Israel’s Netanyahu et al. Throw Trump-like Tantrums after UNSC Slam

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

PM Binyamin Netanyahu of Israel and his cabinet ministers are trying to punch above their weight. He wants to punish the UN, and apparently even the United States. Netanyahu has forbidden Israeli officials to travel to 12 of the countries on the UN Security Council who voted last Friday to condemn Israeli squatter settlements in the Palestinian West Bank (including in East Jerusalem, which Israel illegally has tried to annex).

Netanyahu also summoned the ambassadors of these countries in Tel Aviv on Christmas Day, producing some irritation, according to the Guardian; one diplomat observed, “What would they have said in Jerusalem if we summoned the Israeli ambassador on Yom Kippur?”

This sort of temper tantrum reminds us of Donald J. Trump’s petulant twitter wars with his critics. It is for the benefit of the Israeli right wing, since none of the 12 countries really cares whether Likud Party officials visit them or not.

Netanyahu also seems to have threatened to withdraw from the United Nations. What is ironic is the effort the Israeli government has put in to combating the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel’s Apartheid policies toward the stateless Palestinians. IF the BDS supporters could get 12 countries to refuse to see the Israeli ambassador and could get the UN to kick Israel out, they would be ecstatic. Netanyahu is self-BDS-ing, via his tantrum.

Israel is a small country of 8 million people, only 6 million of them Jews, and its annual gross domestic product, at around $300 billion, is similar to that of Denmark and Ireland (both less populous countries, so Israel is poorer than they per capita). Nobody much really cares in world affairs if Denmark gets in a snit about something, though to be fair the Danes haven’t really gotten in many snits in recent centuries.

I suppose center-right Danish PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen is capable of making noise about issues he cares about, but I haven’t ever even once seen him on American television.

One difference between Denmark and Israel is that the US Israel lobbies have extorted from the American people something on the order of $124 billion in aid for Israel, and President Barack Obama just authorized another $38 bn for Tel Aviv over the next ten years. Israel thus has an enormous military arsenal and a stockpile of several hundred nuclear warheads. The figures do not count all the indirect ways the US aids the Israeli economy. Although the Israel lobbies maintain that the US gets security help from Israel in the Middle East in return, actually Israel has sat out the Gulf War, the Iraq War, the Afghanistan War, the recent struggle against Daesh/ ISIL in Syria and Iraq, etc., etc. It is only fair to say that the US would not have wanted Israeli participation, because its reputation is so poisonous in the region that such participation would do more harm than good. But nevertheless, if Israel couldn’t help in any of these crises, it isn’t actually very useful. Worse, Israel’s often creepy policies against the stateless Palestinians cause security problems for the United States.

BBC Monitoring translated a broadcast of Chanel 2 TV in Hebrew, quoting the words of Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water Yuval Steinitz (Likud). Steinitz fulminated, Trump-like, “This is not a resolution against the settlements.”

It was literally a resolution against the settlements!

Steinitz is making up his own false news. He then continued, “This is an anti-Israel resolution against Israel, the Jewish people, and the state of the Jews.”

The resolution isn’t anti-Israel, doesn’t mention anything about Jews, and doesn’t challenge the Jewish state. It just points out that Israelis are not at liberty to steal Palestinian land. The United Nations Charter forbids the acquisition of territory by military force, so Israel’s conquest of the Palestinian West Bank in 1967 is no warrant for it to colonize said territory or to expropriate and keep in a condition of statelessness the people who live there.

Steinitz then turned to the United States’ role, “The United States tonight simply abandoned its only friend and ally in the Middle East. This is no way to treat a friend. I do not think that Russia would abandon a friend in the Middle East this way.”

So Steinitz seems to be suggesting that Israel would be better off allying with Putin. If that’s how he feels, could he please give us our pledged $38 bn back? In fact, if he’d please just give us back all the money we’ve given the Israeli government on the false pretense that Israel makes America more secure in the Middle East, that would be a nice year-end bonus for American families.

Steinitz intimated that the US should not have allowed the resolution to pass because there are more urgent issues in the Middle East, which is “burning around us.” This argument is pure propaganda. That there is a civil war in Syria or an air war in Yemen does not have any impact on whether the Council should speak up about illegal Israeli actions against the Palestinians. The demand that Israel’s crimes be dealt with last after all other issues in the region is the definition of special pleading. Most of us learned in kindergarten that two wrongs do not make a right.

Steinitz’s proof that the settlement issue did not drive the resolution (against settlements!) is that the resolution affects Israeli land theft in annexed East Jerusalem. News flash: It is illegal to annex occupied territory or to flood your own citizens into such territories. Steinitz is demanding that the UN Security Council recognize an illegal act.

