UNITED NATIONS ON THE BRINK

NewYorkSun

Editorial of The New York Sun | December 23, 2016

Shocking is the only word for the mincing behavior of the Obama administration amid the campaign by the Palestinian Arabs to win an anti-Israel resolution in the Security Council during the transition of power in America. The measure comes up for a vote momentarily. It would pit the United Nations against the establishment by Jews of homes in Judea and Samaria and would put the world body on the side of the movement to boycott Israel over the matter. Yet President Obama, Secretary Kerry, and Ambassador Power have been hiding American intentions, inviting trouble.

The vote would have come to a head yesterday but for adroit diplomacy by President-elect Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu. They worked their Twitter accounts, prompting President al-Sisi of Egypt, who had been prepared on behalf of the Palestinians to put the matter before the Security Council, to withdraw the resolution. So the anti-Israel faction turned to New Zealand, Senegal, Venezuela, and that old standby for haters of the Jews, Malaysia (it once canceled a visit by the New York Philharmonic over plans to play music by a Jewish composer*).

On the eve of the vote earlier in the week, the Washington Post blogger Eugene Kontorovich, an exceptionally shrewd observer of international law, warned that passage of the resolution would hurt the United Nations more than Israel. That was just confirmed by Senator Graham, the South Carolina Republican who has been so heroic on Israel. Reuters is reporting that he has just threatened to curb American funding for the United Nations if it goes ahead with the anti-Israel resolution. He warned that he would assemble a bi-partisan coalition to do so.

It may be that in the next hour, the Obama administration will do the right thing and veto the Palestinian measure. But we’re almost tempted to say to the United Nations, “Go ahead, make our day.” We have long favored ending American membership in the world body, after all. It is long past time for the United States to lead an effort to form a new and more powerful international body consisting only of the democracies. One of the reasons we endorsed Mr. Trump is his willingness to look at the multi-lateral institutions in a fundamental, meaning existential, way.

So if the United Nations acts against Israel, in defiance of the expressed wishes of the President-elect of America and the American senator who chairs the oversight of the United Nations, it will be a move far overshadowing the narrow points the resolution addresses. Israel’s settlement of Judea and Samaria deserves to be supported, even encouraged. If the U.N. acts to oppose that principle, it will bequeath to the next administration a world body athwart the next president and both houses of Congress. And the time will be at hand for fundamental reform of the United Nations system.

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