Since yesterday the Jewish world as well as the Israeli political world has been obsessed with the UN vote and the fact that the US did not exercise its veto in the vote. Israeli ministers including Netanyahu himself, called it the knife in the back of Israel and a very anti Israeli resolution. Prime Minister Netanyahu stated tonight that “ Obama administration has carried out an underhanded and an anti-Israel maneuver at the UN Security Council.” Nothing about the nations like Russia who actually voted for the resolution and did not abstain. My twitter feed has been full statements from many of the Republicans that I follow ( yes I follow people I usually do not agree with) about what terrible act this was- how this proves how anti- Israeli Obama is.
Wow is all I can say- people seem to have lost their mind, on many levels. Lets start with the fact that even if you do not agree with the resolution, it is a resolution under Article 6, which means there are no enforcement mechanism. Second there was hardly anything new in the resolution-it says that the UN and the world does not recognize any activity beyond the 67 lines as legal. Nothing new in that, and clearly under international law it’s clearly true. The only really negative thing for Israel is the fact it calls on the world to differentiate between products produced in the West Bank ( 4% of Israel’s export) and those in Israel proper. In a strange way while some people think this might help the BDS movement, in fact it could have the opposite impact since that same differentiation between Israel proper and the territories could serve as a break to general BDS against Israel.
The most absurd aspect of the reaction is the fact that two weeks ago Prime Minister Netanyahu who initially opposed the passage of the law that would legalize the building on private Palestinian lines, warned that if it was passed there would be a UN resolution. For internal political reasons he supported the misguided law and what he warned in fact has taken place . Read my article in Newsweek from two weeks ago- it explains all of this.
I also find the statements that this resolution is going to hurt the chance for peace- Really- I am not a big believer in peace. I am sad to say I do not believe there will peace in my lifetime, I do not see the Palestinians making the concession necessary, and neither do I see us making the needed concessions, so saying this resolution will decrease the chances of peace is absurd. I am still waiting for Israel’s peace initiative.
Finally, to all the lovers of Israel in America- understand that if you carefully read this resolution that other then the reference to East Jerusalem at least half of Israelis would agree with it. This resolution deals almost exclusively with the settlement in the West Bank, settlements that have grown not because most Israelis want them to, but because of the nature of the Israeli political system that give extreme views greater weight. Obama is no more a hater of Israel then every voter of Meretz and the Labor Party. His speech at Peres funeral was one of the best Zionist speeches that I have heard in a long time- It easily could have been given by Ben Gurion or any of that generation. Yes its not the speech the Bibi would give- and Bibi is our Prime Minister- but its a long road to go from thinking that Bibi is a problematic Prime Minister to saying that someone is anti Israel or worse anti semitic.
On a related note, I went tonight to a press conference by Yair Lapid- the person with the best chance of unseating Prime Minister Netanyahu. I tweeted before the press conference began the question will he break right or will he break left- I actually knew the answer in advance based on what he said to me after the Iran deal was announced-he was going to break right- and indeed he did- saying he had worked with the government to stop the the resolution, and attacking the “left “ for celebrating the passage of the law. He did attack the Netanyahu government for not being prepared and for the fact that there is no foreign Minister at the moment. He said that Netanyahu had complained of a tense relationship with Obama, but wrongly claimed that our relations with other countries was much better. I asked him what exactly was bad in the resolution- and there he fudged his answer- stating that the resolution calls for a return to Six Day War borders, does not allow for building a terrace on a house in the territories, and finally calls on Israel to accept the Arab Peace initiative as it is, without dealing with refugees. All of which is inaccurate-the resolution lists a long list of proposals and calls on the sides to use them as a basis of negotiations. As to the Six Day War borders it is like every other resolution or position of almost every government in the world it says that any agreement must be based on those borders with changes agreed to by the parties. Lapid however, is trying once again to make sure he is the alternative of Netanyahu and is convinced that the only alternative that can win is one that leans right, he may be right.