Wednesday, January 04, 2017

‘Pro-Israel’ Hawks Are No Good for the U.S. or Israel

Bloomberg’s editorial condemning the U.S. abstention on UNSCR 2334 is comically overwrought:

President Barack Obama’s ill-advised decision to order the U.S. to abstain on a United Nations resolution condemning Israeli settlements breaks with past U.S. policy, undermines a vital ally and sets back the cause of Middle East peace.

There are many weak arguments against the recent Security Council resolution, but the claim that it “sets back the cause of Middle East peace” stands out for its sheer bad faith. There is a broad international consensus that settlement-building in the occupied territories is both illegal and a barrier to a negotiated resolution of the conflict. No one who is genuinely interested in securing a negotiated resolution of the conflict thinks that continued settlement construction makes a peace agreement more likely. One of the main reasons for continued construction is to establish de facto control over most of the territory that has been occupied while leaving less and less land for the Palestinians so that it becomes impossible for them to have their own state. If that continues, it sets Israel up to rule over a stateless, subject people in perpetuity, and that will be a disaster for all involved. If making an attempt to oppose that dreadful outcome constitutes “betrayal,” I shudder to think what loyalty is supposed to look like.

Calling out Israel for its ongoing illegal behavior becomes unavoidable when there is no progress in resolving the conflict, and the current Israeli government has made it very clear that there won’t be any progress. Criticizing Israel for behavior that has contributed to its increasing isolation in the world is not an unfriendly or treacherous act, and it ought to serve as a wake-up call to warn Israel away from a ruinous path. The fact that many so-called “pro-Israel” Americans are denouncing the decision not to veto the resolution as a “betrayal” reminds us just how bad conventional “pro-Israel” advocates are for both the U.S. and Israel.

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