Steinitz owns a house. If he went on vacation and came back to find that strangers had moved into his house and were alleging that they were the real owners, he could go to the police and the courts in Israel and they would uphold his property rights. Palestinians living in the Palestinian city of al-Khalil (Hebron), however, don’t have the same deal. They see Israel bringing in tens of thousands of Israelis to live in their city, disadvantaging and stealing from Palestinian owners. When Palestinians complain, they are arrested and charged with terrorism.

He criticized President Obama: “The heart aches that after eight years of friendship and cooperation with the Obama Administration — a friendship that did see some disagreements over the Iranian issue and other issues — this is the parting shot; a painful, unpleasant, unfair one.”

So let’s see. Barack Obama sent George Mitchell out to negotiate between Netanyahu’s cabinet and the Palestine Authority of Mahmoud Abbas. The Palestinians asked for a settlement freeze, otherwise it would be like negotiating over a pie while the other person was eating it. Netanyahu got a settlement freeze, but then abruptly cancelled it in the fall just when the talks were getting started. The Palestinians rightly felt disrespected and the talks began collapsing. Netanyahu began announcing settlement expansion to coincide with the visit of high American officials, just to humiliate them. Later on in another round of talks, Secretary of State John Kerry was publicly insulted as “messianic” for trying to pursue the negotiations. In the end they collapsed. In the meantime, Netanyahu publicly humiliated President Obama on several occasions, lecturing him at a joint appearance at the White House, openly campaigning for Romney in 2012, and then trying to get Congress to derail Obama’s Iran negotiations. Netanyahu actually ran the last time on the issue of no Palestinian state, and has made it clear he wants to send hundreds of thousands more Israelis into the Palestinian West Bank, where they will steal Palestinian land.

Steinitz and his colleagues have been about the most unpleasant supposed allies the US could possibly suffer with. They successfully blunted Obama’s attempt at kick starting the peace process. They want annexation, Apartheid, and colonization. They are open about it.

Obama simply let the world body have a say on whether these crimes against humanity are acceptable. They are not.

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Related video:

Euronews: “Israel’s Netanyahu summonds diplomats over UN Resolution”

20 Responses

    • Not all Israeli leaders have expressed anger over the resolution.

      Members of the Meretz Party (the Israeli equivalent of the U.S. Green Party), including its Knesset seat holders, were jubilant at their Tel Aviv headquarters and were debating on whether to send flowers in person as a gift to the United Nations Security Council or to have a florist in Manhattan make the delivery.

      MK Dov Khenin, a lawyer and political scientist seated as a member of the Hadash Party, acknowledged the UNSC vote would damage the prestige of PM Netanyahu as his party greeted the news of the anti-settlement resolution.

      The public support from these Jewish Israeli leaders of the Knesset of the UNSC anti-settlement resolution strongly counteract PM Netanyahu’s suggestions that the UNSC vote is motivated by anti-Semitism or forces inimical to Israel’s best interests.

  1. They are understandably worried about 2334 (what a nice memorable number) because it changes the situation dramatically. There is now (paragraph 5) a clear and unequivocal call for specific action from all States, and (paragraph 12) an indication that it is not going to go away. Here are three paragraphs:

    1. Reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestine territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-state solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace,

    5. Calls upon all States, bearing in mind Paragraph 1 of this resolution, to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967,

    12. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council every three months on the implementation of the provisions of the present resolution,

    Complete text : link to un.org

  2. I fear that Trump and the I-love-Israel-more than-life-itself crowd in Congress will do severe damage to the UN during the next 4 years. There will be more “Christian Zionists” dancing in the streets over that than there were Muslims doing so in New Jersey (as witnessed by the Orange Pied Piper) on 9/11.

  3. Netanyahu is making a spectacle of himself, having a hissy fit, and trying to get even with Obama, and the other nations, that voted to finally condemn Israel for breaking international laws. He is blaming everyone he can think of, except himself.
    Many articles within Israel openly and harshly criticize him, and blame him for the situation they are in. With Trump acting immature, and Netanyahu acting petulant, the drama kings will keep making fools of themselves, and the world will have some comic relief in the months ahead.

  4. … the false pretense that Israel makes America more secure in the Middle East,…

    To the contrary, Osama bin Laden was reported as having said that one reason for the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington was US complicity in Israeli abuse of Palestinians. Also Generals James Mattis and David Patraeus have stated that Israeli actions against the Palestinians threatened US security.

