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United Nations Resolution Vote Leads To More Tension Between U.S. And Israel

Obama Netanyahu

While most Americans spent the end of last week and the weekend focused on the Christmas holiday, the Middle East was making news at the United Nations and around the world. It started on Friday when the United Nations Security Council approved a resolution censuring Israel for its continued policy of expanding settlements in the West Bank and around Jerusalem as detrimental to the Middle East “peace process,” such as it is. What was notable about the vote is that the United States chose to abstain from the vote rather than exercising its Security Council veto, an action which has led to condemnation from President-Elect Trump, Republicans on Capitol Hill, and from the Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The action itself has led Israel to openly defy the U.N. and the Obama Administration by openly ramping up settlement building activity over the weekend and now the Netanyahu government is claiming that they have proof that the United States was behind the resolution all along:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu summoned the US ambassador and launched a scathing attack Sunday on the Obama administration after its refusal to veto a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s settlements in the West Bank.

The United States abstained on the resolution, allowing it to pass, rather than vetoing it — as it usually does with resolutions it sees as overly critical of Israel, leading to US Ambassador Daniel Shapiro being summoned, an Israeli official told CNN Sunday.

“We can confirm‎ Ambassador Shapiro will meet with PM Netanyahu this evening. We will have n‎o other details to offer,” a State Department spokesperson told CNN.
Ambassadors from 10 countries that supported the resolution were summoned to the Israeli foreign ministry, but not to a meeting with Netanyahu.

Israel’s ambassador to the US Ron Dermer said Monday that Netanyahu called in Shapiro for a face-to-face meeting because the US is “the only country where we have any expectation to actually stand with us at the United Nations.”

“It’s an old story that the United Nations gangs up against Israel. What is new is that the United States did not stand up and oppose that gang up. And what is outrageous is that the United States was actually behind that gang up,” Dermer told CNN’s “New Day,” echoing the case Netanyahu laid out a day earlier.

Netanyahu said Sunday of the UN resolution that “we have no doubt that the Obama administration initiated it, stood behind it, coordinated on the wording and demanded that it be passed.”

Netanyahu also took aim at the US Secretary of State, adding in English: “As I told John Kerry on Thursday, friends don’t take friends to the Security Council.”
His office released a copy of the remarks, with translation, on his website.

“Over decades American administrations and Israeli governments have disagreed about settlements, but we agreed the Security Council was not the place to resolve this issue,” Netanyahu said.

Israel is also concerned about another resolution at the United Nations Security Council that would impose terms for peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, according to Deputy Minister for Diplomacy Michael Oren. “We cannot dismiss any possibility,” Oren told CNN.

Such a resolution could be presented in the coming days or following a January 15 international peace conference organized by France. Israel has said it will not attend the conference which is scheduled to held in Paris. A resolution on parameters for negotiations could lay out positions on Jerusalem, borders, Palestinian refugees, and a time table for negotiations.
Netanyahu spokesman David Keyes told CNN’s Dana Bash on Sunday, “We have iron-clad information, frankly, that the Obama administration really helped push this resolution and helped craft it, from sources internationally and sources in the Arab world.”

US officials did not immediately respond to CNN questions about the comments, but on Friday, Obama’s Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes rejected similar accusations.

“President Obama’s track record on Israel’s security is clear. Anybody can review it. But, in fact, I’d take umbrage at language that suggests that this was our preferred course of action and that we initiated it,” Rhodes said.

“With respect to this resolution, we did not draft this resolution; we did not introduce this resolution. The Egyptians, in partnership with the Palestinians, are the ones who began circulating an earlier draft of the resolution. The Egyptians are the ones who moved it forward (Thursday). And we took the position that we did when it was put to a vote.”

The fact that there is tension between the Obama and Netanyahu Administrations is no surprise, of course. Ever since Netanyahu returned to office just months after President Obama himself was inaugurated, there have been rather obvious tensions between the two that centered mainly around how to handle the Iranian nuclear program. Netanyahu has rather obviously and openly been lobbying for a tougher stand on the issue if not outright war against Iran for years now and was almost alone on the world stage in opposing last year’s deal between Iran and the major world powers regarding curtailing the Iranian nuclear research program. Additionally, more so than any other Israeli Prime Minister before him Netanyahu has been openly courting President Obama’s Republican opponents from the beginning of his tenure, and Republicans have virtually adopted the Netanyahu as one of their own while claiming that President Obama has been the most “anti-Israel” President in U.S. history. The result has been a relationship between the Israeli Prime Minister and the American President that has been publicly cordial out of necessity, but one in which it is rather obvious that the two men quite clearly don’t like each other. Thus, it’s not surprising that Netanyahu would lash out at the President after the United Nations vote and imply that the U.S. was behind the U.N. resolution even though there doesn’t appear to be any evidence to support the claim.

The reality, of course, is that the Obama Administration has been as supportive of Israel as any American Presidential Administration before it, and in some ways perhaps more supportive, especially during times of crisis such as Israel’s war against Hamas several years ago in response to repeated rocket attacks launched against civilian targets from the West Bank. This has been especially true at the United Nations where the U.S. has prevented several “anti-Israel” resolutions from even getting to a vote over the past eight years without exercising its veto power at the Security Council table. This vote was an exception, but that is largely because the Obama Administration’s position on Israeli settlements in the West Bank is no different from what American policy has been since the 1967 war. Indeed, many past Administrations, including most notably the Reagan Administration, have abstained from similar resolutions in the past as a way of reinforcing what has been long-standing U.S. policy on the issue of settlements. Additionally, the Reagan Administration was harshly critical of Israel during it’s invasion and occupation of southern Lebanon and voted several times with the majority to condemn it during the eight years it was in office. In fact, Reagan was notable for being the one American President in recent years who did not visit Israel while President. In other words, the idea that the Obama Administration was the most anti-Israeli American Presidency in history is quite simply nonsense.

