Today, the UN Security Council voted to end settlement activity in Israel. The UN passing anti-Israel resolutions no longer surprises me, but the fact that the US played a role in passing this resolution, leaves me hopeless. This is not about whether or not you agree or disagree with Israeli settlements. This is about Israel’s “strongest” ally vehemently dismissing the wishes of Israel’s government. This is about the UN telling a sovereign nation where its people can and cannot live – something that is unprecedented. We cannot stand by while our President and our government blatantly disrespects the leadership of the only democracy in the Middle East.
I would like to focus on something Samantha Powers, the US Ambassador to the UN stated. With all do respect Madame Ambassador, your reasoning for not vetoing the resolution is biased. You said that “the settlement problem has gotten much worse,” and began citing population increases within the settlements. Ambassador Powers, not one new legal settlement has been built since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993. The increase in population is due to reproduction and citizens who have chosen to relocate to areas that were pre-approved within current settlements prior to the 1993 agreement. Madame Ambassador, you spoke about the fact that we must think about the people this resolution effects, and you are absolutely correct. But you, Ambassador Powers, are not thinking about the Israeli lives this affects. In 2005, when Israel unilaterally withdrew all her citizens from the Gaza Strip in an unprecedented effort towards peace nearly 10,000 Israeli civilians were left without a home. Today, over 11 years later, many of those same citizens still do not have a home and Gaza continues to be one of Israel’s most violent borders. So, Ambassador Powers, please tell me how you plan to remove what is, according to you, hundreds of thousands of people from their homes and relocate them? How do you want to remove them from everything they know, from their community, and find a new life for them to live? Who is going to pay for the cost of finding thousands of families new homes? Furthermore, how will you ensure that more Israeli lives are not lost as a result of this resolution?
I am not stating that I agree with the settlement project. I am not stating that I disagree with the settlement project. I am simply stating that the issue is much more complicated than we would like to make it seem. I am stating that the UN has told a sovereign nation how to govern, and that the United States played a role in allowing it to do so. I am stating utter disappointment with my government for failing to stand by the Jewish state.
According to Natan Sharansky, former chairman of the Jewish agency, there are three types of criticism regarding Israel that can be considered anti-Semitism: delegitimization, dehumanization, and double-standard. Criticizing Israel and her government is perfectly acceptable, as is criticizing any other nation, unless it falls into one of these three categories. Today, as most days at the UN, Israel was held to a double-standard. Today, as most days, the UN took an anti-Semitic stance. But today was different from all other days because today, the United States of America supported this double-standard. Today, I am disappointed in my leadership, and fearful of its future.