Tag: UN Human Rights Council


Don’t Separate Families at the Border — But Don’t Expropriate the Holocaust Either: Abraham Cooper, Algemeiner, June 21, 2018— As an Orthodox rabbi, it is not for me to comment on US Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ invocation of the New Testament to justify separating children from parents who were caught trying to illegally enter the US at the Mexican border.

Trump’s Wise to Quit the UN Human Rights Council — It’s an Oxymoron Not Worthy of Our Respect or Support: Anne Bayefsky, Fox News, June 20, 2018— President Trump has rightly decided to terminate U.S. membership in what U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday called the “misnamed” U.N. “Human Rights” Council.

A Week of Infamy at the United Nations: David Gerstman, Tower, June 4, 2018— When Syria ascended to the role of presidency of the United Nations Conference on Disarmament for one month on Monday, Robert Wood, the United States ambassador to the conference, called it “one of the darkest days in the history of the Conference on Disarmament.”

A Tribute to Charles Krauthammer: David M. Weinberg, Jerusalem Post, June 21, 2018— Dr. Charles Krauthammer, perhaps the most luminous and incisive columnist of this generation, announced two weeks ago that he was stricken with terminal cancer and had only weeks to live.

On Topic Links

Charles Krauthammer, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Columnist and Intellectual Provocateur, Dies at 68: Adam Bernstein, Washington Post, June 21, 2018

Ending The ‘Theater of the Absurd’ At The UNHRC: Gregg Roman, The Hill, June 20, 2018

Why are We Backing UNRWA, the United Nations’ Permanent Inciter?: Bradley Martin, American Spectator, May 23, 2018

Conference: Reforming UNRWA (Video): BESA Center, March 18, 2018





Abraham Cooper

Algemeiner, June 21, 2018

As an Orthodox rabbi, it is not for me to comment on US Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ invocation of the New Testament to justify separating children from parents who were caught trying to illegally enter the US at the Mexican border. Suffice it to say that New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who represents 2.6 million Catholics, called the crackdown “unbiblical.”

Speaking for our constituency at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, we said the following: Like millions of Americans on both sides of the political divide, we want our leaders to solve the humanitarian crisis at hand. No matter what the divisions are over immigration policies, it is unacceptable to separate little children from their parents. That isn’t what America stands for. Those are not our values. We urge immediate steps to ameliorate this situation and for the Administration and Congress to finally take the necessary steps to end this problem.

We are not naïve, and know full well that it will take nothing short of a miracle to triangulate the divergent views of Democrats, Republicans, and President Trump and come up with a comprehensive solution to all the issues related to illegal immigration. Now in the midst of the contentious debate, there are some thoughtful legislators, including Senator Ted Cruz and Congressman Mark Meadows, who are weighing in to deal with the children caught in the middle. And yesterday, Donald Trump issued an executive order that he claimed would end the practice of parents being separated from their children.

Without action on immigration, our society will lurch from emotional and incendiary crisis to crisis — sometimes focusing on an innocent child’s wail, sometimes on the sobs of a bereaved family robbed of a loved one by a criminal who never should have been in the United States in the first place.

But there is another victim of the children at the border debate: historic truth. Those entrusted with protecting the memory of the six million victims of the Nazi Holocaust — and teaching lessons from history’s greatest crime, which included the mass murder of 1.5 million Jewish children — are shocked by the wholesale and dishonest expropriation of the symbols and imagery of the Holocaust by critics of the treatment of children at the US border.

For starters, Wikipedia now includes the detention centers where these children are held in the article about Concentration and Internment camps. Social media has been abuzz with comparisons including to the infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, where innocents were beaten, starved, and gassed to death. No less than former CIA Director Michael Hayden, now a CNN pundit, posted a picture of the entrance to the infamous Auschwitz death camp. He later offered an “apology” that read more like gloating over “overachieving.” A more apt lesson for Hayden from that era was the failure of the CIA’s World War II predecessor, the OSS, to do anything to stop or slow down the Nazi genocide of Jews.

Then there was MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough who opened “Morning Joe” last Friday by declaring: “Children are being marched away to showers — just like the Nazis said they were taking people to the showers, and then they never came back. You’d think they would use another trick.” On Sunday, another cable commentator insisted, “Increasingly, Donald Trump is turning this nation into Nazi Germany and turning these [detention centers] into concentration camps.” Social media postings invoked the same imagery and talking points.

For 25 years, our Museum of Tolerance has educated millions of visitors, including 160,000 law enforcement officials, about Auschwitz, Anne Frank, and the murder of 1.5 million Jewish children and their families by the Nazi perpetrators of the genocidal “Final Solution.” Visitors also learn about today’s real-time civil and human rights crises, and contemporary mass murder and genocide. But we would never tell a young visitor that every human rights outrage is equivalent to Auschwitz. That is a lie. We can only hope that the depths of its moral depravity will never again be repeated in our world.

Finally, the images emanating from along the Texas border are powerful enough to inspire people to act without deploying Holocaust imagery that demonizes other Americans and debases the memory of six million murdered Jews. US border guards and Homeland Security personnel are not Nazis. Critics should stop slandering them. We live in the world’s greatest democracy. Our elected officials have the tools to fix what’s broken.




IT’S AN OXYMORON NOT WORTHY OF OUR RESPECT OR SUPPORT                                                             

Anne Bayefsky

Fox News, June 20, 2018

President Trump has rightly decided to terminate U.S. membership in what U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday called the “misnamed” U.N. “Human Rights” Council. The move comes after the Trump administration gave the council 17 months to get serious about reform and to stop spreading anti-Semitism under the false flag of promoting human rights.

Many believed it was 17 months that the U.N. didn’t deserve. U.S. membership on the council legitimized an especially treacherous adversary to liberal democracies: the faux human rights victim. But in response, U.N. actors squandered the more than generous opportunities for change provided during hundreds of meetings and are left with no one to blame but themselves. The Human Rights Council was the U.N.’s cure for the Human Rights Commission – presided over by Muammar Qaddafi’s Libya shortly before somebody noticed it lacked credibility.

Other than the name change from “Commission” to “Council,” the other big difference was that when the the commission ended in 2006, its members included China, Cuba, Russia and Saudi Arabia, and when the General Assembly elected the members of the new Council, they chose China, Cuba, Russia and Saudi Arabia. (No joke.) Now among the 47 U.N. states calling the shots on the organization’s top human rights body are such human rights paragons as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Qatar and Venezuela.

