In the Washington Post Jennifer Rubin takes issue with a letter to president Obama urging him to support a Security Council resolution condemning the construction of new Israeli settlements. The thing is, she does not address the content of the letter, which argues that supporting the resolution is in the interests of the peace process, that it will bolster U.S. credibility, and is reflective of the American position on settlements. Rather, she goes the ad-hominem route and summarily dismisses the signatories as “The usual crowd of Israel bashers.”
That would certainly come as a surprise to several of the signatories, like Peter Beinart and Andrew Sullivan, two former editors of that notoriously anti-Israel rag The New Republic; Thomas Pickering, a former Amb. to Israel and to the United Nations, where his deft diplomacy secured a resolution authorizing what became Operation Desert Storm; and several of the Rabbis who co-signed, just to mention a few.
It seems to me if you believe that constructing new settlements, in the words of Hillary Clinton, “undermines peace efforts to achieve the two state-solution,” then it behooves the administration to do what it can to stop the construction. So far, Obama administration has been unable to convince Netanyahu to cease and desist. By signaling its support for the resolution, the administration would convey to the Israeli government just how serious it is about getting the peace process back on track. UPDATE: The Pro-Israel group J Street issues a statement on the Security Council resolution, saying they would not support a U.S. veto. Excerpt:
Our preferred outcome would be Israeli or American action that averts the need for such a Resolution. However, if the Resolution does come to a vote, we urge the Obama administration to work to craft language, particularly around Jerusalem, that it can support condemning settlement activity and promoting a two-state solution.
While we hope never to see the state of Israel publicly taken to task by the United Nations, we cannot support a U.S. veto of a Resolution that closely tracks long-standing American policy and that appropriately condemns Israeli settlement policy.