As for the Netanyahu’s claim that the U.S. was behind the resolution that the Security Council voted in favor of on Friday, there is presently no evidence to support this claim. The Netanyahu Administration is claiming that it has such evidence and that it will provide it to the incoming Trump Administration in due course, but this just tends to make their claim implausible. If there is such evidence, then why not provide it to the press now rather than waiting? In the end, I would suspect it would be because no such plausible evidence exists, or that if it does it consists largely of hearsay evidence from unnamed sources whose veracity can never be tested. The fact that they are saying they’ll share the ‘evidence’ with Trump but not anyone else just seems like yet another example of how Netanyahu has engaged in largely unprecedented partisan participation in American politics in a manner unlike any of his predecessors. He’s likely to be rewarded for that in the future by a Trump Administration that seems intent on being anything but a neutral party in any peace process.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Scott says:

    Another country that interferes with ours without impunity. You’d almost think we are the client state.

    I think the settlement issue is one where there is so much BS happening. If the incoming Trump administration moves the Embassy to Jerusalem, as well as, allows the illegal (yes, they are illegal) settlements to go forward, then Trump will own the consequences. George Bush had a tendency to knock over the game board and see what happens because it was easier than the hard work of diplomacy. Just wait until a lazy and ill-informed Trump makes a mess of things.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 3

  2. KM says:

    Serious question: What is the point of these settlements other then a political/religious statement? Is there massive overcrowding somewhere I missed that makes these a necessity? Knowing one is poking a hornet’s nest, why in the world would you build houses in a place that paints a target on your family (and innocent civilians who have nothing to do with this), pisses off a good portion of the planet, and seems guaranteed to start trouble? Does Israel really need houses that bad?

    I cannot for the life of me see these as anything other then self-conscious attempts to sh^t-stir. Legalities and politics aside, it makes NO sense to deliberate do something you know will cause you massive problems down the road for minor gains. Are peoples lives really worth a few acres of property? Some future victim of this conflict just got their death warrant signed because someone *had* to have their house *right there* for *reasons*. Madness.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 3

  3. michael reynolds says:

    Note to client states, here’s a handy definition you might take to heart: A client state is a state that is economically, politically, or militarily subordinate to another more powerful state in international affairs.

    Subordinate.

    When the Chihuahua bites the nice man’s ankles, the Chihuahua gets a kick in the ribs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  4. Gustopher says:

    What is the endgame for Israel? With a growing Palestinian population, the only options I see are:
    * A two-state solution
    * Jews become a political minority in Israel
    * A Jewish run apartheid state
    * Forcibly deporting the Palestinians to somewhere
    * Killing all the Palestinians

    Now, the last three are morally repugnant and are just included for completeness. The settlements are making a two-state solution harder. What does Netanyahu expect is going to happen?

    Anyway, well not vetoed. I wish we had voted for the resolution, rather than simply abstaining.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 4

  5. Jc says:

    Netanyahu also took aim at the US Secretary of State, adding in English: “As I told John Kerry on Thursday, friends don’t take friends to the Security Council.”

    Uh, friends also don’t play political games and come speak before a U.S. Congress solely at the behest of one political party…

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 4

  6. Jen says:

    Like KM and Gustopher, every time I hear about settlements, I’m left wondering why these particular chess pieces are being moved. My hunch is that Netanyahu thinks this gives him a stronger negotiating hand, and, potentially a larger buffer zone. I don’t see the winning strategy here.

    Also, the Trump team involvement the day before (tweeting about it, getting involved before he’s even sworn in) is tacky and sort of astonishing. If the reverse happens to Trump on his way out, he’ll be furious. That Netanyahu’s government contacted the Trump team is equally egregious.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  7. MarkedMan says:

    Jimmy Carter was right 10 years ago when he warned that Israel was in danger of choosing the path of apartheid and warning that the Westwrn world will no longer support an apartheid regime. Instead of listening to his warnings they vilified him. But they have chosen the apartheid path and the Western world is indeed turning away from them. Perhaps it is inevitable given the influx of heavily racist immigrants from the eastern block over the past two decades and the encouragement of bible literalist nut jobs from the US and other countries. I don’t see any pathway that allows them to turn back at this point. If nothing else there would be civil war if they tried to remove the settlers. In 10-15 years the world will recognize Israel as the South Africa of the 2020’s. They may try to divest themselves of the Palestinian lands at that point or, more likely, take the South African route of pushing the “majority/minority” into artificial ghetto states and declaring them their own countries with no rights to conduct foreign policy, police or arm themselves. It didn’t work for SA and it won’t work for Israel.

    The Palestinian’s and other Arab countries are no better. The sooner we replace oil with something better, the sooner we can wash our hands of all the mid-east countries.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 4

  8. James Pearce says:

    In the end, I would suspect it would be because no such plausible evidence exists

    It’s 2016. The “evidence” doesn’t need to be presented nor does it need it be plausible.

    People will believe it anyway.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  9. Stormy Dragon says:

    @KM:

    What is the point of these settlements other then a political/religious statement?

    It’s a form of demographic gerrymandering to render Israeli and Palestinian communities so interleaved that a two state solution becomes physically impossible.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  10. Mr. Prosser says:

    Kevin Drum said everything there is to say re: Israel today
    http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/12/there-will-never-be-israel-palestinian-peace-settlement

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  11. KM says:

    @Jen:
    If I were an Israeli, I’d be furious that my life was being endangered for such a minuscule thing. Life is difficult enough there – must there be fresh outrage or are ancient grievances enough?

    Keep in mind, this is also a partisan thing as well as a religious thing. A good portion of the public there (40%+) do not want the settlements. It’s the right and the fundamentalists that are pushing for it. They do not want peace or two states because they believe they’re following God’s Will. If they want to bleed over the Holy Land, fine. It’s them making everyone else bleed over of it that’s the problem. An innocent child anywhere in that place shouldn’t have to die because adults can’t agree on who God is, said, did or wants them to do.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  12. john430 says:

    Hey, who says the two-state goal is still necessary or desirable? Liberals want to do away with the Electoral College that has stood for over 200 years, so why not dump a 60 year old foreign policy gambit?

    Israel should make a deal with Egypt or Jordan to absorb the so-called “Palestinians” and have done with them.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 32

  13. john430 says:

    @KM: An innocent child anywhere in that place shouldn’t have to die because adults can’t agree on who God is

    Then “Palestinians” shouldn’t blow up pizza parlors favored by Israeli children and teens. Since 1948, these so-called “Palestinians” have had the same amount of time as Israel has had to grow into a respectable nation. Instead, they have created a death-wish society content to be living in a crap-hole.

    The rest of the Arab world readily gives lip-service to their cause but doesn’t actually want them to live in their neighborhoods either.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 23

  14. SenyorDave says:

    @john430: Since 1948, these so-called “Palestinians” have had the same amount of time as Israel has had to grow into a respectable nation.

    Do you seriously believe the two are equal? And your answer does not even address KM’s point:

    An innocent child anywhere in that place shouldn’t have to die because adults can’t agree on who God is, said, did or wants them to do.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  15. Slugger says:

    @john430: There are about 300,000 non Jews living in Jerusalem-90% Muslim, 10% Christians. Your plan is to move these people to another country. What incentives do you propose to achieve this?
    In all candor, I fail to see how breaking off relations with New Zealand helps insure the security of Israel. It is a country that needs more friends rather than fewer. Mr. Trump has shown himself quite willing to re-open negotiations with Boeing and Lockheed. At some point he could get shy about the support that the US gives Israel. He does not have to protect his right flank. If he pulls back then Israel will be dependent on support from America’s liberals who seem to have very little clout these days.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  16. Stormy Dragon says:

    @john430:

    Hey, who says the two-state goal is still necessary or desirable?

    In a few years, there will be more Palestinians in Israel than Israelis. If Israel wants to be a stable, democratic, majority Jewish state, then the only two long term options are the two state solution or genocide.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 1

  17. gVOR08 says:

    @Jen:

    My hunch is that Netanyahu thinks this gives him a stronger negotiating hand, and, potentially a larger buffer zone. I don’t see the winning strategy here.

    It seems to be more a question of keeping his own hard, religious right on board.

    And that hard right seems OK with @Gustopher:’s last three options.

    * A Jewish run apartheid state
    * Forcibly deporting the Palestinians to somewhere
    * Killing all the Palestinians

    I didn’t think that in the 21st century you could get away with oppressing and driving out an indigenous population in order to take their land. I may be wrong. The rest of the developed world oppose it, but without our leadership, I fear it won’t mean much.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  18. wr says:

    @Stormy Dragon: ” If Israel wants to be a stable, democratic, majority Jewish state, then the only two long term options are the two state solution or genocide.”

    And from everything he’s posted here, what makes you think that “John430” would find the latter a problem?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  19. Gustopher says:

    @john430: So, you favor deporting the Palestinians — what we might call “ethnic cleansing”.

    Ok, how do you do that?
    – What incentives do you offer some other country to take them in?
    – What incentives do you offer the Palestinians to leave?
    – What do you do about the ones that don’t want to leave the only home they have ever known?

    Do you have ideas beyond a modern Trail of Tears?

    If you have a humane, reasonable way to commit ethnic cleansing — let’s call it ethnic redistribution — it might actually help a lot of the world’s hot spots. Ukraine could have rid themselves of those pesky Russians in Crimea, and the Baltics would probably really love to do that now.

    I would personally like to get all the Trump voters in Eastern Washington across the border into Idaho (they would really be happier there — they would have a Republican governor, like they always vote for and never get, and they would have Republican Senators, and they wouldn’t have some leftist nanny state interfering in their lives with infrastructure and school funds)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 3

  20. john430 says:

    @Gustopher: Just trying to avoid what the “Palestinians” have in mind for the Israelis. Emulating their heroes, Abbas et.al. would call it “The Final Solution”.

    @wrPlease note my above comment.

    @wr: You Fascist f**khead. Defending Palestinian murderers and looking the other way when they vow to exterminate the Jews.:

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 15

  21. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @john430:

    Israel should make a deal with Egypt or Jordan to absorb the so-called “Palestinians” and have done with them.

