Israel in the lion’s den

Over the past four years, President Barack Obama has consistently had Israel’s back at the UN and stood up for what’s right.

Binyamin Netanyahu at UN 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Binyamin Netanyahu at UN 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
American voters concerned about Israel should remember the biblical story of Daniel in the lion’s den – and its modern-day diplomatic equivalent.
American Jews and other supporters of Israel have long known that the United Nations has all too often been the site of unfair attacks on Israel, including attempts to deny the Jewish state’s legitimacy. But over the past four years, President Barack Obama has consistently had Israel’s back at the UN and stood up for what’s right.
While Daniel had to rely on help from above in the lion’s den, Israel can rely on very real American help in its own lion’s den at the UN.
The Obama administration’s record of defending Israel at the UN is strikingly strong across the board – both increasing Israel’s security and defending its legitimate place among the nations. Consider some of the achievements standing up for Israel at the UN racked up by President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, UN Ambassador Susan Rice, and their staffs. Their marching orders have come right from the very top.
The Obama administration has rallied the UN Security Council to pass the toughest sanctions Iran has ever faced. Resolution 1929 targeted the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, banned ballistic missile launches, required rigorous inspections of suspicious cargo, barred the sale of many heavy weapons to Iran, and cracked down on Iranian attempts to use banks to fund proliferation.
Those tough new global measures were significant by themselves, but the resolution also opened the door to let the European Union and other partners impose sanctions of their own. The mullahs in Tehran are now scrambling under the screws of the sanctions and have watched their currency plunge by a jaw-dropping 40 percent in just a week.
WHEN THE Palestinians pushed a Security Council resolution on settlements, the Obama administration vetoed it. President Obama stood firm on a bedrock principle: settlements and other core issues must be negotiated out directly between Israelis and Palestinians for lasting peace.
When the UN followed up twice on the notorious 2001 Durban conference, which became synonymous with Israel-bashing and anti-Semitism, the Obama administration boycotted it – twice.
When many UN members tried to isolate Israel after the 2010 flotilla incident, the Obama administration had Israel’s back and worked carefully to defuse tensions every step of the way.
When terrorists attacked Israelis and Israeli diplomatic targets in February and July, the Obama administration led the Security Council in unanimously condemning the attacks – the first time the Council had condemned such outrages against Israelis in seven years.
When Israel-bashing resolutions are wheeled out year after year in the UN General Assembly, the Human Rights Council, UNESCO and elsewhere, the Obama administration has fought them – every time, all the time.
President Obama has a 100 percent pro-Israel voting record at the UN.
The UN record matters because Israelis remember that their state was founded with the UN’s blessing. And all who want to see Israel fully claim its rightful place among the nations know that must include finally getting fair treatment as a full and respected member of the UN.
President Obama’s impressive record of support goes beyond the UN: crucial funding for the Iron Dome system that’s saving Israeli lives from Hamas rockets, increased aid for Israel even during the worst US economic crisis since the Depression, and tighter defense ties that top generals and spymasters on both sides call unprecedented.
No one should be playing politics with President Obama’s sterling pro-Israel record.
The author is a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the University of North Florida and a former US representative to the United Nations. She served president Bill Clinton as deputy assistant for national security affairs.