The Trump administration tried hard to address the conditions for membership on the council. While the General Assembly was first drafting the rules for the council back in 2005, then-U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton (currently President Trump’s national security adviser) worked tirelessly to do the same. During a five-year “review” to fix the council back in 2011, the Obama administration pushed for membership reform as well. They all failed, Democrat and Republican alike.

The main distinction between Republican and Democratic approaches to the council was over the issues of whether to join it and whether to foot the bill. President George W. Bush said that if the council was a tool for human rights abusers to masquerade as human rights authorities, and to foment anti-Semitism by using the Jewish state as a proverbial scapegoat, the leader of the free world would not join or legitimize the council. President Obama said it’s better to engage, just as it was better to engage and empower Iranian sponsors of terrorism, to engage and enable Syrian dictator Bashar Assad “the reformer,” and to engage and reset relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin until he felt secure enough to invade his neighbors.

There is no doubt that the U.N. Human Rights Council is a productive tool for anti-Semites. Discrimination against the Jewish state is baked into procedures and output as well as into its composition. The council reserves one permanent agenda item for every one of its regular sessions for condemning only Israel. All other 192 U.N. member states are considered together under a separate item, if they are discussed at all. The council has adopted more resolutions condemning Israel than any other country on Earth, and nothing condemning almost 90 percent of the world’s states. The council has held more emergency special sessions on Israel than on any other country, including Syria – where at least 500,000 have died and up to 12 million people have been displaced.

But even beyond the disturbing fact that anti-Semitism thrives at the United Nations under the guise of human rights is that the “human rights” experts, the nongovernmental organizations and the academic entourage surrounding this whole apparatus, have the council’s back. For months, they have been flooding the airwaves and Haley and Pompeo’s email inboxes begging the Trump administration to stay on the council.  In a nutshell, they make one basic point: the demonization of Israel, even if undeserved, is peripheral to the common good.

Pompeo and Haley have courageously decided to set them straight. Equal rights cannot be built on inequality for Jews and the Jewish state. Playing minority groups against each other is not progress, it’s discrimination. And unless and until the common good has no Jewish exemption clause, the U.N. “Human Rights” Council is an oxymoron that does not deserve our respect or support.




David Gerstman

Tower, June 4, 2018

When Syria ascended to the role of presidency of the United Nations Conference on Disarmament for one month on Monday, Robert Wood, the United States ambassador to the conference, called it “one of the darkest days in the history of the Conference on Disarmament.”

The week at the U.N. did not get better. Syria assumed the role of presidency of the conference, despite committing the war crime of deploying chemical weapons against civilians, by virtue of its place in the alphabet — it followed Switzerland. The New York Times explained that the reason for the rotating scheme was “to prevent major powers dominating the forum.” The problem is that the U.N., according to its charter, was founded, in part, to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind.”

How does giving a regime that uses prohibited weapons presidency over a conference devoted to abrogating such weapons save anyone from “the scourge of war?” As the Times subsequently pointed out, Syria only agreed to join the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention, one of the treaties authored by the conference that prohibits the manufacturing, stockpiling, and use of chemical weapons, AFTER the regime was found to have used sarin in a 2013 attack on a Damascus suburb that killed 1,400 people. Even once Syria joined the treaty, investigators have documented more than 30 additional chemical weapons attacks carried out by the Syrian government.

The idea that major powers shouldn’t dominate a U.N. conference may be reasonable. However, there should be some way to police who serves or presides over conferences based on their records. That Syria, which violated one of the primary objectives of the Disarmament Conference — the banning of chemical weapons — should preside over the conference is a travesty. Syria was not the only bad actor to avoid the consequences of its actions this week at the U.N. On Wednesday, Hamas, the Iran-backed terrorist organization, was spared a U.N. Security Council statement condemning the latest barrage of rockets and mortars fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip.

The U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley responded to Kuwait’s veto, saying that condemning Hamas for firing rockets at civilians should have been a “no-brainer.” “Apparently, some Council members did not think Hamas launching rockets qualified as terrorism,” she added. “The United States begs to differ.” Again, if we look at the U.N. charter, one the goals stated is “to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used.” How does letting a terrorist group firing rockets and mortars at civilians without, at least, condemnation reinforce the message that “armed force shall not be used?”

If the U.N.’s week was marked by letting human rights abusers and terrorists off the hook, how could it be worse? Because European diplomats decided that Israel, the Middle East’s only democracy, should continue to be singled out for special scrutiny and inevitable condemnation by the misnamed United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

Colum Lynch reported Wednesday for Foreign Policy that unnamed “key European allies” would not support a U.N. General Assembly vote to remove UNHRC’s notorious Agenda Item 7, which singles out Israel — the only nation so treated — for special scrutiny by the council. Lynch described the motivation of the European diplomats, who are concerned that the U.S. initiative “could inflict long-lasting damage to the world’s principal human rights agency and undermine efforts to expose human rights violations elsewhere.” But Lynch also observed that the council was formed in 2006 to replace “the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, whose credibility had been tainted by the presence of member states with abysmal rights records.”

Currently, as UN Watch has documented, the new, “improved” council has such gross human rights violators  Qatar, Pakistan, DR Congo, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Burundi, China, Cuba, Venezuela, and UAE, to the council violating the “UN’s own basic membership criteria.” It’s hard to understand Europe’s concern about the possible “long-lasting damage” to the council when it appears that it is just as tainted with human rights abusers as its discredited predecessor was.

Agenda Items 7 doesn’t just single out Israel for scrutiny, it effectively prejudges Israel as guilty in any violence with the Palestinians.  Given that Israel is the only nation singled out, it also makes the agenda item discriminatory and anti-Semitic. Whichever European nations refused to support the U.S. initiative should have done so even if there wasn’t their misplace concern about damage to the council.

To refer again to the U.N.’s charter, the founders said that the goal of the organization is promoting “equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small.” A provision that singles out one nation — especially a free nation — for extra scrutiny and condemnation violates this vision of equal rights for all nations. By allowing Syria to assume the presidency of its Conference on Disarmament, the U.N. experienced a dark day. By subsequently refusing to condemn Hamas, and leaving Israel open to even more unjust vilification, the U.N. has darkened itself even further.





