By allowing and indeed instigating—it was apparently entirely his decision—the United States to “abstain” from the UN Security Council’s censure of Israel on the settler issue Barack Obama has certainly hurt Israel, but he has hurt the Palestinian people far more.
Obama’s action was entirely one of moral narcissism, coming as it did from his longtime pseudo-leftist distaste for Israel (see the Khalidi Tape) augmented by personal pique at its leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, leavened by self-regarding, actually quite destructive, virtue signaling. Obama’s unresolved anger about Donald Trump’s victory was undoubtedly also part of the mix.
The destructive aspect is the most significant in the long run, though it’s questionable whether the lame-duck president sees it or even cares. Obama has encouraged Palestinian irredentism. He has given their leaders and the misbegotten Palestinian people a propaganda victory they don’t need that misleads them into thinking they have been following the right path.
Over the more than two decades since the Oslo Accords, the Palestinians have been given several chances at a two-state solution and have rejected all of them. In all those cases over ninety percent of what they asked for was on the table. In the instance of Ehud Barak and Arafat, some say it was a hundred percent. Arafat famously walked away—to Bill Clinton’s great, and in this case justifiable, chagrin.
Something wrong? Of course. Maybe the Palestinians, at least their leaders, didn’t and don’t really want a two-state solution. Those leaders have been on a gravy train, in many instances having become billionaires via international aid during the negotiations. They have had less than zero incentive to make a deal, especially since they suspected their more bloodthirsty brothers and sisters would kill them if they did. A recent investigation shows that Arafat may actually have been poisoned by a competing Palestinian leader. (We all know what happened to Gaza after the Israelis left voluntarily, when Hamas turned what was supposed to be the next Singapore into a free-fire zone.)
Meanwhile, the Palestinian people have been ginned up by those leaders—and jihadists worldwide—to hate the Jewish people and dream of the Jewish state being pushed into the sea. Interesting in all this is the supposedly terminal settler issue. Palestinian Authority President Abu Abbas has declared that no Jews would be allowed to live in a future Palestinian state, while a million and a half Arabs already live in Israel. Is that, as Obama would say, “fair”? Since 1948, the entire Islamic world has virtually achieved Hitler’s goal of being Judenrein.
Nevertheless, the destruction of Israel is less likely than ever to occur, yet Obama decided to give at least tacit encouragement to that tired dream and give the Palestinians a false victory through his last-minute chastisement of Israel. He did this in full knowledge that Donald Trump would take an opposite position within weeks. Obama’s action was basically a “grandstand play,” but not a harmless one because it undermined what Trump and his people may ultimately be trying to do more quietly. The Palestinians need nothing more than”tough love,” solid inducement to look at their situation realistically rather than through the highly neurotic, always self-destructive lens of victimhood.
It’s no surprise that Trump is now calling for reduced U.S. financial support for the UN. Did Obama want that? Did he really care about that either, or was that all too just for show?
So Obama moves off stage as he has always been—the Moral Narcissist in Chief. His entire presidency has been about him, and on a global stage. And they say Trump is the narcissist.
Roger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and co-founder of PJ Media. His latest book is I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn’t Already.