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Friday, February 18, 2011


Alone again, naturally

[Bonus points for getting the song allusion in the title]

Today, 14 of the 15 members of the U.N. Security Council voted for a resolution declaring Israel's West Bank settlement construction illegal, a resolution which, given the unequivocal state of international law, is about as debatable as a resolution declaring the earth is not flat. Nevertheless, one bold country went where no one else dared to go, voted "no," and, in doing so, vetoed the resolution. That country as, obviously, the United States.

Before the vote went down, FAIR caught the New York Times making this preposterous statement: "The new White House press secretary, Jay Carney, said Thursday that he would not say whether the United States would invoke its rarely used veto power in the Council." In fact, the U.S. uses that "rarely used" power more than any other country; dozens of times on the issue of Israel alone. And, of course, that doesn't tell the whole story. Because the U.S. has used the threat of a veto many more times to simply prevent resolutions from coming to a vote, or to have them watered-down into meaninglessness before they do.

Explaining the U.S. veto, Ambassador Susan Rice claimed that "the veto should not be taken as an endorsement of the settlements" (r-i-i-i-ght), and that "Direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians still are, as they have always been, the only way to solve the conflict between the two sides." Really, Dr. Rice? And how's that going, exactly? How many decades have those "negotiations" been going on? With what "progress," exactly?

As for that "criticism" we're told the U.S. levels against the settlements, here's an example: "White House press secretary Jay Carney said Thursday the United States did not "accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity." The Obama Administration has, to my knowledge, never criticized "settlements," only "continued settlement activity." Considering the extent of the existing illegal settlements, that's one heck of a difference. And even those statements are meaningless. Actions speak louder than words, and every U.S. action, from vetoing this resolution, to continuing to provide billions of dollars to Israel, says the U.S. has no more problem with what Israel is doing than it did with what Mubarak was doing in Egypt for 30 years.

Update: To no one's surprise, the U.S. was attempting to gut this resolution too before it was forced to veto it because, for once, it couldn't bend the rest of the Council to its will.

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