Saturday, December 24, 2016

Some Comments By US Leaders and Others on the UN Resolution

The resolution that passed the UN Security Council yesterday was originally going to be put up for a vote the day before. Egypt, which had put the resolution up for a vote, withdrew the measure before any vote could be taken. It was said that Israel pressured Egypt to withdraw the resolution. More likely, however, Egypt acted based on a telephone call between Egyptian President al-Sisi and US President-Elect Donald Trump. Al-Sisi has not been on good terms with Obama, because, as head of the military he overthrew the elected government of the Muslim Brotherhood, a terrorist group supported by Obama. Presumably, al-Sisi wanted a better relationship with Trump. Trump had Tweeted that the proposed resolution should be vetoed.

Unfortunately, the next day - yesterday - Senegal and New Zealand returned the measure to the Council for a vote. Voting for the measure were the UK, France, Russia, China, New Zealand, Senegal, Venezuela, Malaysia, Uruguay, Angola, Egypt, Japan, Spain and the Ukraine. The US, which had the power to veto the measure, abstained. Following the vote, Trump Tweeted: "As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th."

Republican Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, called approval of the resolution "absolutely shameful." Added Ryan: "Today's vote is a blow to peace that sets a dangerous precedent for further diplomatic efforts to isolate and demonize Israel." Ryan: "Our united Republican government will work to reverse the damage done by this administration, and rebuild our alliance with Israel."

Ironically, US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, in a speech justifying the US abstention, said this: "For the simple truth is that for as long as Israel has been a member of this institution, Israel has been treated differently from other nations at the United Nations." As Israel was admitted to the UN in 1949, this means that the UN has shown their anti-Semitic bias long before Israel controlled the West Bank beginning in 1967. Power went on to note that in September, 2016 alone the UN General Assembly passed 18 anti-Israel measures. In 2016 the UN Human Rights Council passed 12 anti-Israel measures - "more than those focused on Syria, North Korea, Iran and South Sudan put together," per Powers. But neither Obama nor Kerry nor Power apparently saw the irony in the US then supporting yet another anti-Semitic anti-Israel measure.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this: "At a time when the Security Council does nothing to stop the slaughter of half a million people in Syria, it disgracefully gangs up on the one true democracy in the Middle East, Israel, and calls the Western Wall 'occupied territory.'"

Former US Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, said it best (as he usually does): "This was a stab in the back against the Israelis. It was entirely predictable. I would say this, for people in the pro-Israel community in the United States who defended Obama's Middle East policy over these last eight years - you should have seen this coming...this is what you get for supporting Barack Obama." I take no joy in the fact that, along with some conservative friends, I did see this coming. What prevented so many in the Jewish community from seeing?

So, now the question is - what should the Trump Administration and the Republican Congress do after January 20th? First, I want to say that, notwithstanding any misgivings I may have had about Trump (even though I voted for him) I thank G-d that he won. I do not believe Hillary would have done anything to try to counter the effects of the UN resolution, and likely would have vetoed bills trying to reverse the damage done to Israel. I also thank G-d that the Republicans control Congress and that Paul Ryan is the Speaker.

Here is my wish list. I would like to see the US withhold all further funding from the UN until such time as the Security Council votes to overturn this measure. I would like to see the US immediately cease any and all funding to the Palestinian Authority. And I would like to see President Trump declare to the world that the United States has no intention of complying with this measure. Lastly, I would hope that President Trump declares to the world that any military attack on any land controlled by Israel will be considered an attack on the United States. Israelis have never requested that, confident in their abilities to defend themselves. But such a statement of solidarity with Israel from the world's superpower would do much to deter those who might seek to ignite yet another Middle Eastern war in yet another effort to wipe Israel off the map. And it would make it very clear that there is only way towards peace.

The United States Abandons Israel at the United Nations

On December 23, 2016, Obama exacted his pound of flesh from Israel. Our closest ally in the Middle East, one of our closest allies in the world, and the only democracy in the Middle East - Israel - was unanimously condemned by the UN Security Council, in a resolution that the Truth-Uncensored has feared for months, if not years. In a 14-0 vote, with the United States abstaining, the Security Council essentially laid out the parameters of a Palestinian state, with the US giving up on longstanding policy that any resolution must be negotiated between the two sides. As this blog anticipated, Obama waited until after the US election to betray Israel.

In pertinent part, the resolution said the UN "reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity, and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-state solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace."

And the UN "reiterates its demand that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and that it fully respect all of its legal obligations in this regard, underlines that it will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines including with regards to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations."

Finally, the UN "calls upon all states, bearing in mind paragraph 1 of this resolution, to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967."

