List of states and how they voted on the UN resolution rejecting US President Trump's Jerusalem move, December 21, 2017.
(photo credit: UNITED NATIONS SCOREBOARD)
The United States and Jerusalem were not trounced by the vote that took place in the United Nations General Assembly denouncing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. People are looking at the wrong numbers.
One hundred and twenty-eight nations voted for the resolution condemning the United States and Jerusalem. Nine voted against. Thirty-five abstained. Twenty-one were no-shows. Of all these numbers, 128 is not the most important. The number we need to concentrate on is 65. Nine plus 35 plus 21 equals 65.
Nine nations had the diplomatic guts to stand up to the rest of the world and unabashedly side with the US and Jerusalem. It doesn’t matter that, for the most part, they were small countries with small populations. They are countries and island nations that most people could not find on a map. But in the UN General Assembly, every nation gets an equal vote. Micronesia might only have a population of 161,000, Nauru a population of 11,000, Palau 20,000 and the Marshall Islands 53,000, but their votes are equal to the votes of the most populated countries in the world.
Of the 193 countries represented in the UN, tiny countries with 11,000 people get the same vote as China and India who have over a billion residents. Such is the General Assembly.
Thirty-five nations had the wherewithal to abstain. That wasn’t easy either. As for the 21 no-shows, they were all calculated decisions. No country just takes a sick day from the General Assembly. These countries did not want to offend the US and wanted to continue to protect their own interests vis-a-vis US aid. That’s significant. The US recognizes their decision and appreciates their diplomatic integrity.
And that is why the US is paying tribute to those 64 countries and thanking them for their friendship by inviting them to the United States’ New Year’s party.
The majority of nations represented in the UN are non-democracies. It should come as no surprise that, when democratic issues promoted by the US and Israel come up for a vote, they will fail in the “glass building on Turtle Bay” as the UN is called. This vote on Jerusalem was certainly no exception.
What was disappointing is that certain nations, themselves democracies, failed to vote alongside the US. Each for its own reason, countries like Great Britain, Germany, France and even India, bailed when it came to the vote.
Here are some other important numbers: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation has 57 members. No-one could have expected those nations to vote in favor of anything having to do with Israel. Some of those countries – specifically Jordan and Egypt, will pay a price for their vote, but not a monetary price. The US will not penalize them by denying them aid. They were saving face and voting along with their bloc. Now the US will engage in some back-door arm twisting and have Egypt and Jordan act as unofficial, silent US proxies on issues pertaining to the Palestinian/ Israeli peace initiative. While they won’t be invited to Nikki Haley’s New Year’s bash, the US support on Jerusalem just went up by two – bringing it to a total of 67.
With this vote (especially the abstentions, the no-shows) the US and Jerusalem succeeded in garnering a third of the UN votes. That’s significant. They did far better in the General Assembly than they did in the 15-member Security Council vote where the US stood tall and proud, but alone.
The General Assembly has always been a release valve for angry anti-Western sentiments. It was a place where nations were able to save face and blow off steam. Many nations took advantage of the opportunity by taking what they thought to be a meaningless stance and voting against the US. They thought they would be safe because General Assembly resolutions have no teeth, and there is safety in numbers.
They were wrong. By now, almost one year into his presidency, those countries should have known that US President Donald Trump would take umbrage. The world leaders who chose to vote against the US should have seen the writing on the wall and known that the US would be offended. The United States of America, especially under President Trump, does not like to be humiliated in public. And to be humiliated by recipients of massive US aid was unacceptable. Not receiving an invitation to a party is, for them, just the tip of the iceberg.
In the end, the vote went very well for the US and for Jerusalem. The author is a political commentator. He hosts the TV show Thinking Out Loud on JBS TV. Follow him on Twitter @MicahHalpern.