Netanyahu ignored US warnings and brought Israel’s ‘international isolation’ on itself — Ben Rhodes

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Yesterday’s abstention by the United States in the Security Council will do nothing to bring about a two-state solution– the U.S. might as well have endorsed the existence of Santa Claus — but it has already served to isolate Israel in international opinion and hasten its path toward becoming a rogue state, and that is huge. But that’s my opinion. Let’s hear from others.

Matthew Dowd of ABC News:

Between Nixon, Reagan, Bush41, Bush43, they allowed 51 UN resolutions to pass condemning Israel. Just a bit of perspective.

Josh Marshall echoes that point.

So does Yousef Munayyer:

David Axelrod refers to the “shredding” of the two state solution.

The U.S. took right step in U.N. today. The shredding of 2-state solution has dark portents for Israel, Palestinians & peace in Middle East.

(Shredding happened on his watch; some day he will explain why Obama vetoed the last similar resolution, just before his reelection year).

Tony Karon shares my view; points out the important consequences of the vote:

Israel and Trump internationally isolated in defense of occupation

Glenn Greenwald reminds us of the consensus on Israel’s damaging influence:

Reminder: both Gen. Petraeus & Gen Mattis said US devotion to Israel endangers US security

And that American Jews will support the resolution:

A poll commissioned in Nov by J Street found US Jews overwhelmingly wanted support or abstention on UN resolution; only 27% said veto

Senator Dianne Feinstein approves and speaks of human-rights violations:

I’ve watched with growing concern the increase in Israeli settlements over the years, where approximately 400,0000 individuals now live. I believe the expansion of settlements has but one goal: to undermine the viability of a two-state solution.

“I’ve met with displaced Palestinian families who have been kicked off land they’ve lived on for many generations. The ill will that results from these settlements is a significant roadblock to peace, and I again call on Israel to end their expansion so that a two- state solution remains a possibility.”

Palestinian-Canadian lawyer Diana Buttu, in notes conveyed by the Institute for Middle East Understanding, emphasizes the bigger picture, the two-state solution is over:

“At the end of the day, this resolution is intended to salvage a two-state solution that Israel killed off with settlement construction years ago. It’s long past time to start looking for alternative ways to realize the rights of Palestinians outside of a two-state framework that was never really a lasting solution in the first place.”

Ben Rhodes the White House aide had an incisive call with reporters yesterday saying the Obama administration was the only presidency not to have put through a resolution against the settlements, and “we tried a different approach for years…. all I can say is that we’ve tried everything.”

But let’s be clear here:  We exhausted every effort to pursue a two-state solution through negotiations, through direct discussions, through proximity discussions, through confidence-building measures, through a lengthy and exhaustive effort undertaken by Secretary Kerry earlier in the President’s second term.  We gave every effort that we could to supporting the parties coming to the table.

He says the U.S. warned Israel about its “international isolation.”

The fact of the matter is, we’d been warning — President Obama and Secretary Kerry publicly and privately for years — that the trend line of settlement construction and settlement activity was just increasing Israel’s international isolation.

But Netanyahu brought this on himself:

Prime Minister Netanyahu had the opportunity to pursue policies that would have led to a different outcome today.  Absent this acceleration of settlement activity, absent the type of rhetoric we’ve seen out of the current Israeli government, I think the United States likely would have taken a different view, because our preference is for there to be a credible peace process underway.

So, again, it’s very important that this — the fact that this is happening towards the end of our eight years indicates that this is not our preferred course of action and that we’ve given years and years and years of opportunities to address issues related to the settlements or to address issues related to the peace process that, frankly, we believe could have been more productive.  And, frankly, President Obama, if you look at speech after speech that he gave, kept warning that the trends in the conflict were going to lead to greater international efforts to apply pressure in Israel; that the settlement activity was going to lead to greater national efforts to apply pressure to Israel.

Also on that call, Secretary of State John Kerry is going to make a major speech on the solution to the conflict in coming days. Hold your breath. The Hill:

Kerry’s speech will lay out a “comprehensive” plan for a two-state solution that goes beyond the settlement issue, deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters.

John Judis says that the Obama move was a “last gasp” and that it won’t bring about a two-state solution, because of Trump, European fecklessness, and Israeli society:

I’d use Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci’s concept of a “historical bloc” to explain what is happening in Israel. A historical bloc occurs when a mode of thought, supported by some but not necessarily all political leaders, and by many, but not all, in the population gains ascendancy. There can be dissent, but it will tend to exist within the framework established by the dominant bloc. That’s what has come to fruition under the administration of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. There is a historical bloc opposed to any meaningful negotiations that would lead to a two-state solution that both parties would accept.

In such a situation, the only recourse is outside pressure

With Israel isolated, neoconservatives are worried about running out of political oxygen. Eli Lake is upset.

I’m ashamed of my president

He also accuses Obama of kicking Israel in the teeth and of exhibiting “cowardice,” because he waited till the last minute. (Yes, no one was running for election.) Lake is probably right about this, which makes the abstention historic:

Obama’s decision today also a slap in the face to the pro-Israel politicians & groups who have defended him to the Jewish community.

Chuck Schumer was vociferous against the resolution. “Schumer implored the Administration to veto the resolution… Let Senator Schumer note the true nature of his party’s left wing,” the Wall Street Journal said.

The Journal labeled the vote Obama’s anti-Israel Tantrum, and it put the vote in the correct political context, the leftwing effort to isolate Israel:

The decision by the United States to abstain from a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Israel over its settlements on the West Bank is one of the most significant, defining moments of the Obama Presidency.

 it defines the reality of the international left’s implacable opposition to the Israeli state.

More news of the isolation: Israel is enraged at Senegal for introducing the resolution.

Haaretz reports that Israel is going to impose sanctions on Senegal and New Zealand to retaliate for the resolution. Scott Roth has the perfect response:

To be continued…

Thanks to Yakov Hirsch and James North.


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Hey Sibiriak. This article lays out in much more detail what I would have summarized in a comment response to you in the other thread. In three sentences or less (hopefully): You’re right about the resolution notionally addressing two states but there are other more compelling forces/dynamics in play –… Read more »

“A historical bloc occurs when a mode of thought, supported by some but not necessarily all political leaders, and by many, but not all, in the population gains ascendancy. There can be dissent, but it will tend to exist within the framework established by the dominant bloc. That’s what has… Read more »

Good roundup guys.


“Josh Marshall echoes that point.”

And that echo is a far cry from the sounds made just a little while ago.

If you look back at the politics that led to this vote , Netanyahu and his fellow travellers lobbied hard for the war in Iraq. And they got their war. It ended up with Iran running Iraq, $3 tn and the collapse of US military credibility . So many unintended… Read more »