A TRIBUTE TO CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER                                                           

David M. Weinberg

Jerusalem Post, June 21, 2018

Dr. Charles Krauthammer, perhaps the most luminous and incisive columnist of this generation, announced two weeks ago that he was stricken with terminal cancer and had only weeks to live. I feel an obligation to pay homage to this incredible man, and to add a Jewish, Zionist and personal angle to the many tributes to him that have rightly poured forth.

For 38 years, Krauthammer’s columns, essays, and lectures have stood as pillars of conservative principle and moral clarity. On foreign policy matters, he was unquestionably the most radiant intellectual hawk in America, and on Middle East affairs he was the most consistent defender of Israel and the US-Israel special relationship.

Two examples of his razor-sharp writing regarding Israel and American Mideast policy will suffice, among hundreds of exhibits. Krauthammer wrote in 2014 about “Kafkaesque ethical inversions” that make for Western criticism of Israel. “The world’s treatment of Israel is Orwellian, fueled by a mix of classic antisemitism, near-total historical ignorance and reflexive sympathy for the ostensible Third World underdog,” he wrote. He understood that eruptions featuring Palestinian casualties (such as recent Hamas assaults on the Gaza border) were “depravity.”

“The whole point is to produce dead Palestinians for international television; to deliberately wage war so that your own people can be telegenically killed; indeed, moral and tactical insanity,” he said. “But it rests on a very rational premise. The whole point is to draw Israeli counter-fire; to produce dead Palestinians for international television, and to ultimately undermine support for Israel’s legitimacy and right to self-defense.”

In 2015, he repeatedly skewered then-president Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, calling it “the worst agreement in U.S. diplomatic history.” To Obama, he wrote accusingly: “You set out to prevent proliferation and you trigger it. You set out to prevent an Iranian nuclear capability and you legitimize it. You set out to constrain the world’s greatest exporter of terror threatening every one of our allies in the Middle East and you’re on the verge of making it the region’s economic and military hegemon.”

Krauthammer’s profound understanding of Jewish history, his admiration for Israel, and his very deep concern for its future were on fullest display in a magisterial essay he published in The Weekly Standard in 1998 entitled “At Last, Zion.” The essay conducted a sweeping analysis of Jewish peoplehood, from Temple times and over 2,000 years of Diaspora history to the modern return to Zion.

Krauthammer understood that American Jewry was dying. “Nothing will revive the Jewish communities of Eastern Europe and the Islamic world. And nothing will stop the rapid decline by assimilation of Western Jewry.” The dynamics of assimilation were inexorable in America and elsewhere, he wrote. Israel, Krauthammer understood, was different. “Exceptional,” he called it – because Israel was about “reattachment of Russian and Romanian, Uzbeki and Iraqi, Algerian and Argentinean Jews to a distinctively Hebraic culture,” and this gave it civilizational and societal staying power for the long term.

Israel “is now the principal drama of Jewish history,” he wrote. “What began as an experiment has become the very heart of the Jewish people – its cultural, spiritual, and psychological center, soon to become its demographic center as well. Israel is the hinge. Upon it rest the hopes – the only hope – for Jewish continuity and survival.” However, because the “cosmology of the Jewish people has been transformed into a single-star system with a dwindling Diaspora orbiting around,” Krauthammer was apprehensive. It frightened him that “Jews have put all their eggs in one basket, a small basket hard by the waters of the Mediterranean. And on its fate hinges everything Jewish.”

Israel’s centrality, he feared, was a “bold and dangerous new strategy for Jewish survival” because of the many security threats posed to the country, chiefly among them the specter of Iranian nuclear weapons. Indeed, Krauthammer’s essay “thinks the unthinkable” and “contemplates Israel’s disappearance.” And while Jewish political independence has been extinguished twice before and bounced back following centuries of dispersion, Krauthammer doubted that the Jewish People could pull the trick again. “Twice Jews defied the norm [and survived Diaspora]. But never, I fear, again.”…


CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!



On Topic Links

Charles Krauthammer, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Columnist and Intellectual Provocateur, Dies at 68: Adam Bernstein, Washington Post, June 21, 2018—Charles Krauthammer, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist and intellectual provocateur who championed the muscular foreign policy of neoconservatism that helped lay the ideological groundwork for the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, died June 21 at 68.

Ending The ‘Theater of the Absurd’ At The UNHRC: Gregg Roman, The Hill, June 20, 2018—It is possible that there is no more misplaced and absurdly titled international body than the United Nations Human Rights Council. Though the name sounds noble, its work is anything but, so it is entirely correct that the United States no longer plays along with this macabre charade and has officially withdrawn from the organization.

Why are We Backing UNRWA, the United Nations’ Permanent Inciter?: Bradley Martin, American Spectator, May 23, 2018—After the latest violence in Gaza, it is clear that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency’s continuous support of Palestinian terrorism is a major cause of instability in the Middle East and should be defunded.

Conference: Reforming UNRWA (Video): BESA Center, March 18, 2018—“Palestine refugees” have been exceptionally indulged by the international community for 70 long years. Consider the ways: They should not even have been classified as refugees, they had the unprecedented benefit of a relief agency created exclusively for their welfare (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA), and they uniquely can pass on the “refugee” status to future generations.





Richard Goldstone

Washington Post, April 1, 2011


We know a lot more today about what happened in the Gaza war of 2008-09 than we did when I chaired the fact-finding mission appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Council that produced what has come to be known as the Goldstone Report. If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.

The final report by the U.N. committee of independent experts—chaired by former New York judge Mary McGowan Davis—that followed up on the recommendations of the Goldstone Report has found that “Israel has dedicated significant resources to investigate over 400 allegations of operational misconduct in Gaza” while “the de facto authorities (i.e., Hamas) have not conducted any investigations into the launching of rocket and mortar attacks against Israel.”

Our report found evidence of potential war crimes and “possibly crimes against humanity” by both Israel and Hamas. That the crimes allegedly committed by Hamas were intentional goes without saying—its rockets were purposefully and indiscriminately aimed at civilian targets.