    Wow! The possibilities of what can be done in john430stan are amazing. No wonder you like living there so much.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  22. Gustopher says:

    @john430: Sure, sure, you don’t want too many Palestinians or “Palestinians” or “PALESTINIANS!!” to gather. They are terrifying muslims after all, especially after years of occupation.

    So, how do you get them to disperse?

    What are you willing to do? What price are you willing to pay? Neither Egypt nor Jordan actually wants a radicalized refugee crisis. How do you get those countries to accept them? How do you move millions of people gently enough to not completely radicalize them?

    Again, I would like to apply your common sense solutions to Eastern Washington, so try to find something humane enough that you would let it be used on them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  23. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @KM:

    What is the point of these settlements other then a political/religious statement?

    The essentially secular, progressive Israel of my youth has been replaced, since the fall of Communism, with a country dominated by Judaism’s equivalent of evangelical Christians due to decades of heavy Orthodox immigration and higher birthrates among that population.

    To them, Eretz Yisrael is a matter of unquestionable, dogmatic right, and if you want to remain in power in modern day Israel, you play to that gallery.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 2

  24. wr says:

    @john430: Hey loser,

    I am a Jew. And yet I don’t feel that entitles me to commit genocide. Why you feel like cheering on the extermination of a people would puzzle me, except I’ve read your other posts, and as far as I can tell you’d be happy with everyone who isn’t a white Trump voter dead.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

  25. wr says:

    @HarvardLaw92: The decline of Israel into a fundamentalist state is one of the less-recognized tragedies of the modern age. There is little difference between a fundamentalist Muslim and a fundamentalist Jew, especially in their treatment of women.

    (And yes, little right wing creeps, I am aware of the paucity of Jewish suicide bombers. But you don’t have to resort to terrorism and violence when you control the state. That’s not an issue of religion so much as one of power differentials. Unless you want to make the case that the members of the IRA were secret Muslims…)

    Although I am not a believer, I have a deep love for the Jewish culture and am inextricably a part of it. Tragic to watch this nation built on such a beautiful culture sink into the swamp of fundamentalism.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 3

  26. john430 says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: Well, inasmuch as the UN portioned the land to give Israel it’s rightful place, why not ask them to do it again? Course, you might keep in mind that the foolish “Palestinians” rejected all the peaceful solutions put before them since 1948. Even the Saudis have thrown up their hands in disgust.

    @HarvardLaw92: Well, if the people of a democratic nation think they have an unquestionable, dogmatic right to survive, then who are you to tell them that they must die in order to bring peace to the Middle East? Or, have you forgotten their motto “Never Again”?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 14

  27. john430 says:

    @wr: Ah, another of the self-loathing Jews is chiming in.

    No doubt you’d go into the ovens willingly.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 28

  28. wr says:

    @john430: “Ah, another of the self-loathing Jews is chiming in.”

    Sorry, but the only word for a “Christian” who accuses a Jew who does not support the right-wing government of Israel of being “self’ loathing” is scumbag.

    Don’t mean to lower the level of discourse around here, but that’s what it’s called in the dictionary.

    By the way, can you tell me as such a scholar on Judaism, what I’m supposed to call a “Christian” who advocates genocide, but not against my own people?

    Oh, yes. Trump voters.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 4

  29. bill says:

    i’m sure obama did this just to piss off israel before he leaves office.
    like anything that happens over there will ever result in “peace” anyways- it’s been going on for how many generations now?!
    if anyone thinks the pali’s will ever be civil human beings towards the jews then they must have a few screws loose.
    and if anyone “thinks” the pali’s will ever try to build a country rather than continually destroy it then….do the math.
    israel needs to assure that pali’s don’t get to outbreed them and eventually destroy israel by voting for it’s destruction- sounds crazy but…..hamas!
    or maybe we can google “successful islamic democracies”! face it kids, they’re still a few hundred years in the past and don’t seem to be trying to catch up.

    like the un is a force anymore, who actually respects that ragtag group of impotent, dysfunctional panderers?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 18

  30. NW-Steve says:

    @bill:

    israel needs to assure that pali’s don’t get to outbreed them and eventually destroy israel by voting for it’s destruction …

    Do you have any proposal for how that could be achieved that doesn’t constitute some form of genocide?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  31. Lit3Bolt says:

    @wr:

    And all over a spit of land that has no value aside from the ones that people attribute to it…

    It’s the essential Jewish identity question: assume the hostility of the world, or act inviting and risk betrayal?

    On one hand, it’s infuriating that Jews always have to consider this. On the other hand, it’s infuriating that the Jews always consider this.

    C’est la vie…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  32. Tyrell says:

    I am not up to date on all the issues, ramifications, angles, ins, outs, and scenarios regarding the settlements and the West Bank, so I will avoid any sort of premature, short sighted opinions.
    There has been a lot of chatter and talk about this on the various and sundry radio airwaves and tv news. And the whole reel is that everyone seems to be in support of Israel, excepting Iran, ISIS, and Lewis Farakhan. And in the last few weeks President Obama has burned more bridges for the Democrats than General Burgoyne did to the colonists during the Revolution. The Democrat leadership has to be more nervous than a mouse in the grasp of the house cat concerning these recent odious decisions by the President. They are probably counting the seconds down until the president heads out the door .
    “Obama stabbed Israel in the back” (Alan Dershowitz)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 13

