Leading Columnist: Clinton Supporters Must Call on Her to Ensure Obama Refrains From Any Diplomatic Moves Against Israel Before January
Hillary Clinton supporters must call on the Democratic presidential nominee to ensure President Barack Obama refrains from making any diplomatic moves against Israel during the remainder of his time in office, a prominent conservative columnist said on Thursday.
The publication of Charles Krauthammer’s Washington Post op-ed came against a backdrop of growing concerns that Obama might not protect Israel at the United Nations during the lame-duck period between the presidential election on Nov. 8 and the inauguration of Obama’s successor on Jan. 20.
“Soon Obama will be free to deliver a devastating parting shot to Israel and to the prime minister he detests,” Krauthammer warned. According to Krauthammer, only Clinton could thwart Obama from taking such action.
Earlier this week, internationally-renowned legal expert Alan Dershowitz — who has said he will vote for Clinton — wrote in the Boston Globe that Obama “should resist any temptation to change longstanding American policy — that only direct negotiations between the parties will achieve a lasting peace — during his final weeks in office.”
Furthermore, Dershowitz said, Clinton and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump should announce their positions on “whether the United States should support or veto a Security Council Resolution that would tie their hands were they to be elected president.”
In a video interview with the Wall Street Journal published on Thursday, Jonathan Schanzer — vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) think tank in Washington, DC — said Obama was considering six different “punitive measures” aimed at “score settling” with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Obama’s choices, Schanzer said, range from “recognizing a Palestinian state to a UN Security Council resolution that details parameters for the peace process, or perhaps I think even more likely a UN Security Council resolution against settlements.”
“If those fail,” Schanzer continued, “then we think that there could be a Rose Garden speech or some other parameters speech that the president delivers in the last several months of his presidency. They’re also apparently weighing the option of sanctions, or at least barring organizations that support settlements through IRS regulations.”
If Obama moves ahead with any of these moves and Clinton wins the election, Schanzer said, “it will appear as if this was done with her acknowledgement, with her acceptance. And of course if Mr. Trump wins, this would be a way to sort of trip him up right from the beginning in terms of reestablishing ties with Israel.”
On Saturday, the Zionist Organization of America will publish a full-page ad in the New York Times that will urge the US to veto any UN Security Council resolution related to Palestinian statehood or Israeli settlement construction.
Meanwhile, in a CNN podcast conversation with former top Obama adviser David Axelrod this week, Secretary of State John Kerry declined to rule out the possibility of a new Obama-led Israeli-Palestinian peace drive being launched in the coming months.
“I think we want to encourage the preservation of a two-state solution and our first choice is to try to do that with the government, with the prime minister [of Israel],” Kerry said. “I think President Obama is very, very concerned that, increasingly, pressure is being put on the capacity to hold onto that two-state effort.”
Regarding Israeli settlement construction, Kerry said, “I’m not going to get into intent, but the fact is that it is a problem and it runs contrary to American policy under Republican and Democratic presidents.”
Earlier this month, The Weekly Standard reported the Obama administration was “manufacturing a crisis” over settlement construction to exert diplomatic pressure on Israel ahead of an end-of-term peace push.
In early October, Malcolm Hoenlein — executive vice president of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations — told The Algemeiner he had “some concerns about what Obama and others may do” regarding the Israeli-Palestinian peace process before January.
“This is based on things I heard from him a year ago about his priorities and the understandable importance of his legacy to him,” Hoenlein said. “And I listen to his speeches and I have seen some of the harsh statements that are being issued…about Israeli settlement policies. The language being used is much stronger than we’ve seen in the past and I’m afraid that this could be indicative of what a forthcoming UN Security Council resolution against settlements, or something that goes even further, might look like.”
In an interview with The Algemeiner last month, FDD President Clifford D. May said there was significant bipartisan concern in Washington that Obama “won’t have Israel’s back” at the UN after the November election.
May spoke with The Algemeiner a day after 88 US senators sent a letter to Obama urging him to veto any one-sided UN resolutions regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which, he warned, “would be damaging not just to Israel, but to any possibility of peace in the near future.”
Former State Department Middle East negotiator Aaron David Miller predicted for The Algemeiner last month that Obama “will likely do something” in the Israeli-Palestinian realm before his term in office is complete.
“I can’t imagine that the president, let alone John Kerry, will be able to leave this one alone,” Miller said.
In August, as reported by The Algemeiner, Netanyahu expressed concerns to a visiting bipartisan delegation of US foreign policy experts about a potential Obama-led peace initiative.