Omri, I have no doubt the Foreign Policy story that says the U.S. will cast a vote hostile to Israel later this week in the UN Security Council is genuine. And horrifying. For, of course, the U.S. has absolute veto power over any Security Council action, and so any action that is not a veto is prima facie hostile to Israel, which really is, right now, our only viable ally in the Middle East.
But given the delicacy of the matter, why has it gone public? There are two possible reasons.
The first would be to create a fait accompli in which the U.S. has no choice but to join in the condemnation of Israel. That’s what’s suggested by the spin in the Foreign Policy story attempting to establish the ludicrous premise that it is only acting in this manner to forestall a worse Security Council resolution.
It’s a preposterous plan, but diplomats with no political understanding of American public opinion and leftist tunnel vision might think it a good one. That could include U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, whose own instincts are none too good in this direction.
The second would be to kill it by making it public. That seems unlikely, given the way Colum Lynch’s piece was written, but who knows? The last thing Obama needs is a domestic political firestorm over Israel-Palestine policy when that specific can of worms couldn’t be any less significant.
And a firestorm there will be. Word of this leaked during the same week that Gallup reported a favorability rating for Israel in the United States of 69 percent, compared to 17 percent for the Palestinians (who have the second-lowest standing among Americans when it comes to these matters, higher only than Iran).
Forget for a moment what such a vote suggests about the worldview of the Obama administration at a time of potentially historic peril for Israel, not only from Iran but also from what might happen as a result of the uprisings in Arab countries. An anti-Israel vote at the U.N. with these kinds of numbers would be would be a demented political act for the Obama administration, which spent much of 2010 trying to undo the damage caused by the president’s bizarrely counterproductive temper tantrum against Bibi Netanyahu—which scuttled a year’s worth of diplomatic efforts by his own negotiator, George Mitchell.
Has Obama learned nothing, really? We’ll see. Oh, we shall see.