The allegations of intentionality by Israel were based on the deaths of and injuries to civilians in situations where our fact-finding mission had no evidence on which to draw any other reasonable conclusion. While the investigations published by the Israeli military and recognized in the U.N. committee’s report have established the validity of some incidents that we investigated in cases involving individual soldiers, they also indicate that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.…

Although the Israeli evidence that has emerged since publication of our report doesn’t negate the tragic loss of civilian life, I regret that our fact-finding mission did not have such evidence explaining the circumstances in which we said civilians in Gaza were targeted, because it probably would have influenced our findings about intentionality and war crimes.…

Some have suggested that it was absurd to expect Hamas, an organization that has a policy to destroy the state of Israel, to investigate what we said were serious war crimes. It was my hope, even if unrealistic, that Hamas would do so, especially if Israel conducted its own investigations. At minimum I hoped that in the face of a clear finding that its members were committing serious war crimes, Hamas would curtail its attacks. Sadly, that has not been the case. Hundreds more rockets and mortar rounds have been directed at civilian targets in southern Israel.… The U.N. Human Rights Council should condemn these heinous acts in the strongest terms.… So, too, the Human Rights Council should condemn the inexcusable and cold-blooded recent slaughter of a young Israeli couple and three of their small children in their beds.…

Simply put, the laws of armed conflict apply no less to non-state actors such as Hamas than they do to national armies. Ensuring that non-state actors respect these principles, and are investigated when they fail to do so, is one of the most significant challenges facing the law of armed conflict. Only if all parties to armed conflicts are held to these standards will we be able to protect civilians who, through no choice of their own, are caught up in war.

(Richard Goldstone chaired the U.N. fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict.)


Isie Leibler
Jerusalem Post, April 4, 2011


One would surely have expected that when Richard Goldstone felt impelled to belatedly retract his previous appalling defamation of Israel, he might have selected a more appropriate outlet to make his statement than an obscure op-ed column in a Washington newspaper. Goldstone should at least have gone on record requesting the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) which orchestrated his report to enable him to express his mea culpa from its podium.

But let us be under no illusions. No statement or action can undo the immense damage that Goldstone’s blood libel inflicted upon the Jewish people. Being Jewish and claiming to be a Zionist gave the report additional credence for many uninformed outsiders. The hatred it unleashed is almost irreversible and his report became the most effective component of the campaign of demonization and delegitimization against us.

It portrayed us to the world at large as savages, war criminals indulging in premeditated murders against innocent Palestinian women and children. His substantiation at this late stage of the veracity of the IDF statistics which insisted that the vast majority killed in the conflict were Hamas terrorists will do little to neutralize the previous statements portraying Israeli soldiers as deliberate murderers.

Like the medieval blood libels, these evil lies are likely to remain embedded in the consciousness of people for hundreds of years. There is no way to express our rage over the damage that this dreadful man inflicted upon his people. He is reminiscent of the Jewish converts who turned on their own people and published anti-Semitic tracts in order to ingratiate themselves with their Christian keepers.

Even now, Goldstone still sanctimoniously insists that had Israel collaborated with his kangaroo court commission of enquiry, the report would never have appeared in its present form. He fails to point out that Israel indirectly provided the information but his committee distorted and misrepresented the data in order to further demonize us.

There are of course other guilty accomplices, including Jews and Israelis who collaborated with Goldstone in his efforts to defame us. Amongst the most prominent were those associated with the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz, which months earlier, paved the way for Goldstone with a series of wild allegations against the IDF based on rumor and hearsay that were subsequently proven to be without foundation. Yet the massive Haaretz coverage of these discredited reports were featured on the front pages of newspapers throughout the world and helped create the hostile climate paving the way towards the United Nations Human Rights Council report branding us as war criminals.

Needless to say, the same applies to the NGOs and anti-Israeli Diaspora Jews who endorsed the findings, and organizations such as J Street which promoted Goldstone amongst members of Congress. It is unlikely that they will follow Goldstone’s lead and apologize.

One also recalls the deplorable behavior of the European nations who abstained or voted in support of the despicable resolution. Not to mention our duplicitous peace partner Mahmoud Abbas whose spokesmen today reiterated their position depicting the IDF as war criminals.

It is perhaps also appropriate to observe that Libya, Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia which were amongst the main countries promoting the campaign of defamation against us at the UN Human Rights Council are now currently in the public eye. When one observes the current behavior of their governments towards their own citizens one can appreciate the absolute sham of the United Nations and its subcommittees. In a sane environment, the odious inappropriately titled Human Rights Council would be disbanded. This will not happen and it is almost comical to observe Goldstone calling on the HRC to now condemn genocidal Hamas’s “heinous acts in the strongest terms.…”


David Horovitz
Jerusalem Post, April 2, 2011


Yom Kippur has evidently come early this year for Richard Goldstone. He couldn’t quite bring himself, in his Friday article “Reconsidering the Goldstone Report on Israel and War Crimes,” to write, “I have sinned, forgive me.”

But the astounding piece in The Washington Post by the Jewish justice, who presided over the Goldstone Report that accused Israel of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead, represents nothing less than an apology to Israel.… How dramatic the about-face. And how terrible that it was necessitated.

How tragic, that is, that Goldstone so misplaced his moral compass in the first place as to have produced a report that has caused such irreversible damage to Israel’s good name. Tragic least of all for the utterly discredited Goldstone himself, and most of all for our unfairly besmirched armed forces and the country they were putting their lives on the line to honorably defend against a ruthless, murderous, terrorist government in Gaza.

The “if I had know then what I know now” defense Goldstone invokes to try to justify his perfidy is typically flimsy, of course. Sanctimonious even now, Goldstone complains about Israel’s “lack of cooperation with our investigation.” But as he knows full well, Israel could not possibly have formally cooperated with his inquiry, which had been constructed by the obsessively anti-Israel UN Human Rights Council with the precise intention of blackening Israel’s name, legitimizing its enemies and curtailing its capacity to defend itself in future conflicts—such as the one Israel may have to fight quite soon if the current upsurge in Hamas rocket fire continues.…

Notwithstanding [Israel’s] absent formal cooperation, however, the truth about what happened in Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009—the truth that Goldstone now disingenuously claims to have discovered only after he filed his malicious indictment of the IDF and of Israel—was readily available to him at the time.

Israel did informally make the necessary information available to his committee in the shape of detailed reports on what had unfolded. And open sources, honestly evaluated, left no doubt that Hamas was the provocateur, that Hamas was deliberately placing Palestinians in harm’s way, that Hamas was lying about the proportion of combatants among the Gaza dead. Open sources also left no doubt that the IDF—far from deliberately targeting civilians; the bitter accusation at the heart of Goldstone’s report—was doing more than most any military force has ever done to minimize civilian deaths, even as it sought to destroy the terrorist infrastructure and pick out the terrorists who had been firing relentlessly into Israel’s residential areas. [Editor’s note: Prior to the Gaza incursion, the IDF is known to have dropped leaflets and made telephone calls to civilians giving them advance warning to evacuate.]