For all intents and purposes, this UN resolution establishes a Palestinian state on the pre-war 1967 borders - the 1967 war being yet another war in which Israel had to defend itself against the surrounding Arab countries. As a reminder, Israel won that war, capturing the Sinai, Gaza, the West Bank and the Golan Heights. Israel has since returned the Sinai to Egypt, and withdrawn from Gaza. The pre-war 1967 boundaries are simply the armistice lines existing at the end of Israel's war for independence, fought from 1948 to 1949, against the surrounding Arab countries. There is nothing special about the so-called 1967 lines.

Having declared the boundaries of a Palestinian state, which includes "East Jerusalem," who actually thinks the Palestinians now have any reason to sit and negotiate with the Israelis? Before the 1967 war, Jordan controlled the West Bank, including the area referred to as "East Jerusalem." There never was a Palestinian state that existed on that land, or any land. The Holy Old City is in East Jerusalem. The Western Wall (the Kotel) of the Second Temple is in East Jerusalem - and has now been declared by the UN to be Palestinian territory. When the Arabs under Jordan controlled the Old City, not only were Jews denied access to the Western Wall, the Arabs destroyed Jewish holy sites in the West Bank.

The UN resolution says the boundary lines may be changed only by "negotiations" between the parties. Does any sane person believe that the Palestinians will be willing to negotiate away control of the Old City, where the Al-Aksa Mosque sits? Does any sane person believe that Israel will ever, short of defeat in war, give up their control of the Kotel and the Old City? Obama abstained from a resolution that not only increases the chances for war, but takes away from the Jews the holiest sites in Judaism. There is no explanation for that other than the age-old one of anti-Semitism. It mattered not to the UN or Obama that under Israeli control all religions have had access to their holy sites in the Old City.

But the UN was not done yet. With the last paragraph quoted above, the UN has now put itself fully behind the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) movement. Yes, the resolution claims to distinguish between the State of Israel inside the 1967 boundaries and the land controlled by Israel outside of those boundaries. But who really thinks most countries and NGOs are actually going to make that distinction? Besides. a boycott of Israeli products made in the West Bank hurts not only Israel, but the Palestinians who work for Israeli companies there as well.

At this point, the Palestinians have no reason to negotiate anything. The outline of their state has been declared. As Israel is said to have no legal right to the West Bank, they have no land to exchange for peace. The Palestinians have no reason to stop their 68 year old war against Israel, and certainly have no reason to recognize Israel as the Jewish state. It is only a matter of time until the Palestinians lay out their "legal" claims to all of Israel. Thank you so much, Obama, for your hateful attitude towards the one Jewish state in the world.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Year End Reflections, Part II

Soon to be former First Lady Michelle Obama recently said this: "We are feeling what not having hope feels like." The left just can not believe that Trump won the election. In fact, right up to the last minute they have been trying to persuade/pressure the Republican members of the Electoral College to break their commitments to Trump and vote for anyone else. They will not succeed. As for the First Lady, I imagine that most of her life - other than the eight years her husband was President - has been and will continue to be a huge disappointment. After all, this was her sentiment back in 2008: "People in this country are ready for change and hungry for a different kind of politics and...for the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback."

Soon to be former Secretary-General of the United Nations recently made this stunning, albeit hardly surprising, factual admission: "Decades of political maneuverings have created a disproportionate volume of resolutions, reports and conferences criticizing Israel." In reply, Israel's ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, said: "The Secretary-General admitted the clear truth, the UN's hypocrisy towards Israel has broken records over the past decades...During this time the UN passed 223 resolutions condemning Israel while (passing) only eight resolutions condemning the Syrian regime as it has massacred its citizens over the past six years. This is absurd."

The Trump website has this: "The bond between Israel and the United States runs deep, and I will ensure there is no daylight between us when I'm president." Trump has nominated attorney and longtime adviser David Friedman to be the US ambassador to Israel. Friedman: "We trust Israel...We think it is doing an excellent job of balancing its respect for human rights and its security needs in a very difficult neighborhood. Israel is a partner with the US in the global war against terrorism."

Friedman has also said what has always been obvious to this writer: "It is inconceivable there would be mass evacuations (of the over 300,000 Jews from the West Bank) on that magnitude, in the unlikely event that there was an otherwise comprehensive peace agreement...It makes no sense for Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) to be Judenrein (free of Jews) any more than it makes sense for Israel to be Arabrein (free of Arabs). It's not fair." Under Obama and Kerry we have yet to hear any objections to Abbas' repeated assertions that no Jew may live in a new Palestinian state.

Following Clinton's loss of the electoral vote, but large popular vote victory, many on the left now want to eliminate the electoral college. In an Op-Ed in the 12/15/16 New York Times, Columbia Law School professor David Pozen referred to the electoral college as being "fundamentally undemocratic." I wonder if the professor believes that the US Senate is also "fundamentally undemocratic." After all, a state with under one million people gets the same number of senators as the State of California, which is nearing 40 million people. How is that fair? Would the professor argue for the abolition of the Senate? Would the professor push for a unicameral federal legislative body, based on proportionate representation for each state, as the House is currently constituted? Or, is the Senate yet another one of those checks and balances put into the Constitution by our Founders? The Senate tends to lend some stability to government, whereas the House - with members up for election every two years - is more likely to reflect popular sentiment of the time.

As noted by George Will in his 12/18/16 column in the Ventura County Star, Bill Clinton won the 1992 election with only 43% of the popular vote. While he did get more votes than George H. W. Bush, that was the year Ross Perot ran and got a whopping 19,743,821 votes. Together, Bush and Perot had over 56% of the votes. A large majority of the people clearly did not want Clinton to be president. But Clinton won easily with 370 electoral votes to 168 for Bush. Perot was unable to get any electoral votes.

Will explained the genius of our Founders: "So the Electoral College shapes the character of majorities by helping to generate those that are neither geographically nor ideologically narrow, and that depict, more than the popular vote does, national decisiveness." But the left wants to perpetuate both geographic (Northeast and West Coast) majorities and ideological (left-wing) majorities. The left wants to abolish the Electoral College on the assumption that their side can generate enough votes in the Northeast and West Coast - two liberal voting blocs - to maintain permanent control of the presidency.

I would love to have seen a poll asking how many on the left would have agreed that Obama should have cancelled the election if it was known to a near certainty that Trump was going to win. With all of the pressure that has been placed on the electors, I suspect that such a poll number would not be that small.

Year End Reflections, Part I

On December 8, 2016, America lost a true hero. John Glenn, born July 18, 1921, died at the age of 95. As one of the original Mercury 7 astronauts, Glenn was the first American to orbit the earth. That was in 1962 in the Friendship 7. But Glenn was also a war hero, having flown 63 combat missions in the Korean war, as well as 59 combat missions in World War II. Among his many medals was the Distinguished Flying Cross, which he actually earned 6 different times. The people of Ohio elected Glenn to the US Senate 4 times. John Glenn was truly a man who had the "right stuff."

On July 2, 2016 we also lost the moral voice of Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel. Wiesel was born September 30, 1928. He lost his mother and father and a sister to the Holocaust. In one of the rare instances that I agree with President Obama, he said this about Wiesel: "Elie Wiesel was one of the great moral voices of our time, and in many ways, the conscience of the world."

Wiesel's book, "Night," recounted the horrors of the Holocaust. "Never shall I forget that night, the first night in the camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed...Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky. Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever." But Wiesel later in life saw a restoration of his faith: "I belong to a traumatized generation that often felt abandoned by G-d and betrayed by mankind. And yet, I believe that one must not estrange oneself from either G-d or man."

This year we also saw the passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Scalia was born March 11, 1936 and died unexpectedly on February 13, 2016. His belief in "originalism," interpreting the Constitution in the way the Framers intended, would, at times, result in his siding with the liberal wing of the Court. On affirmative action he tended to be in the minority, saying: "To pursue the concept of racial entitlement - even for the most admirable and benign of purposes - is to reinforce and preserve for future mischief the way of thinking that produced race slavery, race privilege and race hatred. In the eyes of government, we are just one race here. It is American."

This year also saw the passing of a man who will not be missed, at least not by those who still have a moral compass. Fidel Castro was born August 13, 1926, and died November 25, 2016. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said: "Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation...We join the people of Cuba today in mourning the loss of this remarkable leader." Obama: "History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him."

Said Jill Stein: "Fidel Castro was a symbol of the struggle for justice in the shadow of empire." Jimmy Carter: "We (Rosalynn and I) remember fondly our visits with him in Cuba and his love of his country." UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said: "Fidel Castro's death marks the passing of a huge figure of modern history, national independence and 20th century socialism. From building a world class health and education system, to Cuba's record of international solidarity abroad, Castro's achievements were many."

So much for the left's horribly immoral view of the world. Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said: "Now that Fidel Castro is dead, the cruelty and oppression of his regime should die with him." And from President-elect Trump, whom the left hates in ways that they have never shown with regards to Castro, we heard this: "Today, the world marks the passing of a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades." I'll stick with Ryan and Trump, thank you. The left's love for dictators never ceases to amaze.

May G-d bless John Glenn, Elie Wiesel and Antonin Scalia. As for Castro, he should not be sharing the same afterlife as the other three.