  33. Matt says:

    @john430: This right here should make it clear to you. He wants complete genocide with nothing less than the death of every single Palestinian. You know because every single one of them is a radical murderous jihadist especially the infants…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  34. dennis says:

    @john430:

    Geezus. Read some history, you idiot. It’s already been tried.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  35. Sleeping Dog says:

    Following Arafat’s rejection of the proposed two-state agreement coming out of the 2000 Camp David Summit and Ariel Sharon’s return to power, I began to take the attitude of a pox on both their houses. In the 70’s and 80’s, advocates of a greater Israel talked about facts on the ground, i.e. Israel controlled the West Bank, therefore the WB was Israel’s. Indeed today, a two-state solution is a fiction that neither side really wants and it is time for the US and the world to recognize that there is one state west of the Jordan River and that state is Israel. Now Israel needs to choose, is the nation a democracy or or a Jewish state, it can’t be both.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  36. dennis says:

    @john430:

    Wow, what a p.o.s. of a human being you’re showing yourself to be. I’ll bet you didn’t vote for Hillary …

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4

  37. SKI says:

    @wr:

    he decline of Israel into a fundamentalist state is one of the less-recognized tragedies of the modern age.

    Yeah, no. Israel isn’t a fundamentalist state – and I say that as a major critic who thinks Bibi is scum. Making that claim is identical to claiming the US is a totalitarian fascistic state because Trump won the election. Yes, corrupt shmucks won elections despite having ideas that are not shared by a majority if the populace but that doesn’t change the fundamental nature if the country (yet).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  38. rachel says:

    Consider a world where john430’s people have lived in a place for generations. Then a group of people whose ancestors got kicked out of that place over a millennium ago show up and through various means (and not always legal or peaceful ones) take what had belonged to john430 and his tribe. Of course the john430ians will go peacefully, right?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  39. Stormy Dragon says:

    @rachel:

    Consider a world where john430’s people have lived in a place for generations. Then a group of people … show up and through various means (and not always legal or peaceful ones) take what had belonged to john430 and his tribe.

    Isn’t that pretty much what Clive Bundy was protesting about?

    Of course, that comparison cuts both ways.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 11

  40. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Gustopher: Last I heard, it’s difficult to get Eastern Washingtonians to move to Idaho. The schools there aren’t very good among other problems. It seems that nearly all of the funding for education is local option funding and the good citizens of various Idaho towns are ok with iffy schools so long as taxes are low.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  41. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @john430: Why are you picking on me? All I was doing was being awestruck at how easy these problems are to solve in the dimension that you live in. As I noted, I understand why you are so happy there, or aren’t you?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  42. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @dennis: No, your not being fair to john; in his universe, this plan actually works, apparently.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  43. MBunge says:

    Like so many other of our problems, the situation with Israel has been getting worse and worse for years and our political establishment just kept ignoring it. Now we’ve got a “peace process” that doesn’t even exist in theory, the growth of anti-Zionism on the Left and Israel forging ever closer bonds with American evangelicals whose support for the Jewish state is literally predicated on an armageddon prophecy.

    And yeah, adding Trump to the mix may be like throwing a match into a huge pool of gasoline but Trump had nothing to do with digging a big hole and filling it with flammable liquid in the first place.

    Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5

  44. MBunge says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:

    The high school graduation rate in Idaho is as good or better than in Washington in many respects. The education system in both states is nothing to write home about, though no one ever seems to think about the people in Washington voting against their self-interest in perpetuating that system. If paying those extra taxes isn’t getting you better schools than Idaho, what are they for?

    Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 8

  45. Gustopher says:

    @bill:

    i’m sure obama did this just to piss off israel before he leaves office.

    Actually, I think you’re entirely right about that — this is an entirely toothless resolution, and letting it pass on his way out the door is just about the lowest consequence way to express extreme displeasure with Israeli behavior and suggest that there may be real consequences in the future.

    Yes, Trump will be inaugurated in a few weeks. But, Trump cannot get rid of this resolution condemning Israeli settlements. But, the resolution has no teeth, so there are ultimately no consequences.

    Trump won’t be around forever, and someday (assuming he doesn’t cause WWIII) there will be another Democrat in the White House. Israel might not want to hug the Republicans so tightly, and they might want to consider whether the settlements are in their interest.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  46. Gustopher says:

    @MBunge: The graduation rates for Washington and Idaho are comparable.
    http://nces.ed.gov/ccd/tables/ACGR_RE_and_characteristics_2014-15.asp

    Idaho however has higher taxes — Washington has no state income tax, and very comparable sales and property tax rates.

    Eastern Washington votes to keep taxes low, damn the consequences. It’s why I want to dump them in Idaho. I don’t know why Idaho doesn’t do better with their higher taxes, but that’s Republicans Proving Government Doesn’t Work for you.

    Once we dump off the dead weight, in some perfectly humane process, we can then tax ourselves at a rate that will actually fund the schools.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  47. davod says:

    @john430: Nobody wants the Arab Palestinians. The Jordanians previously took in many, many, Arabs from Palestine, including Arafat, and Arafat fermented a civil war in Jordan. Hussein was fortunate that he was able to quell the violence.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  48. davod says:

    @Slugger: Your statement is silly. Has Israel deported all the non Jews living in Israel. It is the Arabs who practice aparteid.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 8

  49. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @john430:

    Then “Palestinians” shouldn’t blow up pizza parlors favored by Israeli children and teens

    Oh give me a break. Israel was FOUNDED on terrorism, decades of it, carried out against the British by Zionists. Haganah? Lehi? Irgun? All terrorist organizations by anyone’s rational definition of the word.

    Hell man, Irgun became Herut became Likud – the country is being governed today by the ideological descendants of terrorists. Several of Israel’s first prime ministers were, in fact, terrorists. You don’t get to utilize tactics, then complain when those same tactics are later utilized against you.

    Palestinians would, I’m sure, love to be utilizing helicopters and tanks and missiles and fighter jets against Israel, but THEY DON’T HAVE THEM. Israel would, in a second, be blowing up cafes and hotels and such (we know this because that’s precisely what they did back in the 30s and 40s), BUT THEY NO LONGER HAVE TO. They have us arming them to the teeth.

    There is no moral high ground here – there is only “either these people learn to live together or these people eventually annihilate each other”.

    US foreign policy should be predicated on what best serves the interests of THIS country – and that can only be a peaceful, two state solution – not what best serves the interests of your twisted Christian eschatology.

    This isn’t the Crusades and we’re not the army of Jesus, so grow the f’k up.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 2

  50. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @wr:

    Sorry, but the only word for a “Christian” who accuses a Jew who does not support the right-wing government of Israel of being “self’ loathing” is scumbag.

    I was about to reply to his comment, but noticed that you already had. Well said.

    You just have to love the paternalistic level of gall which is required to convince a gentile that he’s in any position to lecture us – or any Jew – with regard to how we should feel about Israel.

    :roll:

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 3

  51. Mikey says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    This isn’t the Crusades and we’re not the army of Jesus

    But that’s what he and his ilk want. I am not exaggerating. I have seen several calls from the idiot right to “bring back the Crusades.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  52. wr says:

    @SKI: Sorry. Meant TOWARDS a fundamentalist state. They’re not there yet, but they keep moving in that direction…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  53. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @wr: This is one Christian who will never use the epithet “self-loathing Jew.” It’s ugly, judgmental, and usually based on ignorance.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  54. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @SKI:

    Yeah, no. Israel isn’t a fundamentalist state

    Truthfully, between the growing influence of the Orthodox in Israel – particularly the militant groups like the Chabad Hasidim – and Israel’s entirely unworkable attempt to integrate religious authority into the framework of the state (via the Ha-Rabanut and the rabbinical courts), it’s a good deal closer to being a fundamentalist state than most Americans would want to admit.

    And that trend is moving towards greater fundamentalist control, not less. I frankly won’t be surprised if Israel, for all practical purposes, ends up being an Orthodox theocracy within the next 20-30 years.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

  55. Tyrell says:

    @bill: He is also “pissing off” a lot of Democrats who, because of Obama’s recent misguided actions, won’t stand a chance of getting elected assistant dog catcher over in Hazzard County come next election !
    Is this the “legacy” that he keeps talking about ?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 11

  56. Barry says:

    @Scott: “Another country that interferes with ours without impunity. You’d almost think we are the client state.”

    Yes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  57. Barry says:

    @Stormy Dragon: “Isn’t that pretty much what Clive Bundy was protesting about?”

    Except that every single word out of any of the Bundy clan’s mouths was a lie.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  58. MBunge says:

    @HarvardLaw92: There is no moral high ground here

    That’s only true if you ignore the multiple wars started by the Arabs against Israel and the longstanding and vicious antisemitism that’s practically mandatory in the Arab world. Israel has the moral high ground from the founding of the state after the Holocaust until today. They’re having a tough time holding onto it and the Palestinians would have a much better claim to a piece of it if they cared more about having their own state and less about killing Jews, of course, but that doesn’t change anything.

    Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 9

  59. michael reynolds says:

    @Mikey:

    But that’s what he and his ilk want. I am not exaggerating. I have seen several calls from the idiot right to “bring back the Crusades.”

    Do you think it’s dawned on them that the Christians lost the Crusades?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  60. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @MBunge:

    That’s only true if you ignore the multiple wars started by the Arabs against Israel

    If someone arbitrarily takes something you regard as yours away from you and hands it to someone else, you’re going to be inclined to try to get it back. Closest corollary from a US perspective? Native Americans being dispossessed. Sure, we “won” in the end, but does that give us a moral advantage, or just a power differential? You’re bickering over degrees of apartheid.

    the longstanding and vicious antisemitism that’s practically mandatory in the Arab world

    I would suggest that you acquaint yourself with how the Orthodox regard non-Jews. You won’t like what you find.

    Nah, sorry, no moral high ground. At it’s most basic this is about a piece of ground which three different groups believe was given to them in the entirety by G-d. They either share it, or the last guy standing gets it all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  61. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Hell man, Irgun became Herut became Likud – the country is being governed today by the ideological descendants of terrorists. Several of Israel’s first prime ministers were, in fact, terrorists.

    Ah, but “history is written in the voice of the victors.” One man’s “terrorist” is another man’s “courageous patriot.”

    You don’t get to utilize tactics, then complain when those same tactics are later utilized against you.

    Who sez? (Not that I disagree, you understand, I’m just channeling my ig’rant cracker persona today).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  62. KM says:

    @HarvardLaw92 :

    Closest corollary from a US perspective? Native Americans being dispossessed.