Only now, 18 months after he submitted his incendiary accusations against Israel, has Goldstone brought himself to acknowledge what a fair-minded investigation would have established from the start—that the IDF emphatically did not seek to kill civilians in Gaza. As he puts it in the simple phrase that should reverberate inside every foreign parliament and every human rights organization that rushed to demonize Israel: “Civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.…”

Unfortunately, Goldstone’s “reconsideration” will not garner a thousandth of the publicity or have a thousandth of the impact that his original, baseless accusations against Israel drew. Governments—including, to what should be their abiding shame, self-styled friends of Israel in Europe and beyond who failed to vote against this report—will not rush to deliver the apology they owe our government and our soldiers. They will not rush to recalibrate their policies. They will not now rush to issue statements expressing their confidence in Israel’s capacity to properly investigate allegations of misdoings by its military, even though the man who had previously given cover for their criticisms has now reversed himself and penned an article endorsing Israel’s processes for self-investigation.

The statesmen and the NGOs that savaged us, using the Goldstone Report as their “proof,” will not now, prompted by Goldstone’s reversal, ratchet up their criticisms of Hamas. They will not now express their outrage at the Palestinian Authority’s efforts to exploit the Goldstone Report to harm Israel—a key milestone on the PA’s road toward international recognition for a unilateral declaration of statehood. They will not now demand that PA leader Mahmoud Abbas abandon his current effort to negotiate “unity” with Hamas, a terrorist group avowedly working for the destruction of Israel and, as Goldstone now writes, “purposefully and indiscriminately” targeting Israel’s civilians.

They should, but they will not. They have moved on now. Israel’s guilt has long-since been “established.” And no matter that the man who certified it has belatedly internalized the gravity of the big lie he helped facilitate.

Nor either, pitifully, will the media organizations that so hyped the baseless allegations of Israeli war crimes now allocate similar broadcast-topping coverage and front page space to Goldstone’s belated exoneration of Israel. It will be a surprise, indeed, if we see the world’s most resonant newspapers following Goldstone’s lead and penning texts acknowledging that their reports and their analyses and their expert opinion pieces were wide of the mark.

And we had best not hold our breath, either, for Israel’s own internal critics—including certain widely cited newspapers and so-called watchdog groups that amplified the allegations of deliberate killings of civilians, and that so often seem to want to believe the very worst about Israel in the face of all reasonable evidence to the contrary—to emulate the judge’s shift.

The hollow Goldstone now writes that “I had hoped that our inquiry into all aspects of the Gaza conflict would begin a new era of evenhandedness at the UN Human Rights Council, whose history of bias against Israel cannot be doubted.”

Given that “history of bias” at the council, one can only wonder, yet again, why Goldstone consented to do its dirty work for it, to such devastating effect. His duplicitous investigation has had a toxic effect everywhere on the second battlefield—in diplomatic and legal forums, in the media, on university campuses, in global public discourse. He poisoned Israel’s name. And on the real battlefield, he gave succor to our enemies, encouraging them to believe that they could kill us not with mere impunity, but with active international empathy and support. He alleged that we were an immoral enemy, and thus he put all of our lives at greater risk.

An apology just isn’t good enough. The very least he owes Israel is to work unstintingly from now on to try to undo the damage he has caused.

Yom Kippur came early this year for Richard Goldstone. His show of penitence has come far too late.


Avi Bell
Jerusalem Post, April 3, 2011


Last Monday, I debated with Richard Goldstone about the controversial Goldstone Report at Stanford Law School. Three days later, Justice Goldstone finally admitted, in The Washington Post, that, contrary to the report’s assertions, Israel did not intentionally target civilians. A Palestinian outfit called the International Middle East Media Center carried a story this weekend lamenting that “racist Zionists” at the debate …were responsible for convincing Goldstone of the error of his ways. Sadly, this is, at best, only partly true.…

Even with the friendly format, Richard Goldstone cannot have enjoyed the criticism. As I watched him sitting through the debate stone-faced, his wife sitting next to him, and as I thought back on his lengthy resumé, I recognized the enormous tragedy of a man, once lauded as a champion of human rights, becoming a shill for a terrorist organization.

Goldstone had been proud to take credit for his work in prosecuting war criminals before such institutions as the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. And now he had to listen to his professional colleagues demonstrate how the Goldstone Report distorted international law and, as The Washington Post editorialized, made a “mockery of impartiality, with its judgment of facts.”

When the Goldstone Report was first published in 2009, with a brew of blood libels and legal fallacies that exceeded even the usual anti-Israel vitriol produced by the UN Human Rights Council, Goldstone went on a PR offensive. He took to the airwaves to try to sell the idea that the report, which conspicuously and repeatedly denied or whitewashed nearly all of Hamas’s crimes, was accurate in accusing Israelis and Israel’s leadership of the most monstrous crimes and motives. Even then, Goldstone’s going was not easy. The Economist, generally cold to Israel, condemned the report as “deeply flawed,” and a “thimbleful of poison.” A barrelful is more like it.

Now Goldstone has produced less than a thimbleful of contrition. He still refuses to acknowledge the cocktail of lies and distortions that comprise the Goldstone Report. Goldstone has refused to disavow the report’s attempt to eliminate laws against terrorism from the international legal codex.… He has not renounced the preposterous characterization of Gaza as territory under Israeli occupation, or the report’s shocking claim that Israel’s limited economic sanctions against the Hamas government are an unlawful form of collective punishment. He continues to remain silent on the report labeling all Israelis liars to stamp Hamas’s anti-Israel libels with the imprimatur of truth. He has not yet expressed remorse about the report’s gratuitous inclusion of anti- Jewish slurs, such as its endorsement of the bigoted claim that Israeli Jews are dehumanized and paranoid.

Goldstone said during the debate that no one has disputed the report’s factual allegations. But this is demonstrably false and Goldstone knew it, because he was looking right at me when I reminded him of this fact during the debate. He did not repeat the claim in The Washington Post.…

Israel’s investigations started before the Goldstone Report, just as they do after every major IDF combat operation. Being professional and thorough, Israeli investigators gathered all the relevant evidence, and continued for as long as it took to arrive at answers that would hold up in court. Unsurprisingly, the investigators could not corroborate even one of the Goldstone Report’s accusations as printed.

