When Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on Thursday to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, America’s ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, was not there. Neither was Secretary of State John Kerry. Though both Kerry and Power were in New York.
Representation of the U.S. was left to a lineup of lesser State Department eminences.
This petty behavior could only have come with the blessing and at the orders of America’s top boss, and it was a gross insult, from the president of the United States to the nation of Israel. That does not represent the broad view of the American public, nor does it represent the support for Israel in Congress — where Netanyahu’s speech earlier this year warning about the Iran nuclear deal was received by the majority of lawmakers as the important and dire warning it was, but dismissed by Obama as “nothing new.” It suggests what Elliot Abrams neatly sums up in an article on this latest destructive U.S. snub of a vital ally: “The Obama Vendetta Against Netanyahu.”
Speaking onstage was the elected leader of America’s chief ally in the Middle East, a democratic nation surrounded by growing tumult and terror unleashed as America, under President Obama, has shrugged off its role as leader of the Free World. Surrendering the hard won gains in Iraq, grossly under-estimating the rise of ISIS, cutting a ruinously farcical nuclear deal that enriches and empowers the terror-sponsoring theocracy of Iran, leading from behind in Libya and then ceding the field entirely to terror and chaos, and in Syria, erasing Obama’s “red line” and opening the gates through which Russia, arm-in-arm with Iran, is making its advance into the Middle East, with boots on the ground and air strikes this week, not against ISIS but against U.S.-backed fighters.
Where were America’s top diplomats, Kerry and Power, who without question should have done anything — even walk through New York’s UN gridlock — to be present at Netanyahu’s speech? Breitbart News reports that they were pulled away for a video conference with Obama. A muddle of timing, no doubt.
What appears at the UN to be a petty diplomatic contretemps will be read in places such as Moscow and Tehran, and by Iran-backed terrorists such as Hezbollah, as a further signal that this is open season on the Free World, especially its front line states, and above all, Israel. Time was when Obama was criticized for chronically voting merely as “present.” By now, this has become, in effect, a policy of voting absent in one world crisis after another.
The offensive symbolism just enacted at the UN should not be laid solely at the door of the commander-in-chief. Kerry and Power both hold cabinet rank. Presumably they have some voice and access to persuade Obama that there are some things America, in the interest of its own vital alliances and security, must do. Surely they could have told Obama, during that reported video conference, that it was imperative at least one of them be excused to attend Netanyahu’s speech.
Instead, to the deafening silence with which the UN has met Iran’s threats to obliterate Israel, we must now add the disgraceful absence of those top U.S. officials entrusted (and well-compensated) to fly the American flag, high and proud, where it is most needed. The UN General Assembly chamber, as Netanyahu spoke on Thursday, was precisely such a beachhead.
As it is, the U.S. is bankrolling a forum where America continues to abdicate its real interests to the likes of Russia, Iran, China, and Cuba. Good luck with that.