    Actually, the South came close to being a better example post-Civil War. Had certain voices held sway, the conquered South would have had a *very* different experience with what happens to those who lose in war. How would modern descendants of Confederates feel if their ancestors had been driven off their land, forced into permanent statelessness / refugee camps and watch as the North creeps into what little territory they have left – all with the justification that to the winner go the spoils? Do Georgians feel Mexico should have been made to accept them, that Louisianans would have been OK with Mainers building a new suburb outside Metairie since God gave them the land /victory? Does anyone believe Texans wouldn’t be threatening violence to defend what they think is historically if not legally theirs? A little sympathy and perspective really makes you think….

    I respect Israel’s right to exist and to safety. However it cannot be ignored that that right came at the rights of others and they are kinda pissed about it. War is not an excuse to do as you please to the losers. We came close in this country to such a situation but we worked it out (more or less). The ME can do the same.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  63. SKI says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    And that trend is moving towards greater fundamentalist control, not less. I frankly won’t be surprised if Israel, for all practical purposes, ends up being an Orthodox theocracy within the next 20-30 years.

    I would be shocked. I say that as someone who has cut off all financial support of Israel until the Government changes and who has publicly spoken out in my synagogue against the current Government’s policies that have granted the Haredim a virtual monopoly on deciding who is a Jew or what acceptable places to pray are.

    The motivations for domestic political reasons are frequently inscrutable for those on the outside. The reality is that what we, on the outside, have decided are the motivations don’t match what the Israelis, on the inside, understand are the actual reasons. For example, the US press will cover Bibi’s bashing of Obama, Kerry and the UN but barely touch the two criminal corruption cases the AG just allowed to proceed – or his wife’s issues which were green lighted for charges on December 4th. In a parliamentary system with multiple parties, the dynamics get even more obscure.

    That being said, the majority of Israelis don’t like the Haredim – or the settlers. And if the Government continue to move further and further towards them, it will provoke a backlash. The twin pillars of paranoia and persecution that have propped up Bibi won’t support too much more…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  64. dennis says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    You just have to love the paternalistic level of gall which is required to convince a gentile that he’s in any position to lecture us – or any Jew – with regard to how we should feel about Israel.

    I upvoted this one million times. Funny how it’s not showing up . . .

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  65. panda says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Truthfully, between the growing influence of the Orthodox in Israel – particularly the militant groups like the Chabad Hasidim – and Israel’s entirely unworkable attempt to integrate religious authority into the framework of the state (via the Ha-Rabanut and the rabbinical courts), it’s a good deal closer to being a fundamentalist state than most Americans would want to admit.

    And that trend is moving towards greater fundamentalist control, not less. I frankly won’t be surprised if Israel, for all practical purposes, ends up being an Orthodox theocracy within the next 20-30 years.

    I’m sorry, but this is just wrong. On any level, life in Israel is more secular than it was even 20 years ago. The reason Israeli politics is shifting ever rightward is that secular Israelis (many of whom are atheistic, but mlitantly nationalist Russian emigrants) are shifting rightward.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  66. dennis says:

    @panda:

    panda, your explanation is a distinction with not much difference, it seems to me …

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  67. SKI says:

    @dennis: It makes a real difference.

    The “winning coalition” for Likud + rightist parties only works for so long as the non-haredim don’t care about what the haredim are doing with control of the Rabbinate, etc. If/when they actually start impacting the secular lives, the dynamic changes. Ergo, they will continue to exert control over thereligiously-affiliated but non-ultra but can maintain power so long as they never take it to a sufficient extreme to actually be a fundamentalist state. Power dynamics matter and while Bibi is scum, he isn’t stupid.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  68. dennis says:

    @SKI:

    I understand that, SKI; but, HL92’s conditional statements of “… the growing influence …” and “…it’s a good deal closer …” don’t purport an absolute idea, so much as a trepidation that it is a “… trend is moving towards greater fundamentalist control, not less.” And panda, for all intent and purpose, actually admits that “… Israeli politics is shifting ever rightward …”

    I don’t see much difference. And, after observing over the past 20 years the American right’s obsessive desire to instill its religious beliefs into secular life, I don’t think HL92 is off the mark at all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  69. panda says:

    @dennis: I think there is a strong distinction between “we do X because its our Divine Commandment” and “we do X because we are afraid of our neighbors.” In the not-so-remote past, a majority of Isrealis were much more open to compromise, because their commitment to the occupation is pragmatic, not religious.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  70. panda says:

    @dennis:

    And panda, for all intent and purpose, actually admits that “… Israeli politics is shifting ever rightward …”

    I don’t see much difference. And, after observing over the past 20 years the American right’s obsessive desire to instill its religious beliefs into secular life, I don’t think HL92 is off the mark at all.

    Ah, ok, I got the source of your confusion. When saying “rightward” I don’t mean in the American sense of hawkishness+religiousity+libertarianism, but in the Israeli sense of “not giving up land.” There are plenty of Israelis who are secular, and committed to welfare state, and don’t want to return to 67 borders over security concerns.

    Also, important to point a major difference between the Israeli and American religious folk is that plenty of ultra-orthodox are perfectly happy with a secular state that pays their bills, and leaves them alone.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  71. Ratufa says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Isn’t that pretty much what Clive Bundy was protesting about?

    Bundy chose to not renew his grazing permit. It’s not clear that Bundy’s protest had a coherent reason or goal. Grazing fees are necessary, both for land maintenance and to prevent a “tragedy of the commons” effect, and the cost of grazing fees on public land is much less than that on private land.

    http://www.hcn.org/hcn/hcn/issues/48.5/the-darkness-at-the-heart-of-malheur

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  72. rachel says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Do you think it’s dawned on them that the Christians lost the Crusades?

