posted at 1:31 pm on December 29, 2016 by John Sexton
As I noted yesterday, Israel has not backed away from its claim to have “ironclad” evidence that the U.S. supported and pushed a UN resolution condemning Israel. Today, Adam Kredo at the Free Beacon has a follow up story saying the Obama administration is struggling to explain reports that they played a bigger role in the resolution than simply refusing to veto it:
Jonathan Schanzer, a Middle East expert and vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told the Free Beacon that he spoke with U.S. officials in September who admitted that “a U.N. measure of some shape or form was actively considered,” a charge that runs counter the White House’s official narrative.
“We know that this administration was at a minimum helping to shape a final resolution at the United Nations and had been working on this for months,” Schanzer said…
“The fact is, the administration has been flagged as being an active participant in this U.N. resolution,” Schanzer said. “Now they wish to try to spin this as inconsequential. This was an attempt by the administration to lead from behind, as they have done countless times in the past and which has failed countless times in the past.”
Schanzer’s claim is backed up by a Washington Post report which says the first inkling of a UN resolution aimed at preserving the two-state solution was being considered by President Obama himself back in September:
The first public hint of the move came in the heat of the U.S. presidential campaign in September, just after nominees Trump and Hillary Clinton held meetings with Netanyahu in New York. In an Israeli television interview, Dan Shapiro, U.S. ambassador to Israel, said Obama was “asking himself” about the best way to promote a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“This could be a statement we make or a resolution or an initiative at the U.N. . . . which contributes to an effort to be continued by the next administration,” he said.
Shapiro clearly anticipated a Clinton victory, reflecting thinking within the administration that if Obama took the heat for a critical statement or resolution, she would be in a better position to play the “good cop” and move Israel toward substantive negotiations.
So this was part of a plan predicated on Hillary winning the election. When that didn’t happen it seems no one thought to pull back on the administration’s “bad cop” routine. Instead, as noted yesterday, there are reports the U.S. discussed a “balanced” resolution with the Palestinians and that Vice President Biden urged Ukraine to vote for it. Both of those reports have been denied by the Obama administration. After similar denials about the transfer of $400 million in cash to Iran, which was linked to a release of U.S. prisoners, it’s difficult to take those claims at face value.
The best response to the Obama administration’s claims regarding the UN resolution comes at the end of the Free Beacon story:
One veteran foreign policy insider and former government official who requested anonymity in order to speak freely described senior Obama administration officials as “lying sacks of s**t” who routinely feed the press disinformation.
Another anonymous source, described only as a senior congressional aide, tells the Free Beacon the administration, “got caught red handed, and now they’re talking out of both sides of their mouth.” The echo chamber used to manufacture support for the Iran deal doesn’t seem to working as well this time around.