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Resources updated between Monday, April 12, 2010 and Sunday, April 18, 2010

Friday, April 16, 2010

This story appeared today on FOXNEWS.com.
(For the complete text of Anne Bayefsky's FOX interview see below.)

April 16, 2010 - 2:44 PM | by: Ben Evansky

The Obama administration is reportedly signaling another major shift in policy towards one of its staunchest allies, Israel, and this shift could change the way it votes at the Security Council. The change would mean an end to the US' use of its veto power in the United Nations Security Council when certain anti-Israel resolutions are introduced for a vote.

Reports surfaced a couple of weeks ago, that a senior US diplomat met with Qatar's foreign minister in Paris. They discussed the possibility that the US was giving serious consideration to not using its veto if a vote on Israeli settlements was to come up. It has been the policy of successive administrations to veto virtually all anti-Israel resolutions at the Security Council.

While the Israeli spokesperson at the United Nations would not comment on the reports, US officials at the UN told Fox News that there is no such initiative before the Security Council and they are not "pursuing or encouraging such action", but some critics believe they are playing a game of smoke and mirrors.

Anne Bayefsky is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and Touro College and says the administration, like none other before them, appears prepared to blackmail Israel at the UN. She says "The administration may imagine that the threat of withholding the veto at the Security Council, or the failure to oppose vigorously any one of a constant stream of anti-Israel UN concoctions, will be good for the United States. They will be dead wrong." She believes "Israel's enemies are America's enemies, and an effort by the Obama administration to use the UN as a tool to blackmail Israel or undermine Israel's independence and security is a double-edged sword."

Daniel Levy the Director of the Middle East Task Force at the New America Foundation in Washington disagrees. He tells Fox News that he doubts the US would vote for a UN Security Council resolution against Israel and expects that they will continue to veto them but he says the veto has not always been used by the administration on votes concerning Israel.

It was last month when tensions between the Obama administration and Jerusalem surfaced. While on an official visit to Israel, Vice President Joe Biden and the administration were infuriated when the Israeli Housing Ministry announced it was building 1600 new units in a hitherto undisputed part of Jerusalem. Ever since then, relations between the two erstwhile allies have been tense.

Levy who also advised former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak tells Fox News that "if Israel were to continue to flout its own commitments, undermine the possibility of a two-state solution, or if in the context of a peace process impasse, the US and its Quartet allies were to advance their own plan, then under those circumstances it is conceivable that the US would support or abstain on a UN Security Council vote". He believes that such an outcome would be "presented as being part of, rather than in contravention of, America's support for Israel."

John Bolton the former US ambassador to the UN, and now a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy in Washington says that successive US administrations have played a vital role in stopping the delegitimizing and marginalization of Israel at the UN, and that foes "knowing that the United States was not prepared to countenance mischief making in the Security Council alone deterred considerable unhelpful activity, and at least mitigated much of what remained." He says "If President Obama materially changes this long-standing, bipartisan American policy, peace in the Middle East will be set back. America's friends and allies alike will conclude that the Obama Administration is indeed a feckless ally."

Levy is not so sure and says that relations between the two countries continue to be "strong and supportive." He questions the choices that the Netanyahu government has made, which he says "seem to place loyalty to settlements and a far-right wing coalition of choice above peace and the needs of the strategic relationship with the US."

Bayefsky, who is also editor of EYEontheUN.org, says "If the Obama administration believes that it can bring about more peace and harmony and respect for America by sitting on its hands and refusing to exercise the veto, while the likes of Russia and China and Lebanon (which is currently a member) revel in a hate-filled denunciation of Israel, then the administration is delusional. The refusal to exercise the veto will be read as weakness, as will any attempt by the Obama administration to deflect criticism by claiming "the UN made me do it."

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Anne Bayefsky interview to FOX NEWS.com

QUESTION: Should we believe the administration that they are not pursuing a change in US policy towards Israel voting at the Security Council?

ANNE BAYEFSKY: The issue of the Obama administration's use of the United Nations as a tool to blackmail the state of Israel is not confined to the Security Council. The Obama administration's affinity with an organization that is systematically focused on the demonization and delegitimization of Israel means that the issue is UN-wide. Whenever Israel is threatened by another UN resolution, or report, or meeting that adopts or discusses a condemnation of anything and everything Israel does, the U.S. is faced with the question as to how to respond. This has always been true, but the situation has been greatly magnified under the Obama administration.

For example, President Obama jumped on board the UN Human Rights Council within months of taking office, knowing full well that the Council is one of the worst - if not the worst - example of Israel-bashing across the UN system (as well as being completely disreputable in terms of its membership and lack of interest in the vast majority of human rights violations around the world). U.S. membership gives increased credibility to this UN body and its production-line of anti-Israel resolutions, sessions, and reports, notwithstanding their poisonous consequences. And every time another anti-Israel move is generated by the Council - which happens almost round the clock - the U.S. must decide how far it will go in standing up to the condemnations. Or from another perspective, as a Council member the administration is handed one more diplomatic sword to dangle over Israel.

At the same time, given that it is the Security Council alone that has the authority to make international law and take action - even military action - to implement that law, the five veto-wielding members have considerable influence. The track record of Obama's foreign policy for the past year indicates that the administration is prepared to use any leverage at its disposal to boss Israel around, whatever the stakes to Israelis. At bottom, the Obama administration has swallowed the lethal fiction that deems Israel responsible for the Arab-Israeli conflict. This fiction originated with Arab-rejectionists of a Jewish state and has been cultivated at the United Nations over six decades. Such a position is a U.S. first, and it is why many now understand Obama to be the most anti-Israel president in the history of the US-Israel relationship.

Until now, American presidents have stuck by the fundamental principle that Israel is a sovereign state whose democratic government has responsibility for its own national security and the welfare of its citizens and, hence, that peace will only come through direct negotiations between the parties. Direct negotiations are key because the process of negotiation itself scuttles continued Arab and Islamic resistance to Israel's existence. The UN approach, however, has been to impose a solution on the parties a solution drafted in Riyadh, Cairo, Damascus and Ramallah. Myriad numbers of UN resolutions demand that Israel agree to indefensible borders, accept the return of millions of Arab refugees and their non-refugee descendents to Israel a development that would make Jews a minority in their own land, and prevent any Jew from living on land that Arabs claim for themselves; that is, they demand the immediate creation of what is in effect "apartheid Palestine". Every resolution, report, and session of the Security Council, now and in the future, is intended to implement in one form or another that scheme an imposed outcome crafted to Israel's serious disadvantage. Now these efforts will be coupled with the Obama administration's own embrace of the same UN ideology: imposing on Israel whatever America wants (even on unrelated fronts) regardless of its disadvantage to Israel. From the Obama administration's perspective, therefore, UN fora will facilitate its new foreign policy agenda. The United States can play good cop to Israel at the UN, with the bad cop consisting of the Arab League, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), and the Non-Aligned Movement, which the OIC controls.

So no, I believe this administration is hell bent on bending Israel to its will, regardless of the fact that Israel is a democracy on the front lines of a war where the enemy threatens liberty and freedom for all. And the administration is very likely unless Congress stands up now to use the United Nations to do its dirty work.

QUESTION: What signal would it send to Israel's enemies that the US is no longer vetoing anti-Israel resolutions?

ANNE BAYEFSKY: The Obama administration may imagine that the threat of withholding the veto at the Security Council, or the failure to oppose vigorously any one of a constant stream of anti-Israel UN concoctions, will be good for the United States. It will be dead wrong. First, Israel's enemies are America's enemies. And second, an effort by the Obama administration to use the UN as a tool to blackmail Israel or undermine Israel's independence and security is a double-edged sword.

The use of the US veto did not only send a message that the United States was standing by the legitimacy, welfare and security of the Jewish state whose citizens are surrounded by non-democracies who have no regard for their own peoples' human rights. The veto also sent a message that the best interests of the United States could not be dictated by the Security Council and the UN.

Sitting on its hands and refusing to exercise the veto, while the likes of Russia and China and Lebanon (which is currently a member of the Council) revel in a hate-filled denunciation of Israel, will diminish respect for the United States. The refusal to exercise the veto will be read as weakness, as will any attempt by the Obama administration to deflect criticism by claiming "the UN made me do it." True, the Obama administration is closer to the UN and to the UN's fictional narrative of why there is no peace and democracy in the Arab world than any previous US administration. But if the Obama administration lets the Security Council do its dirty work, Americans will feel cheated. The spectre of non-democratic thugs writing American foreign policy will appeal to very few on these shores. The good cop-bad cop routine will be transparent and the idea that the real friends of the United States are the non-democratic bullies at the UN won't hold water.

April 15, 2010

April 14, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

This article, by Anne Bayefsky, originally appeared at The Weekly Standard .

At exactly the same time that President Obama's anti-terrorism theatrics are going on in Washington at the nuclear security summit, a pro-terrorism party is going on in New York at UN Headquarters. The trouble is that the states play-acting in D.C. are swinging in New York in the opposite direction.

In Washington, the summit advertisement reads as follows: "Dedicated to nuclear security and the threat of nuclear terrorism." In New York, the UN's "ad-hoc committee on measures to eliminate international terrorism" is gathered to talk about drafting the world's first comprehensive convention against terrorism. For the fourteenth time in ten years.

In Washington, the image is of President Obama sitting on a chair beaming like a Cheshire cat, opposite some lucky head of state. The two are surrounded by smiling Obama appointees and everyone agrees that terrorism is bad. In New York, the very same states agree terrorism is naughty. It's just that "resistance," "armed struggle," and "liberation" are not terrorism.

The major stumbling-block to the conclusion of a draft comprehensive convention against terrorism at the UN has been a concerted effort by Islamic states to carve out an exception for murdering civilians of their choosing. Israelis top the list, but Americans are not far behind.

The terrorism convention of the Organization of the Islamic States accordingly creates an exception to its phony denunciation of terrorism. Exempt from "terrorist crimes" are "peoples' struggle including armed struggle against foreign occupation, aggression, colonialism, and hegemony, aimed at liberation and self-determination."

So let's compare the simultaneous Washington and New York performances. In Washington, the president invited many "anti-terrorism" invitees from the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Algeria, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates. Presumably, he decided to showcase his close ties with Muslim nations. In New York, OIC members chose Syria, nuclear arms wannabe and state sponsor of terrorism, to do their talking. Speaking on behalf of the OIC, therefore, Syria declared yesterday: "The group reiterates once again the need to make a distinction...between terrorism and the struggle for the right of self-determination by people under foreign occupation, and colonial or alien domination."

In Washington, the president invited many additional "anti-terrorism" invitees from the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) such as China, India, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. At the UN, the 117 NAM members selected as their spokesperson for the drafting of an anti-terrorism convention none other than Iran. Iranian UN Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee said the following on behalf of NAM states almost half of Obama's invitees coming from this group: "Terrorism should not be equated with the legitimate struggle of peoples under colonial or alien domination...for self-determination and national liberation." (The issue of self-determination for the Iranian people was somehow not raised.) Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani wallowed in Obama's attention in D.C. and declared that any nuclear terrorism fears arising from Pakistani actions or inactions were unjustified. Meanwhile, his UN representative was saying in New York: "My delegation aligns itself with the statements made by the distinguished representatives of Syria and Iran."

The government of Algeria was especially pleased by Obama's invitation. But a few hours before Foreign Affairs Minister Mourad Medelci dined in D.C. last night, his government told the UN: "Algeria endorses the statements made by Syria and Iran...International law should make sure that we avoid generalizations that Algeria has always denounced between terrorism and the armed struggle of people in supporting their right to self-determination and their liberation..."

And then there was Obama's special friend Egypt, scene of the most obsequious speech ever delivered by a U.S. president to the Muslim world. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit, together with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, had planned to turn the international get-together in D.C. into another Israel-bashing session. With Netanyahu choosing to stay away rather than trust President Obama to keep the meeting on message, Egypt simply shifted gears. The Egyptian delegate urged UN members in New York on Monday "to emphasize the distinction between a terrorist act and the legal acts...carried out by national liberation movements..." He also "emphasized" Egypt's primary interest in addressing terrorism's "root causes" not hate and intolerance, mind you but "feelings of injustice and frustration."

President Obama's security summit takes grandstanding to a whole new level. The White House calls it "the largest gathering of countries hosted by an American President...since the conference in San Francisco around the United Nations" in 1945. Of course, back then the number meant most of the world's states, while today it is less than a quarter.

True friends of America like the British and Israeli prime ministers have stayed away, while double-talking and double-dealing non-democrats have their run of the place. Shutting down Iran the leading threat to nuclear security and state sponsor of terrorism is not even on the table.

And half of the attendees at this anti-terrorism extravaganza can't recognize terrorism when it stares them in the face.

April 12, 2010