Foxman ‘Sad’ Over Obama’s ‘Vindictive Payback’ at UN

President Barack Obama was being vindictive in refusing to veto a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel, Abe Foxman, former National Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), charged on Sunday.

“I think it’s payback because it doesn’t accomplish anything else,” Foxman told Jewish Insider in a phone interview on Sunday. “It doesn’t bring peace closer, it brings it further. There is nothing productive about it. There is nothing constructive about it. So, at the end of the day, it’s vindictive payback.”

In a statement following the vote on Friday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the Obama administration of “colluding” behind the scenes at the UN to pass the anti-Israel resolution. “According to our information, we have no doubt the Obama administration initiated it, stood behind it, coordinated the wording and demanded it be passed,” Netanyahu said in remarks at the beginning of the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem. “We knew that going there would make negotiations harder and drive peace farther away. As I told John Kerry on Thursday, ‘Friends don’t take friends to the Security Council.'”

In a rather unified voice, major Jewish American organizations expressed outrage at Obama’s move, asserting that his legacy will be forever tarnished by his action against Israel.

Foxman said that he feels ‘sad’ over the issue. “I think what’s so sad about it, is that this is a President’s empty, vindictive gesture, which undermines any hope for a legacy of a man that seriously tried to bring the parties together for peace,” Foxman said regarding Obama. “He knows the UN. He knows why for 50 years the U.S. stood to defend Israel against the bias and bigotry. He knows what (outgoing UN Secretary General) Ban Ki-moon said last week that it is a biased organization. He knows that there were no peace negotiations without settlements before 1967. He knows about Gaza. He knows all these things and still instructed, in such a callous manner, not even to inform the Israelis before the vote how he will vote.”

“It really is sad,” he continued. “At the end of the day, I don’t think it’s going to mean much, but it does take away this image that America is Israel’s best friend, best protector, and best shield. That’s what has been destroyed.”

Foxman expressed hope that the United States will regain Israel’s trust in brokering the peace process once Israel feels that it is being shielded and protected at the UN by the incoming Trump administration. “In order to have a role in the Arab-Israel peace, the U.S. needs to have a trusting relationship with Israel, and it’s only the trust that Israel and the U.S. have with each other that could make it happen,” he emphasized. “If there is no trust there, nobody else can be a good or serious mediator.” 

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