Obama administration official said the administration orchestrated the delaying of a controversial anti-Israel United Nations…
A former Obama administration official said the administration orchestrated the delaying of a controversial anti-Israel United Nations resolution until after the 2016 presidential election, knowing it would pass when the United States abstained.
The official’s claim contradicts on-the-record denials by Obama administration officials, who attacked critics at the time who suggested they were involved in its drafting.
Speaking anonymously to the New York Times, the official said the White House feared putting pressure on Hillary Clinton to either condemn or defend the resolution against Israeli settlements and potentially upset Jewish donors during her election fight against Donald Trump. The U.S. decision to abstain on U.N. Security Council resolution 2334 was widely viewed as a parting shot by Obama at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“There is a reason the U.N. vote did not come up before the election in November,” the former official said, in a portion of the report flagged by Jewish Insider. “Was it because you were going to lose voters to Donald Trump? No. It was because you were going to have skittish donors. That, and the fact that we didn’t want Clinton to face pressure to condemn the resolution or be damaged by having to defend it.”
The official said fear of donor wrath dictated not only “what was done but what was not done, and what was not even contemplated.”
Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro strongly denied the anonymous quote, telling Jewish Insider it was a “garbage claim” and the administration, as it professed at the time, was caught by surprise by the Egyptian-Palestinian drafted resolution.
The U.N. Security Council voted 14-0 on Resolution 2334 on Dec. 23, 2016, to demand a halt to settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, deeming both areas to be illegally occupied by Israel. East Jerusalem is home to the Western Wall of the Temple Mount, a Jewish holy site.
U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power could have killed the resolution with the veto power of a permanent member, but she essentially voted yes by abstaining, delighting the Palestinian Authority and infuriating Israel.
Netanyahu was unequivocal at the time in his accusation of Obama’s involvement, saying “we have no doubt that the Obama administration initiated it, stood behind it, coordinated its versions and insisted upon its passage.”
Obama officials strongly denied the administration played any role in the resolution’s timing, including then-Secretary of State John Kerry, in a December 2016 speech eviscerating Israeli settlement policies and Netanyahu’s government for an “extreme” agenda.
“We also strongly reject the notion that somehow the United States was the driving force behind this resolution,” Kerry said. “The Egyptians and Palestinians had long made clear to all of us, to all of the international community, their intention to bring a resolution to a vote before the end of the year. And we communicated that to the Israelis and they knew it anyway. The United States did not draft or originate this resolution, nor did we put it forward.”
He acknowledged telling other countries that the U.S. would consider abstention on the vote if it was “balanced,” calling such diplomacy “standard practice.”
The Free Beacon reported Vice President Joe Biden denied accusations he personally lobbied foreign leaders to support the resolution. Sources told Tablet and the Free Beacon Biden spoke to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and pressured him to vote “yes,” but Biden’s national security adviser Colin Kahl said no such phone calls took place.