The Palestinians, by contrast, never have and never will impose any criminal price upon Palestinians for crimes against humanity victimizing Jews; indeed, both the Fatah-led and Hamas-led Palestinian governments still name public buildings after terrorists. No one has investigated Hamas’s use of civilian shields, its commandeering of hospitals and ambulances, or many of its other war crimes.

Goldstone excused the report’s harsh pronouncements of Israeli guilt on the grounds that his mission did not have contrary evidence. But this is both false and irrelevant. The mission had plenty of contrary evidence, including photographs and testimony, which it willfully disregarded. Where evidence was lacking, the responsible course was to admit that the mission did not know what had happened. Instead, the report repeatedly and unjustifiably presumed Israel guilty and Hamas innocent.

Goldstone’s belated and partial acknowledgement of error has not undone the report’s damage. The reputation of the UN Human Rights Council is at a nadir. Legal scholars have observed that if the Goldstone Report’s perverted legal standards become those of international law, international law will no longer have any relevance to modern warfare.

Hamas enjoys newfound legitimacy as it pursues its express goals of destroying the Jewish state, waging eternal war on the Jewish people, and subjecting its own citizens to its puritanical and xenophobic interpretation of Islamic law.… Israelis, meanwhile, are harassed around the world by opponents of the Jewish state hiding behind the report’s distorted version of international law; last week, President Shimon Peres was threatened with arrest in Switzerland by activists claiming that the Goldstone Report “proves” his guilt.

It is a legacy to be ashamed of. And it is now Richard Goldstone’s.

(Avi Bell is a professor at Bar-Ilan University’s Faculty of Law and the University of San Diego School of Law. He participated in a debate on “The Goldstone Report and the Application of International Law to the Arab-Israeli Conflict.”)





Daniel Ayalon
Foreign Policy, March 2, 2011


The recent unrest in parts of the Arab world has not only exposed the appalling lack of development in these countries, but also a number of fundamental deficiencies in the international system. The United Nations, which began its life with a plurality of democratic nations, now allows for an automatic majority of nondemocratic nations. The international system dictates that Arab and Islamic nations, and their knee-jerk defenders, have a majority in almost all of its bodies.…

If there were ever an example of the inmates running the asylum, it is the U.N. Human Rights Council. This body has whitewashed the human rights record of some of the world’s most repressive regimes, while also providing them with a forum to ruminate on and condemn the actions of a free and open nation, Israel.

The Libyan regime, which is currently massacring its citizens in a desperate bid to remain in power, successfully sought a place on the Human Rights Council only last year. U.N. General Assembly Resolution 60/251, which created the council, stated that when electing members of the council, U.N. member states “shall take into account the contribution of candidates to the promotion and protection of human rights.” Only through an Orwellian flight of fancy could Libya’s contribution to the promotion and protection of human rights ever have been considered positive. Recent events have made it more akin to a sick joke.

Nevertheless, in a secret ballot, 155 states voted in favor of granting Libya a coveted place on the council. These votes were given to a country that was known to be involved in extrajudicial and summary executions, brutal torture, and aiding and abetting international terrorism.…

The recent human rights outrages in Libya are only the latest example of how repressive dictatorships have perverted the mission of this ostensibly august body. The international human rights organization Freedom House’s September 2010 “report card” on the council found that its “membership has become increasingly populated by authoritarian countries”—including Saudi Arabia and Cuba—and “continues to earn failing grades on its ability to respond to the world’s most pressing human rights issues.” The report further lambasted the council for its “disproportionate focus on Israel” and for becoming “appallingly politicized and dominated by some of the world’s most aggressive opponents of universal standards on human rights.”

Indeed, Qaddafi’s regime is far from the first repressive autocracy to serve on the Human Rights Council. In fact, the majority of nations currently sitting on the council are not even considered “free” by Freedom House’s extensive and detailed ranking system. Israel, on the other hand, is consistently rated as “free.…”

In light of recent events and the wretched human rights record of many of the council’s members, it should be considered a badge of honor to be condemned by such a body. If Qaddafi is the judge of what constitutes respect for human rights, then consider us—and all democracies—guilty.…

The U.N. Human Rights Council has once again proved itself outside the evolution and progress of history. The people of our region deserve better—and are hopefully slowly moving the Middle East to a better place. Let’s hope the council does not continue to serve as a barrier to their hopes and expectations.


Anne Bayefsky

National Review, March 25, 2011


President Obama’s decision to place the United Nations at the center of his foreign policy took another hit Friday as the U.N. Human Rights Council ended its latest session in Geneva. One of the president’s primary justifications for joining the notorious council shortly after he assumed office was its mandatory five-year review process; if the U.S. was a member, the administration claimed, it could influence this process. The process, which quietly unfolded in back rooms in Geneva over the past six months, has been exposed to be a total fraud, taking the administration’s cover down with it.

Starting last fall, the Obama team was a very active participant in a working group of the council that had been set up to tackle reform. At the end of February, the working group produced a document summarizing its decisions, and on Friday the council passed a resolution adopting that document by consensus—that is, without a vote. Regardless of the fact that every serious recommendation of the United States was rejected, Obama’s diplomats refused to call for a vote on the resolution so that they could vote against it.

They did play a little game intended to fool uninformed listeners by claiming to “dissociate” the administration from the resolution. However, since the resolution has been adopted by consensus, it will proceed unimpeded to the General Assembly, where it will be rubber-stamped. The U.S. could not have stopped the resolution, but an American vote against the measure would have been a major blow to the credibility of the Human Rights Council. It also would have set up the U.S. to leave the council as a logical consequence of the failure to reform it.

The slap in the face to President Obama is painfully clear from a short list of American demands for reform and the council’s responses.

The council has an official, permanent agenda that governs all its meetings and consists of only ten items. One of those items is reserved for condemning Israel, and another is assigned to human rights in the other 191 U.N. member states. This session, for instance, produced six resolutions condemning Israel, one resolution each on four other states, and nothing at all on the remaining 187 countries. The American delegation huffed and puffed that this obvious discrimination—which characterizes every meeting of the council—must come to an end, and proposed that the two agenda items be rolled into one. The proposal was rejected.