  5. He criticized President Obama: “The heart aches that after eight years of friendship and cooperation with the Obama Administration — a friendship that did see some disagreements over the Iranian issue and other issues — this is the parting shot; a painful, unpleasant, unfair one.”

    Hey, Mr. Steinitz, how about the many insults Binyamin Netanyahu and other high-ranking Israeli officials directed at President Obama, the Office of the President of the United States, Vice President Biden and other US officials?

  6. The world is sick of the moralizing by this thug. The US will come around to this conclusion too. We were late in condemning apartheid but we eventually did the right thing. We (eventually) will do the right thing here too. The facts are just too obvious, the crime is just too big.

  7. I’ve heard that 80% of Netanyahu’s campaign money comes from US donors. I’ve also read that the DNC gets 30% of it’s money from the same and similar interests. So it’s a small group of people who enable the atrocity in it ‘s present form. I ‘d like to know more about this. If oligarchs are financing crimes against humanity they should be called out.
    Jimmy Carter said a few years ago that he could clear up the mess in 15 minutes. He’s right. All it takes is will.

  8. Perhaps Crybaby Netanyahu will stop the generous donation of $8million(yes!) a year to support the dastardly UN which hates Israel for no reason, though it is a normal nation.
    Barack Obama is the only POTUS who has vetoed every single UNSC motion critical of Israel up to now, but that is not enough.
    ” This is no way to treat a friend.”

  9. There were cheers in some Jewish corners of the Israeli political spectrum over the U.N. resolution.

    MK Zehava Gal-On, chairwoman of the Meretz Party (the Israeli equivalent of the Green Party), had publicly urged the Obama administration NOT to veto the resolution:

    “I hope that the U.S. administration does not veto the resolution which is not against Israel, but rather against the annexation and settlement policy of the Israeli government.”

    link to israelnationalnews.com

  10. I only wish that more people read your writings… The fact that everyone ignores the victimization of the Palestinians is an embarrassment to me as an American – we are utterly uninformed and have no desire to change that.

    • The fact that everyone ignores the victimization of the Palestinians …

      Not “everyone” but most contemptibly almost all of the 535 members of Congress and the incumbents in the White House do. But we should not be surprised. There has always been an active community of racists, authoritarians and authoritarian followers within the United States contemptuous of the lives and well-being of others beginning with the kidnapping of Africans to become slaves followed by ethnic cleansing and massacres of the indigenous peoples. Then there was the expansion of the empire that inflicted extreme violence on citizens of other nations. So, if the United States is complicit with Israel in its slaughters and other abuses of Palestinians, consider it a variation on the dark side of American history.

  11. And, the Palestine Papers clearly disclosed that it was mainly Israel that frustrated “peace” negotiations. Consider:
    The Palestine Papers, “A cache of thousands of pages of confidential Palestinian records covering more than a decade of negotiations with Israel and the US, [was] obtained by al-Jazeera [in 2011]…The papers provide an extraordinary and vivid insight into the disintegration of the 20-year peace process…”

    “The documents…reveal: [1] The scale of confidential concessions offered by Palestinian negotiators, including on the highly sensitive issue of the right of return of Palestinian refugees. [2] How Israeli leaders privately asked for some Arab citizens to be transferred to a new Palestinian state. [3] The intimate level of covert co-operation between Israeli security forces and the Palestinian Authority. [4] The central role of British intelligence in drawing up a secret plan to crush Hamas in the Palestinian territories. [5] How Palestinian Authority (PA) leaders were privately tipped off about Israel’s 2008-9 war in Gaza.”

    “Most controversially, [the Palestinian negotiators] proposed a joint committee to take over the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount holy sites in Jerusalem’s Old City…”

    “The offers were made in 2008-9, in the wake of George Bush’s Annapolis conference, and were privately hailed by the chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, as giving Israel ‘the biggest [Jerusalem] in history’ in order to resolve the world’s most intractable conflict.”

    “Israeli leaders, backed by the US government, said the offers were inadequate. Intensive efforts to revive talks by the Obama administration foundered [in 2010] over Israel’s refusal to extend a 10-month partial freeze on settlement construction.”

    “[T]he offer was rejected out of hand by Israel because it did not include a big settlement near the city Ma’ale Adumim as well as Har Homa and several others deeper in the West Bank, including Ariel.”

    “The overall impression that emerges from the documents, which stretch from 1999 to 2010, is of the weakness and growing desperation of PA leaders as failure to reach agreement or even halt all settlement temporarily undermines their credibility in relation to their Hamas rivals; the papers also reveal the unyielding confidence of Israeli negotiators and the often dismissive attitude of US politicians towards Palestinian representatives.”
    link to detailedpoliticalquizzes.wordpress.com

  12. After years and years of enabling Israel to bully their way around the ME, the US allowed one vote that casts the suggestion of a shadow upon them. The pain, such rejection, it’s almost a terrible thing. Zero the line items in the budget for them. For the next 20 years.

