On December 23, 2016, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 2334, which “reaffirmed…that Israel’s establishment of settlements in Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, had no legal validity, constituting a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the vision of two States living side-by-side in peace and security, within internationally recognized borders.”
Furthermore, the resolution “Underlines that it will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations…”
Four of the five permanent members of the Security Council, China, France, Russian Federation and the United Kingdom voted for the resolution. The US abstained.
Few objective observers question that the Obama administration orchestrated this cowardly assault on the Jewish state. US Secretary of State John Kerry’s assertion that America’s “primary objective” in not vetoing the resolution was “to preserve the possibility of the two-state solution,” rings hollow.
As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu affirmed, “We have no doubt that the Obama administration initiated it, stood behind it, coordinated on the wording and demanded that it be passed.”
Now that Obama does not need the financial support or the votes of the terribly naive and misguided American Jews who voted for him, he is free to express his true feelings towards Israel. Were this failure to veto Resolution 2334 merely payback for Obama’s intense dislike of Mr. Netanyahu, he would not have chosen the UN Security Council to vent his personal animus.
The UN is not the venue to settle a personal score; it’s where Zionism has been equated with racism and Israel is delegitimized and branded a pariah state within the world community. As Mr. Netanyahu noted, “Friends don’t take friends to the Security Council.”
Whether Resolution 2334 is enforceable or not under Chapter VI of the UN charter, the UN has given legitimacy to the false charge that the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria are illegal. This furthers the narrative against Israel through lies, disinformation and double standards, which ultimately leads to challenging the legal, political and moral justification for the Jewish state. In this scenario, Israel is seen as the obstacle to peace, and a tyrannical government with no historic or legal claim to the land of Israel or to Jerusalem, her capital.
There are potentially additional repercussions from this public relations and political fiasco, as The Jerusalem Post points out. Fatou Bensouda, the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) Prosecutor, can decide to initiate a more extensive investigation into the Israeli/Palestinian Arab conflict. She has already begun an initial inquiry into Israel’s alleged war crimes during the 2014 Gaza war and into the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.
Aside from potential war crimes trials, The Post raises the possibility that Israeli officials might be arrested if they visit the 120 countries who are members of the ICC, which includes Europe. Israelis might also be reluctant to volunteer for combat units, lest they be subpoenaed to appear before the ICC at The Hague.
Israel’s experience with “Zionism equals racism” provides insight into the pernicious nature of Resolution 2334 and the UN. On November 10, 1975, the 37th anniversary of Kristallnacht (Night of the Broken Glass), the UN General Assembly declared that Zionism is Racism (Z=R) when it passed Resolution 3379. By conferring legitimacy on anti-Semitism, Israel was “no longer among the ordinary evil-doers of this world,” wrote Ehud Sprinzak, a political science professor at The Hebrew University. The UN provided the stage and a guilt-free path for anti-Semites and anti-Semitism.
To counter the process of delegitimization, he said, the charges have to be seen as a “corruption of language and thought,” and a campaign of disinformation. We must insist the UN rescind Resolution 2334 as it did with the Z=R resolution in 1991, and we must continue to fight the distortions in the academy and in the media.
Repealing the resolution will not be easy. Abba Eban, Israel’s first permanent representative to the UN, once called the UN, “the world center for anti-Semitism.” Attacks against Israel were so strident during his tenure, he said that “If Algeria introduced a resolution declaring that the earth was flat and that Israel had flattened it, it would pass by a vote of 164 to 13 with 26 abstentions.”
We are heartened that President-elect Donald Trump has acknowledged that the resolution was a “big loss” for Israel, which “will make it much harder to negotiate peace,” pledging “we will get it done anyway.”
By Alex Grobman, PhD
Alex Grobman, a Hebrew University-trained historian, has written three new books on Israel: “BDS: The Movement to Destroy Israel;” “Erosion: Undermining Israel through Lies and Deception;” and “Cultivating Canaan: Who Owns the Holy Land?” He also wrote “Nations United: How The UN Undermines Israel and the West.” He is a consultant to the America-Israel Friendship League, a member of the Council of Scholars for Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME), and a member of the Academic Council of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies.