JCFR & JCRC Statement on U.S. Abstention at U.N.

The Jewish Community Federation of Richmond (JCFR) and its Jewish Community Relations Committee (JCRC) condemn the failure of the United States to veto Friday’s anti-Israel United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334.

We are deeply disappointed the U.S. failed to veto the one-sided resolution, which lambasts Israel, disregards nuance and context and fails to hold the Palestinian people, leaders, or terrorists accountable at all for their role in the current situation. This undermines a decades old, core principle of American foreign policy, successively upheld by Democratic and Republican Administrations – which our Federation endorses: the only solution to the conflict is to be found through direct negotiations between the parties.

In 2011, President Barak Obama addressed the matter of U.N. resolutions on the Israel-Palestine conflict at the U.N. General Assembly. The President said:

I am convinced that there is no short cut to the end of a conflict that has endured for decades. Peace is hard work. Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the United Nations -- if it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now. Ultimately, it is the Israelis and the Palestinians who must live side by side. Ultimately, it is the Israelis and the Palestinians -- not us -- who must reach agreement on the issues that divide them: on borders and on security, on refugees and Jerusalem.

The statement of U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power about why the U.S. abstained notwithstanding; with this vote, the Obama Administration upended its own principled stance against U.N. resolutions that isolate and target Israel. Ambassador Power noted, “…the simple truth is that for as long as Israel has been a member of this institution, Israel has been treated differently from other nations at the United Nations. And not only in decades past … but also in 2016, this year. One need only look at the 18 resolutions against Israel adopted during the UN General Assembly in September; or the 12 Israel-specific resolutions adopted this year in the Human Rights Council – more than those focused on Syria, North Korea, Iran, and South Sudan put together – to see that in 2016 Israel continues to be treated differently from other Member States.” In this context, we are astounded the U.S. did not veto this resolution.

Moreover, the administration ignored the advice of 88 U.S. Senators who urged President Obama to reject such resolutions in September. It additionally ignored the U.S. House of Representatives bipartisan resolution, which reaffirmed support for direct Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations and reiterated opposition to U.N. Security Council efforts that would attempt to impose a solution to the conflict, in November.

President Obama has consistently supported Israel’s right to self-defense and affirmed America has an “iron clad commitment to make sure Israel is secure.” Several weeks ago the U.S. and Israel signed an unprecedented $38 billion military aid package.

JCFR President Nannette Shor said, “If this resolution were balanced, or even attempted to grapple with the complexity of the region, our reaction would be different. As it is worded, this resolution excoriates Israel with misleading and vitriolic insinuation. The Israel-Palestine conflict won’t be solved in the U.N. and actions like
these push peace further away. Actions like this tell the Palestinians– the violence against Israeli civilians, the incitement to violence by Palestinian leadership is not only acceptable, it is productive.”

JCRC Co-Chair Frances F. Goldman, commented, “As our JCRC is driven by consensus, we do not have a position on the Israeli settlement enterprise. However, while the U.S. has a long history of opposing the settlement expansion this resolution goes far beyond condemnation of that action. The saddest part is that it will further entrench both parties and drive peace further away.”

It is tragic that in its final days the Obama Administration has marred its legacy of support for the Jewish State. This abdication of moral authority will further set back the prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace.

For more information e-mail, JCFR Director of Jewish Community Relations and Israel and Overseas Programming, Daniel 'Doni' Fogel or call (804) 545-8626.


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