Obama, the UN and the New Israel Fund: Partners in Weakening Israel
Dan Shapiro, the United States Ambassador to Israel, recently criticized Israel’s settlements and its West Bank policy, saying, “Too many attacks on Palestinians lack a vigorous investigation or response by Israeli authorities; too much vigilantism goes unchecked; and at times there seem to be two standards of adherence to the rule of law: one for Israelis and another for Palestinians.”
Not long ago, Israel had a reliable friend at the United Nations: the United States. But recent years have seen the most hostile American administration towards Israel, and Israel’s battles have become more solitary than they once were.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has referred to Jewish towns and cities in Judea and Samaria as “provocative acts,” and doubts Israel’s commitment to peace. “As oppressed peoples have demonstrated throughout the ages, it is human nature to react to occupation, which often serves as a potent incubator of hate and extremism,” he said, essentially blaming Israel for the months-long spate of stabbings, car-rammings and shooting of pregnant women, children and the elderly citizens of Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Ban’s words would inspire terrorists, and this has already happened, with Palestinians using the secretary general’s words as the justification for new attacks.
The United Nations opposing Israel is not surprising. What is surprising is that the United States has joined the bandwagon. US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power recently said that America “strongly opposes” settlement activity, and that settlements are “fundamentally incompatible with the two-state solution and [raise] legitimate questions about Israel’s long-term intentions.”
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One day after Shapiro’s comments, Tawfiq Al-Tirawi of Fatah’s Central Committee told the Maan News Agency that a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital, was “just a phase” of an ongoing struggle. He said that Palestine “stretches from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea,” and he challenged, “any Palestinian to say that the map of Palestine is limited to the West Bank and Gaza.”
Both Shapiro’s and Power’s comments ignore the basic issue that the Palestinian Arabs are not interested in peace. Likewise, the New Israel Fund (NIF), an extremist left-wing organization, also blames Israel for all the region’s problems.
The NIF has established itself as a funder of many groups that engage in anti-Israel activities. Whether it is Adalah promoting lawfare against Israel, B’Tselem promoting Israel as an apartheid state, HaMoked providing flawed and erroneous data toward the damaging and now debunked Goldstone report, or Breaking the Silence issuing edited testimonies from soldiers, NIF’s money and support is at the center of it.
NIF boycotts settlements of Israel, and their words paved the way for Obama’s July 2015 Trade Promotion Authority legislation exception that singles out settlement products for unfair treatment.
NIF’s supporters are American Jews who believe that these methods of delegitmizing Israel and its people are helpful. President Obama’s surprise video-appearance at the NIF conference last month in New York is indicative of the weight the group can pull.
The harm being done to Israel doesn’t seem to matter to NIF funders. The truth falls on deaf ears, and the damage they have done for years is having the impact they so desperately want.
In an election year, when he is trying to secure his legacy and his successor, it may be risky for the President to completely abandon Israel at the United Nations. But he, and the NIF, have done more than enough damage already.
Public Relations Executive Ronn Torossian is author of “For Immediate Release.”