Bayefsky: Enquiry is a serious one

President Obama Blackmails Israel at the UN

This article by Anne Bayefsky appears today on

President Obama has now blackmailed the government of Israel into submitting its defense forces to the toxic oversight of the United Nations. Today U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon created, with Israel’s approval, a UN investigation of last June’s flotilla incident in which Turkish-backed extremists sought to shatter Israel’s lawful naval blockade of Hamas-run Gaza.

Despite the fact that Israel has already launched an inquiry with international participants, the Obama administration insists that the Israel Defense Forces, and the Israeli legal and political establishment governing their actions, must be subject to UN supervision. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice welcomed Ban’s announcement.

Obama’s move is a far cry from claims of a recent rapprochement with Israel. Instead of pressuring Israel in front of the cameras, the administration is now using the U.N. as its foil. The sword of Damocles that hung over Prime Minister Netanyahu’s head was withdrawal of American veto protection in the Security Council, a United States sitting on the sidelines in the General Assembly and the other U.N. bodies where new forms of anti-Israel censure are always percolating, and a firm U.S. no to any Israeli military effort to stop an Iranian nuclear weapon.

Even Ban Ki-moon today called the development “unprecedented”. The U.N. team will be second-guessing the actions taken in self-defense by a democratic state, governed by the rule of law and at war with a terrorist entity committed to its destruction — on account of an undisputed figure of nine deaths. In the course of war, hundreds of civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq have been killed by American and coalition forces, while undemocratic regimes regularly and deliberately murder thousands, without a peep from the U.N.

If the president tried the same stunt in America, ordering U.S. generals to report to Ban Ki-moon and company and to seek their seal of approval, the uproar would be deafening. But this president has evidently embraced the defining attribute of the U.N. approach to Israel — double-standards.

Obama’s support for the U.N. investigation is part of a major realignment of U.S. foreign policy to synchronize it with an organization dominated by Islamic interests. Within 24 hours of the flotilla incident, the U.S. agreed to a hasty Security Council presidential statement on May 31 that called for “a prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation conforming to international standards.” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other State Department officials let it be known that “credible” to this administration meant credible in the eyes of the U.N. In the Israeli case, the United States is prepared to make the requisites of self-defense subservient to the U.N. mob.

In today’s U.N. announcement, Ban Ki-moon named former New Zealand Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer to head his inquiry. Palmer is closely associated with one of the U.N.’s top officials, Helen Clark, who is currently chief of the U.N. Development Program and chair of the U.N. Development Group. Clark was Palmer’s deputy during his time in office and, after becoming prime minister herself, named him to a number of important posts. U.N. officials clearly believe that Palmer shares, or will be influenced by, the biases of those who appointed him. In the midst of the Gaza war in January 2009, Clark blamed Israel for the conflict saying the impact of Hamas rocket attacks “has been but a tiny fraction of that of the Israeli strikes on Gaza.” In August 2006 during the Lebanon war, Clark said she found it “hard to believe” that the accidental Israeli bombing of a U.N. observation post in Lebanon was anything but deliberate.

Today’s announcement does nothing to stop the concurrent U.N. Human Rights Council’s investigation of exactly the same flotilla incident. In June the Council launched an allegedly “independent international fact-finding mission” with a mandate to report on what it had already decided was Israel’s “outrageous attack.” Rice disingenuously claimed today that “The United States expects that the Panel[‘s]…work will be the primary method for the international community to review the incident, obviating the need for any overlapping international inquiries.”

The secretary-general’s announcement says nothing of the kind and she knows full well that the secretary has no power to stop the Council from proceeding, since it is run by states and not the bureaucracy.

Rice also said that the secretary general’s inquiry “will receive and review the reports” of Israeli and Turkish national investigations. For all intents and purposes, therefore, the Israeli investigation has been rendered irrelevant. The international figures who took risks by agreeing to participate on the Israeli inquiry could hardly be blamed for believing they have been double-crossed.

The details of the Ban investigation, including its mandate, have yet to be ironed out. But Ban’s announcement sets a mid-September deadline for an interim report, obviously intending to minimize any further Israeli negotiating room. Regardless of whatever piece of paper materializes, in practice Israel will not be able to retain control over the scope of the inquiry, or who might be forced to testify, or what information will need to be submitted to satisfy the U.N.

There will be four members of the inquiry including a Turkish and Israeli representative. Should the Turkish member or any of the others at any time believe that they want something that Israel has not provided, or that their mandate is insufficient, all they need to do is to threaten to go public. At that point, either the inquiry will be diminished in U.N. eyes, giving further impetus to actions by the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly, or Israel will immediately come under further U.S. pressure to make even more concessions.

Netanyahu apparently believes that falling on the sword erected by the Obama administration and his U.N. cohorts will buy him American goodwill. But this legal and political battle over what counts as legitimate self-defense needs to be fought like any other real war — to win. Removing the fundamentals of self-defense from Israeli hands is at odds with the very raison d’etre of the Jewish state. This was one demand of a hostile American administration too many.

August 3, 2010 | 10 Comments »

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  1. A Dog named Hymie or Hymie impersonating a doggie

    Dogs should not be locked up behind bars.
    They are meant to be free and happy.

    Notice on the bulletin board a lost dog.

    Lost- black and white cocker spaniel, calls himself Hymie.

    left ear missing, hind leg broken tail partly gone,and is insane. Answers to the name – Hymie and hundreds of others but what’s in a name anyway?

  2. The BS overload.

    Boredom? Magician? sly alchemist? You worked hard at transforming dust into bullshit.
    You unleashed the longing within, shed the past, turned the blank page faced forward and shed off another skin.

    You seem to have many skins. One is too many.

  3. Yamit: when you are getting pummelled to death figuratively speaking and have no more arguments to present you resort to your usual tactic of DIVERT-DIVERT- DIVERT.


  4. chbd: Now we are getting religious claptrap. The BS overload.

    Ayn Rand
    Ask youself whether the dream of heaven and greatness should be waiting for us in our graves–or whether it should be ours here and now and on this earth.

    In that world, you’ll be able to rise in the morning with the spirit you had known in your childhood: that spirit of eagerness, adventure and certainty which comes from dealing with a rational universe.

  5. Ted Hymie is back with at least three different persona’s. You will do this site more damage by keeping him than not.

  6. I knew this ten years ago and was a lone voice among Israpudit’s commenters that BB would be disastrous for us.

    There you go again; always trying to take exclusive credit.

    Charles Martel says:
    December 25, 2008 at 10:11 am

    He must say he will never divide Jerusalem, with or without a negotiating partner

    He can say this but the promise will ring hollow. The distinction between a Netanyahu government and a Livni government will be completely one of style rather than substance. Netanyahu will posture about not dividing Jerusalem, about holding on to J&S, about proceeding down an “economic track” in parallel with Annapolis. But in the end, he is subject to the same international and internal pressure as Livni. (Even more so in the case of internal pressure due to his exposure to the AG).

    The only place I can see Netanyahu diverging from the Olmert government is on the Golan since this appears to be one issue where Israel is under no pressure from the US — although that is likely to change with Obama.

  7. Somebody better get some balls and say it loud and clear. BB is a traitorous political coward who is more of a threat and more dangerous to the State of Israel and the people of Israel than Obama and all our Arab enemies combined.

    I knew this ten years ago and was a lone voice among Israpudit’s commenters that BB would be disastrous for us. I want Livni, anybody to lead us but BB, yesterday would not be soon enough. For all our sakes he must be deposed and replaced by anybody, just not him.