Benjamin Netanyahu is waging diplomatic war against the world, and notably against Israel’s only vital ally, the United States. We’ve never seen anything like it. It won’t win Israel any new friends.
Israel has a solitary vote in the United Nations General Assembly, and no vote at all at the United Nations Security Council. Israel was annihilated in the Security Council vote on Friday that demanded an end to all settlement activity and that designated all the land that Israel captured from Jordan in the 1967 war, which includes the Temple Mount and the Western Wall, as “occupied Palestinian territory.” The prime minister’s hope is that he can stave off further, and still more devastating, potential diplomatic defeat at the hands of the outgoing Obama administration via a mixture of pleas, threats and boycotts. On the horizon, he sees the incoming administration of Donald J. Trump. For Netanyahu, it cannot arrive soon enough.
Netanyahu’s repeated public assertion is that US President Barack Obama hatched the entire scheme to humiliate and abandon Israel at the Security Council. Why would a president who had just authorized the biggest military aid package to Israel in history do any such thing? Because, the prime minister has implied, Obama is fundamentally hostile to the Jewish state. Netanyahu hasn’t (yet) said this explicitly. He has, however, drawn a parallel between Friday’s decision by Obama to abstain, and thus facilitate the passage of UNSC Resolution 2334, and similar action by president Jimmy Carter at the Security Council in 1980, and noted that Carter was “deeply hostile to Israel.”
We will almost certainly find out one day, probably quite soon, whether, as Netanyahu has charged, Obama planned this “ambush” all along. Tellingly, in remarks to the Saban Forum earlier this month, Secretary of State John Kerry left open the door to a US abstention: “There are any number of countries talking about bringing resolutions to the United Nations,” Kerry noted. “If it’s biased and unfair, and a resolution calculated to delegitimize Israel, we’ll oppose it. Obviously, we will. We always have. But it’s getting more complicated now…”