Elliott Abrams

Pressure Points

Abrams gives his take on U.S. foreign policy, with special focus on the Middle East and democracy and human rights issues.

Print Print Cite Cite
Style: MLA APA Chicago Close


Israel’s Three UN Allies

by Elliott Abrams
December 10, 2013


Just over a week ago the UN General Assembly voted to call 2014 the  ”International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.” The vote was 100 for to 7 against, with 56 abstentions.  This is a standard outcome in the General Assembly where Israel is concerned. The General Assembly passed an additional five resolutions about Israel, maintaining its obsessive, ridiculous, and indefensible record of attacking the Jewish State.

Who were the six countries that voted with Israel? Three were Pacific Island nations: the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Palau.  And three were (begging the pardon of those tiny island states) “real” countries: the United States, Australia, and Canada. Once upon a time Israel got some votes in Latin America but those days are past, and the EU tends to vote as a bloc most of the time and to find consensus only on abstention.

The votes of Canada and Australia are particularly worthy of note. Under Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Foreign Minister John Baird, Canada has proved to be a resolute and determined friend of Israel. Australia under Prime Ministers Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard was not, but as in Canada elections have consequences. The new prime minister, Tony Abbott, sworn in on September 28th, and new Foreign Minister Julie Bishop have swung Australia back to the position of the previous conservative government of John Howard. As the newspaper The Australian editorialized,

TONY Abbott and Julie Bishop intend to reverse the anti-Israel direction in Australia’s voting pattern in UN resolutions that Kevin Rudd oversaw as prime minister and foreign minister, and which Bob Carr continued. This is an immensely important sign of the Coalition government’s values and direction. Canberra will revert to the voting pattern established by John Howard and [foreign minister] Alexander Downer: less ambiguous, less apologetic, more straightforward in support of the only democracy in the Middle East.

It is shameful to see the General Assembly continuing to single out Israel for malign attention, and shameful that so many democracies choose to abstain on resolutions that merit an easy “No” vote. But Israel can be proud of the three great democracies that voted with her, as we can be proud to be one of them.



Post a Comment 15 Comments

  • Posted by ah

    Why exactly does “Solidarity with the Palestinian People” merit “an easy ‘No’ vote”? I think the opposite should be true, it merits an easy yes vote to side with a people who have been systematically expelled from their homes and made refugees for 60+ years. Regardless of one’s stance on Israel’s policies, siding with a victimized refugee population should be an easy yes vote.

  • Posted by Lon W.

    It is a shame that the Jordanian citizens in the West Bank and the Egyptian citizens in Gaza have it so very difficult (3-5 generations down the road). I look at the billions upon billions of dollars in foreign aid they receive and wonder at times. U.N. Resolution 181 states “recommendations” that can be followed… yet because neither party the Resolution addresses followed the recommendations, it is moot.
    It is a shame that the criminal economy of the Gazan “tunnels” leading under legitimate trade borders have been destroyed by the legal authorities of Israel and Egypt.
    It is a shame that these citizens in Egyptian and Jordanian territory do not take responsibility for themselves instead of relying upon the world “at large” to coddle them.

  • Posted by Adam

    Today as in 1948, the Palestinians have a choice between going to war or accepting peace. They chose war in 1948 and many times since. As long as the world indulges their pathetic narrative of ‘victimhood’, and coddles their arrogant belief that they are the only people with rights to land between the river and the sea, then they will go on believing that they are victims. That’s why voting No would send a strong message.

    Grow up Palestinians, wake up to the reality that you are very much responsible for your own situation and that you have played your political cards abominably for decades now. Your hatred toward non-Muslims, and your arrogance that you are the only legitimate people to rule between the river and the sea have put you in the position you are in now. The war of 1948 was mainly a war of annihilation against the jews, motivated by base hatred. It was not a war of freedom, or human rights, it was “itbach el yehud” all the way. Look in the mirror Palestinians, and see how your hatred has consumed you.

  • Posted by Andrew

    A good article. I’m proud of us too.

  • Posted by David

    America is on the wrong side of history on this one. It is only a matter of time, look at the demographics. Embrace the change. The fear of America has gone down under our Nobel Peace Prize Commander in Chief. Just ask Communist China.

  • Posted by Peter Theroux

    So, all the Arab countries voted for solidarity with the Pals, despite keeping them in camps for generations, refusing to give them citizenship, etc.

  • Posted by jj72

    Remember that the Palestinians want a land that is “Juden Frei.” So the world in this vote is supporting both ethnic cleansing and apartheid. Great job UN.

  • Posted by L closely

    >>Why exactly does “Solidarity with the Palestinian People” merit “an easy ‘No’ vote”

    Because of unceasing Palestinian sponsorship of terrorism, for starters. Other reasons would be inability to form or maintain a consentual gov’t (eg last statewide election was in 2006); systematic suppression of internal political dissent by murder, among other things; rampant corruption; and persecution of minorities, including homosexuals and Christians.

    But come to think about it, much of this is really not all that different than what goes on in a lot of the UN member countries, so for them, sure. . .this “should” be a reflexive vote for solidarity!