The American delegation proposed creating easier trigger mechanisms for convening special sessions on specific countries when serious human-rights concerns arise. The proposal was rejected. The American delegation proposed abolishing the council’s make-work “Advisory Committee.” It is currently populated by such human-rights luminaries as former Sandinista leader and suspended priest Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann. (Brockmann once served as president of the U.N. General Assembly and is best remembered for a series of anti-Semitic outbursts and for coming down off his podium to hug Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.) The proposal was rejected.

The American delegation proposed making public pre-screened complaints of gross and systematic violations of human rights that are received by the council. Specific cases, which have poured into the U.N. for over half a century from poor souls around the world, have never been revealed. The proposal was rejected. The American delegation proposed expanding the time allocated to discussions of abuses in specific countries. The proposal was rejected. The American delegation proposed that states running for a seat on the council should engage in a public dialogue with General Assembly members on their human-rights record, as measured by specific criteria. The proposal was rejected.

In all, the U.N. reports that 42 proposals were put forward by the American delegation orally and in writing. Only three were accepted. Those three addressed minutiae. For instance, the Obama team proposed allowing all states that wish to speak during the council’s “universal periodic review” (UPR) to be permitted to do so. The UPR is the procedure in which the council considers the human-rights record of every state, but the council tightly controls the time spent on each country. Council members are allotted three minutes’ and non-members two minutes’ worth of comments, regardless of the scope of the issues. Since the total time is fixed, would-be commentators are frequently silenced by ending up too low on the speakers’ list. The “reform” that was proposed and accepted? Keep the total time the same and reduce the allotted time per speaker. Thirty-second critiques of human-rights abuses, here we come.

Instead of admitting their complete inability to accomplish their mission of reforming the council, however, Obama’s representatives are scrambling to sweep the disaster under the rug. Admitting their error would no doubt strike at the heart of the president’s U.N. chorus line.

On March 31, 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.N. ambassador Susan Rice announced that the U.S. would seek to join the council “because we believe that working from within, we can make the Council a more effective forum,” and because “the Council…is scheduled to undergo a formal review of its structure and procedures in 2011, which will offer a significant opportunity for Council reform.” In a New York Times op-ed on Sept. 13, 2010, Eileen Donahoe—the United States’ ambassador to the council—called the review “a serious self-reflection exercise” and claimed that “if we do not sit at the table with others and do the work necessary to influence the process, U.S. values and priorities will not be reflected in the outcome.”

Now we know there was no “serious self-reflection.” U.S. values and priorities have not been reflected in the outcome. The reform opportunity is in shreds. The result leaves the administration with two choices. Choice number one: Admit the fiasco. Refuse to lend legitimacy to a highly discriminatory agency designed to help members…conceal their own abuses. And get out. Choice number two: Allow a bogus “reform” to be adopted by consensus, and stay put.

President Obama has evidently decided to take the second course, sending one more signal about how little he values Israel and how few are the number of human-rights victims around the world that stand any chance of capturing his attention.


Frank Gaffney, Jr.
Center for Security Policy, March 21, 2011


There are many reasons to be worried about the bridge-leap the Obama Administration has just undertaken in its war with Muammar Gaddafi.… Particularly concerning is the prospect that what we might call the Gaddafi Precedent will be used in the not-to-distant future to justify and threaten the use of U.S. military forces against an American ally: Israel. Here’s how such a seemingly impossible scenario might eventuate:

It begins with the Palestinian Authority seeking a UN Security Council resolution that would recognize its unilateral declaration of statehood. Three top female officials in the Obama administration reprise roles they played in the Council’s recent action on Libya: U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice, a vehement critic of Israel, urges that the United States support (or at least not veto) the Palestinians’ gambit. She is supported by the senior director for multilateral affairs at the National Security Council, Samantha Power, who in the past argued for landing a “mammoth force” of American troops to protect the Palestinians from Israel. Ditto Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose unalloyed sympathy for the Palestinian cause dates back at least to her days as First Lady.

This resolution enjoys the support of the other four veto-wielding Security Council members—Russia, China, Britain and France—[and] all of the other non-permanent members except India, which joins the United States in abstaining. As a result, it is adopted with overwhelming support from what is known as the “international community.”

With a stroke of the UN’s collective pen, substantial numbers of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Israeli citizens find themselves on the wrong side of internationally recognized borders. The Palestinian Authority (PA) insists on its longstanding position: The sovereign territory of Palestine must be rid of all Jews.… Hamas and Fatah bury the hatchet (temporarily), forging a united front…[and] then seeks international help to “liberate” their land.

As with the Gaddafi Precedent, the first to act is the Arab League. Its members unanimously endorse the use of force to protect the “Palestinian people” and end the occupation of the West Bank by the Israelis. Turkey (which is still a NATO ally, despite its ever-more-aggressive embrace of Islamism) is joined by Britain and France—two European nations increasingly hostile to Israel—in applauding this initiative in the interest of promoting “peace.” They call on the UN Security Council to authorize such steps as might be necessary to enforce the Arab League’s bidding.

Once again, Team Obama’s leading ladies—Mesdames Clinton, Power and Rice—align to support the “will of the international community.” They exemplify, and are prepared to enforce, the President’s willingness to subordinate U.S. sovereignty to the dictates of transnationalism and his personal hostility towards Israel. The concerns of Mr. Obama’s political advisors about alienating Jewish voters on the eve of the 2012 election are trumped by presidential sympathy for the Palestinian right to a homeland.

Accordingly, hard as it may be to believe given the United States’ longstanding role as Israel’s principal ally and protector, Mr. Obama acts, in accordance with the Gaddafi Precedent. He warns Israel that it must immediately take steps to dismantle its unwanted presence inside the internationally recognized State of Palestine, lest it face the sort of U.S.-enabled “coalition” military measures now underway in Libya.…

At the moment, it seems unlikely that the first application in Libya of the Gaddafi Precedent will have results consistent with U.S. interests. Even if a positive outcome is somehow forthcoming there, should Barack Obama and his anti-Israel troika of female advisors be allowed, based on that precedent, to realize the foregoing hypothetical scenario, they would surely precipitate a new international conflagration, one fraught with truly horrific repercussions—for Israel, for the United States and for freedom-loving people elsewhere.

A Congress that was effectively sidelined by Team Obama in the current crisis had better engage fully, decisively and quickly if it is to head off such a disastrous reprise.


David Horovitz
Jerusalem Post, March 25, 2011


Early in the Korean War, frustrated that the Soviet Union’s repeated use of its UN Security Council veto was thwarting council action to protect South Korea, the United States initiated what became known as the UN General Assembly’s “Uniting for Peace” resolution.

