Permit your humble servant a moment this morning as a proud father. I am currently sitting at Tel Hashomer IDF base in Ramat Gan, Israel. My youngest son has just completed his service in the Israel Air Force and is turning in all of his equipment. Born in the United States, he came here to serve Israel after completing his university degree.
He is a proud Zionist and exemplifies the best of what Israel is all about. And as he leaves the service, it is inspirational to sit here and watch as hundreds of new recruits from every part of Israeli society come onto the base to check in. The sacrifice they make to defend Israel should be admired by us all. Once again, here’s to my son–I am very proud of him!
By now, dear reader, you have already read that as your humble servant wrote yesterday, the Security Council vote has most likely been delayed–for weeks, perhaps months. It appears that a coordinated pressure campaign exerted by the Americans and the French against the Palestinian idea of an immediate vote was successful. It is also reported that intelligence information that Israel provided concerning Al-Qaeda’s penetration of the Sinai peninsula played a significant but as yet unknown role.
Yet this has to be the most astonishing piece of information you will read today.
It has been confirmed that in return for U.S. support of Israel at the United Nations, President Obama has asked PM Netanyahu to lobby the United States House of Representatives for aid to the Palestine Liberation Organization (remember that Mahmoud Abbas declared last week that the PLO, not the Palestinian Authority, is the sole representative of the Palestinian people and the organization that directly controls the Palestinian Authority)–and perhaps to lobby on Obama’s behalf on other issues.
Think about that for a minute.
The President of the United States, who cannot persuade members of his nation’s Congress to support him on an issue, has gone to the leader of Israel and asked him to become embroiled in American domestic politics by lobbying the Congress for him. Truly astonishing–and I think unprecendented.
And what is more is that the PM of Israel is being asked to lobby for an organization whose charter still calls for Israel’s elimination and for an organization that joined with Hamas–whose charter also calls for the destruction of Israel. Truly astonishing–and absolutely unprecedented.
And what is even more astonishing is that PM Netanyahu has agreed. When Republican members of the U.S. House were in Jerusalem last week, Netanyahu apparently lobbied them not to cut off aid to the Palestinians should the Palestinians insist on a UN vote.
As a passionate supporter of Israel, I am grateful to the Obama Administration for its support of Israel in the United Nations–and I thought that Obama’s speech to the UN yesterday finally expressed all of the correct sentiments (I wish he had made that speech two years ago). In the spirit of “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine”, one could expect that Obama would ask Netanyahu for a favor or reciprocity of some sort.
But to ask the Prime Minister to enter the Democratic/Republican divide in the United States and to try to influence the Republican controlled House to support a Democratic initiative is beyond the pale of acceptable diplomacy.
That Netanyahu agreed to Obama’s request sets a dangerous precedent that will come back to haunt Netanyahu and Israel.
Unrelated Addendum: Shelly Yachimovich was elected as the new leader of Israel’s Labor Party yesterday.