  • Posted by Abdulaziz

    So what ! In a way u r against democracy as well as human rights.
    The majority voted for pals and u r still do not believe that poor plas should even have the legitimate right to live in thier lands .
    The Israeli goverment and leaders should think about the future of thier people instead of playing the dirty politics game which is never ending.
    Just be balanced for god sake !

  • Posted by Jack

    ah seems not to know that the Palestinian Arabs, far from being innocents, collaborated with the German Nazis in the Holocaust, through their top leadership, especially Haj Amin el-Husseini. This man, the mufti of Jerusalem during the British period in the country, urged that Jews be prevented from escaping the Holocaust and that Jewish children be sent to Poland where, he said, they would be under “active supervision.” Auschwitz was in Poland, which he knew very well.

  • Posted by Franklin

    Was there a Palestinian people before 1948?? They were called Jordanians. The lie has been told too many times. STOP THE OCCUPATION OF ISRAELI LANDS.

  • Posted by Kenneth

    You’ll know it if and when the US goes down on the wrong side of history; so far we’ve not. I too am extremely proud of our country voting in the best interest of Israel as a faithful ally should. Certainly, there’s victims & innocents suffering some form of oppression in every nation of the world but in the case of Palestine, history has proven the malicious spirit & intent of those who sit in seats of power against Israel. I’m glad for Israel’s sake the U.S., Canada & Australia held true to our alliance with Zion, but much more for our sake because Israel will not be driven from their land ever again. Judgement will come swiftly upon all who seek to upset the peace of that land. No other people have suffered as greatly as the jewish people have but their suffering is over. In 1948, the impossible happened when a small remnant of Jew possessed their land again & rightfully declared their independence. From this point on, the Favor of God settled once & for all upon this people of peace.. though, they would never stand by idle again & allow another to disinherit them from their rightful, ancient heritage. In 1967, the Jewish State of Israel found itself surrounded on all 3 surrounding land fronts, an Egyptian front, Jordanian, and Syrian front.. both air & ground forces coming undeclared seeking a preemptive, surprise attack.. it would go down in history as the 6 Day War from start to finish as Israel held & defending their territory & turned the attack back on the attackers on all 3 fronts. To this day, it’s not exactly understood how Israel not only defended their land being surrounded and outnumbered, but also took back the capital city Jerusalem.. gaining grounds opposed to losing them. It’s not understood because it can only supernaturally be explained & since that time, a new-found fear & respect to the military power of Israel are known by opposing forces and neighboring tyrants. The day that we, the US, break our loyalty from that nation is the day we’ll go down on the wrong side of history.. I assure you. I hope, pray, & cling to the belief that America will never stray that far, but if we do… woe unto us! For more unbiased facts on the 6 Day War go to http://www.sixdaywar.org/war.asp

  • Posted by ah

    Jack – your answer is rather short-sighted and biased.

    1. We are not talking about 65 years ago, we are talking about the present

    2. You make the rather intentional mistake of finding one guilty individual (in this case Haj Amin El-Husseini, who I agree was disgusting and anti-Semitic), and somehow expand his actions and words to not only all Palestinian people, but also apparently to all Palestinian people from the last 65 odd years. That is ridiculous.

    3. By your logic, any people which had any sort of religious or political leader supporting or assisting the Nazis (no matter how little influence they actually had) should therefore have their lands occupied and their rights to self-determination and equalitarian human rights denied.

    In direct contrast to your ridiculous statement Jack, I would counter that you have probably never met a Palestinian, otherwise you would realize they don’t walk around wearing Nazi uniforms and blindly following an Imam from 65 years ago.

  • Posted by David

    Nelson Mandela supported the PLO and Arafat before the Oslo Accords. In honor of Nelson Mandela, Obama(who uses Nelson Mandela as his role model) should have our UN Ambassador vote yes to support their mutual cause of concern, the third world people on the west bank, who former President and Nobel Peace Prize recipient referred to in his Book, Apartheid, as living under apartheid. Nelson Mandela in his letter to New York Times writer, Tomas Friedman, referred to Israel in the most unkind of terms according to some Likud Party members. American Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Obama, in his 450 page book, Dreams of my Father, also expressed sympathy for the third world people(Palestinian) that live in such suffering on the west bank from the first world Zionist state. The EU supports the boycott of Israel, and it would not surprise me if Obama puts deeds to his words of sympathy for third world people. This is something to watch in the future. Netanyahu is suffering from dementia if he thinks that Obama will do him a favor on the Iranian situation.

  • Posted by green coffee Bean extract liquid

    Terrific work! This is the type of info that are meant to be shared across
    the net. Disgrace on Google for not positioning this post
    higher! Come on ovrr annd discuss with my site . Thank you

Post a Comment

CFR seeks to foster civil and informed discussion of foreign policy issues. Opinions expressed on CFR blogs are solely those of the author or commenter, not of CFR, which takes no institutional positions. All comments must abide by CFR's guidelines and will be moderated prior to posting.

* Required