Adopted in November 1950, UNGA Resolution 377 provides that, should the five permanent members of the Security Council find themselves at odds, rendering the council incapable of exercising its “primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security,” the General Assembly can step into the breach. If the Security Council’s permanent members cannot reach unanimity, it elaborates, and “there appears to be a threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression,” the General Assembly can fill the vacuum by issuing its own “appropriate recommendations” for “collective measures” to be taken by individual states—right up to and including “the use of armed force when necessary, to maintain or restore international peace and security.…”

The “Uniting for Peace” Resolution is no dead letter. It was employed, most notably, in 1981, to outflank the Security Council and recommend both sanctions against South Africa for preventing Namibian independence, and assistance, including military assistance, for those seeking Namibian independence.… The passage of that resolution, says Richard Schifter, a former US assistant secretary of state for human rights who spent years representing the US in various UN forums, “was a significant step in the process of imposing sanctions on apartheid South Africa and delegitimizing the country.”

Which is where, as you’ve doubtless figured out by now, Israel and the Palestinians come in.

As Israel’s most recent ambassador to the United Nations, Gabriela Shalev, explained to me this week, the existence of UNGA Resolution 377, and the precedents for its use, mean that “those who believe that the UN General Assembly’s deliberations are of a solely declarative importance are mistaken.” The GA, under “Uniting for Peace,” has teeth.…

The Palestinians have plainly been reading the UN’s small print.… Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat even referred to the possible use of the “Uniting for Peace” resolution in comments to the Ma’an news agency late last year. In Shalev’s estimation, and in that of several other experts with whom I spoke this week, including veteran American diplomat Schifter, the Palestinian leadership is moving serenely toward invoking precisely this resolution in September.

The Palestinian leadership, that is, anticipating that the US will veto its unilateral bid for statehood at the Security Council, will take the matter to the General Assembly. There it will push for the necessary two-thirds GA support for recognizing “Palestine,” presumably along the pre-1967 lines and with a “right of return” for refugees, under a “Uniting for Peace” resolution to ensure global action.… The consequences for Israel should this approach succeed…could be profoundly damaging.

Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority has made no secret of its intention to secure UN support for the establishment of Palestine by September. Veteran negotiator Erekat reiterated only this week…that “the Palestinian leadership institutions (the PLO and Fatah) have decided to submit a request to the UN for recognition of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, with its capital in East Jerusalem.…”

Such recognition, according to Erekat, would mean that “Palestine” would no longer be a matter of “disputed lands,” but rather a state under occupation. Since “Palestine” had “a permanent population, defined territory (even if that does not involve permanent borders), an effective government and the ability to establish international relations,” in Erekat’s assessment, it would meet the standards defined for a state under the terms of the Montevideo Convention of 1933 on the rights and duties of states.…

Israel is anticipating that the UN resolution would fail [in the Security Council], that a similar resolution would gain widespread but non-binding support at the GA in September, that Israel’s international legitimacy would be knocked down another notch or two, but that the unilateral approach would then reach a dead end.… [Accordingly,], the possibility of the “Uniting for Peace” resolution providing practical backing for UNGA recognition of Palestine is now, extremely belatedly, starting to shock some of the relevant players in Israel, though not all, out of their complacency.…

All is far from lost, but it could be if Israel does not muster an effective response to the Palestinian strategy. And the first key forum is the Security Council.

Would-be nations gain their membership in the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council, pointed out Schifter, who now chairs the board of directors of the American Jewish International Relations Institute. And it is a safe bet that the Palestinian strategists, in drafting their resolution calling for the Security Council to recognize Palestine, will do their linguistic best to make it hard for the 15 Security Council members to say no.

It is assumed they will invoke relevant UN resolutions. They will employ comments and statements made by world leaders in support of Palestine. Says Shalev: “They’ll use words that [US Ambassador to the UN Susan] Rice, [Secretary of State Hillary] Clinton, [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel and others have used in support of the Palestinians.…”

[If] the necessary nine or more of the 15 Security Council members will vote for “Palestine”…the diplomatic operation will have been a spectacular success. [Otherwise, if] the US [is] forced to utilize its veto, [then the Palestinians] will then move on to the General Assembly, with that “Uniting for Peace” resolution in their armory.

The best way for Israel to prevent any of that happening would be to achieve what is currently viewed as almost a mission impossible: to persuade at least seven of the 15 Security Council members to vote no, to abstain, or to absent themselves. That way, the statehood resolution would fail, the US would not have to employ its veto, and there would be no possibility for the Palestinians to claim Security Council deadlock and thus invoke “Uniting for Peace” in the General Assembly.

Why almost mission impossible? Because Israel has very few solid friends in the international diplomatic community these days, and even fewer among the 15 current Security Council nations…

Most Israelis may well believe that the failure to make progress in negotiations with the Palestinians stems from the other side’s refusal to take positions that would guarantee Israel’s physical and demographic security alongside the proposed Palestine.… But the sad fact is that most of the international diplomatic community simply doesn’t accept this narrative, and tends increasingly to blame strong, sovereign Israel for failing to grant independence to the weak, stateless Palestinians. Rocket attacks from Gaza, bombings at bus stops in Jerusalem, even horrific murders of fathers, mothers, children and babies in their homes, are evaluated in that context.

So there is certainly no automatic, or even readily attainable, blocking vote in the Security Council for the Palestinians’ demand for statehood, even if the establishment of that “state” is being sought while the core issues of dispute with neighboring Israel remain unresolved.…

Some in Israel, it is plain, are acutely aware of the danger. Indeed, several sources suggested to me, one of the motivations for the purportedly imminent new Netanyahu diplomatic initiative is to take the wind out of the Palestinian sails—to underline Israeli willingness to make real progress, and thus undercut Palestinian claims that they have no option…but to take the unilateral route.

The idea is to win over both international players, and the Palestinians themselves—to convince them that the bilateral route is the better route. Noting that over 110 nations have already announced their support for a Palestinian state, Defense Minister Ehud Barak last week told the Institute for National Security Studies that Israel was facing “a diplomatic tsunami that the majority of the public is unaware of.” He urged Netanyahu to “put the core issues on the table. Israel must say it is willing to discuss security borders, refugees and Jerusalem.” As things stood, he warned, Israel was being pushed “into a corner from which the old South Africa’s deterioration began.…”