecting the gradual deterioration of relations between Israel and the US in the last eight years, reflected also in the on-going erosion in the influence and strength of the pro-Israel community in the US. What can be done to preclude all that? We may be in the twelfth hour, but at least three things can be relevant here. First, let us be aware of the scenario. Second, let us evade stupid, unnecessary provocations against the Obama Administration in the time left until 20 January 2017. Humility from Israeli leaders? difficult to expect, but miracles can happen. Third, let us take up Egypt’s open initiative to resume talks with Abbas, who may not have an incentive to do that , if he expects the scenario just described, but will have to reconsider if the US will be convinced that Netanyahu is serious about talks.

About the Author
Dr Josef Olmert, a Middle East expert, is currently an adjunct professor at the University of South Carolina