    Of course not, just like it hasn’t dawned on them that a major purpose of the Crusades was to lure “restless, intriguing and bloodthirsty” knights and nobles off to bother somebody else for a change.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  73. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @SKI:

    Understood – what concerns me are the twin pillars of disproportionate Orthodox immigration and birth rates. Frankly, all the evidence I’ve seen tells me that they’re making Aliyah at greater rates and they tend to have a lot of children. If that continues, in 20 or 30 years it won’t matter what more secular folks like us want – they’ll be outnumbered.

    The same crap NY is dealing with re: Kiryas Joel, but played out on a national stage. It’s not a pleasant thought.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  74. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Gustopher:

    I don’t know why Idaho doesn’t do better with their higher taxes

    Because they’re a landlocked semi-desert?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  75. bill says:

    @NW-Steve: “war” isn’t always “genocide”- sure, the victor usually kills more than the loser (aside from ww2!) but when push comes to shove all the pali’s have are bodies and some inferior weaponry. but it’s they who choose to arm themselves vs. actually build for the future..
    and it’s also they who have chosen to not ever get along with israel. at least most of the oil sheikdoms and a few others realized they can’t exterminate the jews again.
    holding israel to a higher standard is typical of the left – having low expectations of muslims is the norm as they never fail to live up to them.

    @Tyrell: aside from being a great gun seller he has cost the dems a bunch of seats at every level. he doesn’t speak much of it though…..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

  76. mike shupp says:

    @Gustopher:

    There isn’t any happy end here for Israel that I can see. Once upon a time, things looked simpler. In the aftermath of the war fought to create the Jewish State, it seemed plausible that Arabs who had fled Israel during the fighting would migrate to neighboring Arab states. As a special surprise however, all those neighboring states flatly refused to accept such immigrants, on the grounds that their natural homeland remained Palestine and that no course was possible except for Palestinians to return to and regain control of Palestine. And Israel will not accept returning Palestinians because (a) they fled the country, (b) they’re politically untrustworthy, and (c) the land and homes and other property the Palestinians left has long since been expropriated by the Israeli state and been turned over to Jewish immigrants. Which is where matters have sat for… hmm …. two/thirds of a century.

    It’d be a partial solution, but one fix would be for non-Arab states to take in as many Palestinians as possible and maybe reduce the number of refugees left to something the Israelis are willing to accept. Palestinians have a reputation as hard working and well educated, but they’re also politically conscious in a way that makes them unwelcome as citizens throughout the Middle East — Europe and the US would seem a better choice.

    And on the other other hand …. let’s not go there.

    As for the West Bank Settlements … depending on your perspective, this is lunacy or the purest idealism. I vote for lunacy, but this is the Middle East remember, so think of ISIS — as “extreme behavior” goes, planting a bunch of faming towns isn’t that horrendous.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  77. Jen says:

    @SKI: That bit about Netanyahu’s corruption charges is very interesting. Makes this whole incident more ‘wag the dog’ than I think people–at least in the US–realize.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  78. SKI says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Understood – what concerns me are the twin pillars of disproportionate Orthodox immigration and birth rates. Frankly, all the evidence I’ve seen tells me that they’re making Aliyah at greater rates and they tend to have a lot of children. If that continues, in 20 or 30 years it won’t matter what more secular folks like us want – they’ll be outnumbered.

    Except Haredim – and we need to distinguish between Orthodox and the Ultras – only are about 10% of the population (or half the amount of Israeli Arabs). Yes, it is up massively from the 3% in the early 1980s but it is gonna be a whole lot more than 30 years before they outnumber the rest of the Jewish Israelis (about 65%). If nothing else changes, which is very unlikely, they will reach half of Israeli Jews around 2060.

    Ultimately, a community with employment rates below 40% is not sustainable. It was one thing for secular Israelis to financially support the Haredim when they were small and were given respect for maintaining traditions. Public opinion has been consistently shifting against the Haredim however – due to the costs of this support (both tax-wise and the disproportionate share of military service) and the increasing violent and entitled reaction of the Haredim.

    Like Kiryas Joel you mentioned, its one thing to tolerate a single or small community and another to allow that minority to continue to increase the negative impact on the majority. Permission leads to entitlement leads to overreach leads to backlash.

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  79. SKI says:

    @Jen: All politics are local.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  80. panda says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Understood – what concerns me are the twin pillars of disproportionate Orthodox immigration and birth rates.

    This is just a quick reminder that aliyah is just not that of a significant demographic factor anymore. The last great wave was from Russia and had very few orthodox people, and since, immigration is in the very low 5 figures annually.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  81. al-Alameda says:

    @Tyrell:

    He is also “pissing off” a lot of Democrats who, because of Obama’s recent misguided actions, won’t stand a chance of getting elected assistant dog catcher over in Hazzard County come next election !
    Is this the “legacy” that he keeps talking about ?

    What ‘misguided’ comments are you talking about?

    By the way, 33% of Americans, nearly all of whom are Republican, continue to believe that Obama was born in Kenya.

    I don’t think he’s ‘pissing off’ many Democrats, I think he’s ‘pissing off’ the very same people who have hated him since the day he was inaugurated in 2009.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0