Two prominent Democratic Party leaders have strongly criticized the Obama administration for its refusal to veto a United Nations Security Council measure condemning the United States’ most important ally in the Middle East, Israel. The measure, which Israel says was orchestrated secretly by U.S. representatives, is believed to be part of a larger effort by hostile nations to further isolate the Jewish state from the international community.
Incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) excoriated the Obama administration, arguing that their complicity in the U.N. vote against Israel “will move us further from peace in the Middle East.”
He followed up with a tweet on Thursday, December 23, 2016, saying: “Extremely frustrating, disappointing & confounding that the Administration has failed to veto the UN resolution.”
To Schumer, “an abstention isn’t good enough.” Instead, he said, “anyone who cares about the future of Israel and peace in the region” should oppose a “one-sided” resolution meant to put undue pressure upon the country at the United Nations.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) echoed Schumer’s sentiments, explaining that the Obama administration’s cowardice sent mixed signals to friends and foes about America’s commitment to Israel. Instead, he said, the White House must “signal unequivocally to the entire world that we will continue to stand by our ally Israel as it seeks to build a future of peace and safety as a Jewish state and an equal member of the family of nations.”
Outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry disagrees with Hoyer’s view, claiming in a televised speech Wednesday that Israel could not be simultaneously an inherently Jewish nation and a democratic society.
“If the choice is one state, Israel can either be Jewish or democratic. It cannot be both, and it won’t ever really be at peace,” Kerry said, before proclaiming that the Palestinians could not “realize” their own aspirations as a people without their own state.
Schumer also issued a scathing statement following Kerry’s speech, lamenting that the Secretary of State “has emboldened extremists on both sides” with his words and refusal to defend Israel at the United Nations.
“While Secretary Kerry mentioned Gaza in his speech, he seems to have forgotten the history of the settlements of Gaza, where the Israeli government forced settlers to withdraw from all settlements and the Palestinians responded by sending rockets from Gaza into Israel,” he explained. “This is something that people of all political stripes in Israel vividly remember. While he may not have intended it, I fear Secretary Kerry, in his speech and action at the UN, has emboldened extremists on both sides.”
This latest public conflict is yet another rift in a Democratic Party that moves ever leftward, even as the American people have roundly rejected their policies and politicians throughout all levels of government since President Obama took office in 2009. With prominent progressives outwardly demonstrating antagonism toward America’s most reliable Middle East ally, pro-Israel Democrats will continue to remain at odds with those steering the policy course of their party.
Ellen Carmichael is a senior writer for Opportunity Lives. Follow her on Twitter @ellencarmichael.