U.N., Kerry Draw Broad Criticism

U.N., Kerry Draw Broad Criticism

Secretary of State John Kerry
Secretary of State John Kerry

Most American Jewish organizations that responded to the U.S. abstention on U.N. Resolution 2334 on Friday, Dec. 23, or to Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech five days later were critical. Among them:

  • Jewish Federations of North America — “The Administration’s decision undermined a core principle of American foreign policy that has been embraced by Democratic and Republican Administrations for decades: that the only route to a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is through direct negotiations between the parties. It also upended its own principled stance against UN resolutions that isolate Israel. … And the Obama Administration ignored the advice of 88 Members of the U.S. Senate who urged the President in September to reject such resolutions.”
  • Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Chairman Stephen Greenberg and CEO Malcolm Hoenlein — “The resolution further marginalizes the United Nations and is a stain on the name and reputation of each country that voted for it. Every honest and objective observer can clearly see that it is Palestinian rejectionism that blocks progress in the peace process. The Security Council has abetted this obstructionism by allowing Chairman Abbas to resort to the international body in an effort to avoid the responsibilities that would be entailed in direct negotiations with Israel. While the damage is done, we hope that remedial measures can be adopted in the future that will bring a moral context, honest assessment, and clear vision for a more positive future than we saw today.”
  • Anti-Defamation League National Chair Marvin Nathan and CEO Jonathan Greenblatt — “We are outraged over the U.S. failure to veto this biased and unconstructive UNSC resolution on Israel. … We know that Israeli settlement activity is of concern to the U.S. and many members of the international community and are pleased that Ambassador Samantha Power recognized the centrality of other issues obstructing the peace process, including Palestinian incitement and a complete unwillingness to engage in bilateral negotiations. However, we are incredibly disappointed that the U.S. still chose not to exercise its veto power and stop this resolution at the Security Council.”
  • American Jewish Committee — “While we reject hyperbolic assertions that President Obama and Secretary Kerry are anti-Israel, we continue to believe that Resolution 2334 was unbalanced and merited a U.S. veto, and that the UN — which has declined to take serious action on far more deadly and destabilizing conflicts — has once again proven itself incapable of rendering fair judgment of Israel.”
  • American Israel Public Affairs Committee — “It is particularly regrettable, in his last month in office, that the president has taken an action at odds with the bipartisan consensus in Congress and America’s long history of standing with Israel at the United Nations. AIPAC expresses its appreciation to President-elect Trump and the many Democratic and Republican Members of Congress who urged a veto of this resolution.”
  • Jewish Council for Public Affairs CEO David Bernstein — “While Kerry said much about settlements, obstacles to peace, UN resolution and principles, he did not offer much in the way of practical next steps for the parties to take. He offered no new ideas about how to create the conditions for peace, only a clear statement about what he sees as the current obstacles to peace. … We want to make clear that we strongly support a two state solution and do not begrudge — in fact, we applaud — the US Administration for its desire to play a constructive role in resolving the conflict. The six principles that Kerry articulated at the end of his remarks detailing how the conflict should be resolved are in accord with parameters offered by previous Administrations. However, we do believe that abstention at the UN Security Council was counter-productive to reaching such a peace deal.”

A few organizations, however, were supportive, including:

  • J Street — “This resolution conveys the overwhelming support of the international community, including Israel’s closest friends and allies, for the two-state solution, and their deep concern over the deteriorating status quo between Israelis and Palestinians and the lack of meaningful progress toward peace. It is also a clear signal that the international community’s patience with an occupation of almost 50 years has limits.”
  • New Israel Fund CEO Daniel Sokatch — “Despite the extreme stances we’ve been told to expect from the incoming American administration, Israel’s true friends around the world are sending a clear message: settlement expansion, the Outpost Bill, serious talk of annexing parts of the West Bank, and the outrageous financial investment in settlers at the expense of the Israeli public are leading Israel to a dead end. By allowing this resolution to pass, President Obama has made a difficult and perhaps unpopular choice. But his abstention is an important demonstration of his enduring belief in a better future for Israel that, I hope, will be heard as the act of a true friend in Jerusalem. All of us who care about Israel’s future need to stand with our president today.”
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