Today, at the United Nations, the Obama administration is turning its back on Israel. For the very first time, the U.N. Security Council has invited the U.N. high commissioner for human rights to “brief” the Council specifically on the subject of Israel and the commissioner’s list of trumped-up sins. Though the U.S. is a veto-holding power, the extraordinary move has full American approval, despite the fact that the global soapbox will be handed to Navi Pillay, a notorious anti-Israel partisan.
Moreover, the American-backed action exposes President Obama’s profound weakness on the international stage. It turns out that the deal to sponsor an Israel-bashing session at the highest levels was a trade-off for having the high commissioner brief the Council on the subject of Syria.
The Security Council has not acted on Syria since an April 21, 2012, resolution, which sent unarmed observers over to watch the bloodshed. France wanted a high commissioner briefing on Syria to generate more noise. Council member Pakistan said no, unless Israel was on the chopping block, too. The Russians also said no, unless Libya was on the table. Russia seeks to use the mess in that country to obstruct stronger measures on Syria.
At this point in the diplomatic game, the Obama administration could have insisted that Israel not be sacrificed as the quid pro quo for paying due attention to the Syrian carnage. Instead, they caved, agreeing to a spectacle which casts Syria and Israel as moral equals.
Team Obama’s only caveat? The Syrian briefing should be in the morning and the Israel briefing should be in the afternoon so that the briefings — by the same person — can be labeled “two” meetings and the trade-off will be less visible. Obama’s U.N. ambassador Susan Rice can then run to the cameras before the afternoon session and claim the Council’s consideration of Syria was a “success.”