It was blistering cold in midtown Manhattan on Sunday afternoon as former UN Ambassador John Bolton and other leaders stood outside the UN – in the presence of major national media outlets - urging President Barack Obama and his administration to have Israel’s back during the final weeks of his presidency.
Referring to the weather, Mr. Bolton, rumored to be the pick for Undersecretary of State in the Trump administration, quipped, “This is what it feels like for Israel in the UN on a good day.”
Ambassador Bolton was joined by Morton Klein, President of the Zionist Organization of America; and Dr. Joseph Frager, Odeleya Jacobs, Dr. Paul Brody and Duvi Honig , members of the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce’s Public Policy Committee, which arranged the news conference. (The conference was sponsored by the Zionist Organization of America and National Council of Young Israel.) Aaron Klein, noted author, radio host and Breitbart News Jerusalem Bureau Chief, traveled in from Israel to address the conference as well.
Mr. Honig opened the conference by thanking Ambassador Bolton for his longstanding support for Israel. He mentioned how Yaakov Avinu prepared to defeat the enemies of his People through tefillah, Mr. Honig recited a kapitel Tehillim followed by the tefillah of “Acheinu” at the podium.
Dr. Frager explained that the goal of the press conference was to protect the special relationship between the U.S. and Israel from the castigating of Israel that the UN is infamous for. The conference also served as the official launch of the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce’s mission to Israel on January 3rd and 4th, to strengthen U.S. – Israel economic ties. Former governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, among other high ranking officials, business leaders and activists, will participate in the mission.
Focusing on the weeks ahead, Mr. Klein of the ZOA cited the “real basis for fear” that the enemies of Israel will utilize these final weeks of the Obama administration to harm Israel at the UN. Specifically, there is the fear that the Obama administration will now support, or at least refuse to veto, UN resolutions that are damaging to Israel – unlike the administration’s policy up until now.
Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Ambassador Samantha Power refused to say whether they would go along with a UN declaration of settlements in East Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria as “illegal.” According to Wikileaks, senior Obama aides were discussing supporting a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood. The administration has also as of late been using harsher than usual language condemning Israeli construction within existing boundaries. Perhaps most concerning have been the recent declaration of support for unilateral Palestinian statehood by former President Jimmy Carter and The New York Times editorial page. “We believe that this is orchestrated,” said Mr. Klein, noting that an official Palestinian delegation is currently in Washington to lobby the administration to support its goals at the UN.
Dr. Frager pointed out that approximately 20% of the UN budget is covered by the United States, and our nation therefore has leverage to keep UN anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment in check. “The PA can’t use the UN instead of negotiating,” he explained.
He was followed by Aaron Klein of Breitbart who detailed the various potential UN resolutions that may be pushed in the upcoming weeks. They include, among others, unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood, a timetable for statehood declaration, or a declaration that Israeli settlements are illegal. “This is almost a sick joke…a diplomatic assault,” said Mr. Klein, detailing the Palestinians’ repeated refusal to accept a state at the negotiating table.
Ambassador Bolton was the final speaker of the conference, utilizing his impeccable diplomatic pedigree to sound the alarm about the “very far reaching repercussions” that would result from a US abandonment of Israel at the UN. He pointed to the bipartisan US consensus for nearly half a century that a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict cannot be imposed by other countries. “It is a fiction that a resolution across First Avenue will lead to lasting peace,” he said.
The ambassador and other speakers then took questions from the audience, and expounded in greater detail how virulently anti-Semitic and anti-Israel Mahmoud Abbas and other “moderate” Palestinian leaders, not to mention Hamas, are – making it all the more dangerous if statehood gains momentum at this moment.
Mr. Honig concluded by expressing appreciation to President Obama and his administration for their repeated vetoes of anti-Israel UN resolutions in previous years, and other instances of support for Israel. He expressed hope that the administration will continue down that path through its final days. “The enemies of Israel are trying to hijack the UN to harm the Jews,” Mr. Honig summed up. “Don’t get blinded by the hate!”