  13. There is something deliciously ironic in the behavior of Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu Netanyahu who has publicly snubbed Tory PM Theresa May of Great Britain for the UK’s security vote even though May just signed-off a sweeping bill that equates criticism of Israel with not only antisemitism but as a way of “combating hatred against Jews.”
    link to theguardian.com

    Netanyahu and his Likud party have managed not only to insult many of his allies but also the very same UN body whose outdated structure of the National Security Council has allowed the U.S. to reliably veto resolutions against Israel.

    With only 5 permanent members who can veto any resolution they don’t like (China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, and United States), Israel has been able to brazenly continue violating international law with great brutality in a way that other states would find themselves subject to crippling economic sanctions and would become a pariah state.

    Since its founding in 2006 through 2013, the United Nations Human Rights Council condemned Israel’s actions 45 times for contravening international law through the building of settlements and violent military actions in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Golon Heights. Yet, Israel has not been punished or prevented from continuing to expand its territory through confiscation of Palestinian land and the building of a wall that was never designed as a security measure, only another mechanism to appropriate land.

    For an incisive account of how U.N Security resolutions have been interpreted over time (and weakened), read the June 2008 report by the independent Security Council Report available here: link to securitycouncilreport.org

    Netanyahu’s castigation of the foreign ambassadors to the U.N. and public humiliation of President Obama as well as consulting with President-Elect Trump who has no constitutional authority to formally meet or negotiate with foreign heads of state demands contextual scrutiny.

    When we do so, it is not unfair in the least to claim that Netanyahu’s bloviating intransigence about Israel’s legitimate right to deny Palestinian rights is even more brazen because it is part of a movement to deny people in other countries the right to free speech. How else can we view the pressure placed on the UK to adopt policies which equate criticism of Israeli policies with anti-Semitism that was created by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance?

    Conflating anti-Semitic prejudice with criticism of or opposition to Zionism and the State of Israel is tantamount to abolishing free speech. Jewish university students groups have recognized that the denial of free speech contradicts a fundamental democratic right. link to freespeechonisrael.org.uk and link to theguardian.com

    Even in Israel, the absurdity of denying free speech has been articulated with the kind of moral seriousness that can only be fully appreciated by knowing precisely the kind of critics who would be branded as spewing hatred of Jews, something that is always morally detestable.

    In Harretz — the Israeli equivalent of the NY Times, Peter Beinart argues persuasively that if critics of Israel are by definition anti-Semitic, then Henrietta Szold, Hannah Arendt and Martin Buber, three Jewish thinkers justly celebrated for their contributions toward understanding the banality of evil emanating from the Shoah, would nonetheless be classified as “Jew-haters.”

    Israel exists and that is good. The issue is simply applying the same standards to Israel that we do when evaluating the policies of other states .

    The Holocaust was certainly the most horrific of many mass murder calamities which still hovers over us and should always unsettle us. But murderous intent also resulted from moral cowardice among decent and respectable people.

    In moral philosophy, weakness of the will is the consequence of failing to fulfill one’s ethical obligations with complete knowledge of the likely (immoral) outcome. That is precisely why we must criticize both anti-Jewish bigotry and Palestinian oppression. The alternative is to willfully capitulate to the ludicrous claims made by apologists for human indignities, a tendency that always accentuates the worst in human tribal instincts.

    • “The Holocaust was certainly the most horrific of many mass murder calamities which still hovers over us and should always unsettle us. But murderous intent also resulted from moral cowardice among decent and respectable people.”

      What continues to sadden me is that the Palestinian Arabs are paying the price for holocaust committed by ‘white Europeans’ and not many seem to notice the extreme injustice in the west.

  14. This affair reminds me of Netanyahu’s stare down at the UN:

    /www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkWJ5xkXNpA

  15. Obama is missing out on a golden opportunity to really sink the boot into Netanyahu now that Bibi is threatening to “punish” the 14 countries who voted for that resolution in the Security Council.

    Obama should arrange for a vote in the UN General Assembly that, in essence, backs the UNSC on this matter.

    Such a vote would pass by, oh, rough guess, something like 190-1.

    What does Netanyahu do then? Threaten reprisals against the entire world?

    The man is bluffing.

    Obama can call his bluff in the easiest way possible: by demonstrating that The Entire Damn World agrees with him, and if Netanyahu wants to threaten The Entire Damn World then, please, be my guest……

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