Obama aide reveals U.S. was behind U.N. 2334

The Obama administration had control over the timing of the UN Security Council resolution (UNSC 2334) rollout. This was revealed on Thursday when an anonymous former Obama official told the New York Times that the White House wanted the resolution to wait until after the 2016 election, so as not to create political problems for Democrats.

“There is a reason the U.N. vote did not come up before the election in November,” the unidentified former official told the Times in an article set to appear in the paper’s weekend Magazine section. “Was it because you were going to lose voters to Donald Trump? No. It was because you were going to have skittish donors. That, and the fact that we didn’t want Clinton to face pressure to condemn the resolution or be damaged by having to defend it.”

This new information contradicts claims made by the Obama administration at the end of 2016 that the White House was caught by surprise when Egypt proposed the 2334 resolution. President Obama then instructed his U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power to abstain, an effective endorsement of the resolution.

According to a report in the Washington Post in December of that year, “The idea had been circulating at the [Security] Council for months, but the abrupt timing was a surprise.” On the day the resolution was announced, “amid his morning workout, an afternoon round of golf and a family dinner with friends, President Obama interrupted his Hawaii vacation to consult by phone with his top national security team in Washington,” the report said. “Obama was open to abstaining, he said on the call, provided the measure was ‘balanced’ in its censure of terrorism and Palestinian violence and there were no last-minute changes in the text. Skeptics, including Vice President Biden, warned of fierce backlash in Congress and in Israel itself.”

President Obama repeated that claim in remarks last year, telling a Jewish audience at the Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center in NYC that the decision to not veto the resolution came “towards the end of my term, when the Egyptians drafted a yet another declaration with respect to settlement construction.”

Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer contended that Israel had proof that the White House drove the resolution, and would “present this evidence to the new administration through the appropriate channels.”

At the time, White House advisor Ben Rhodes responded to Dermer’s claims in an interview with Jake Tapper on CNN. Rhodes stressed “with certainty” that the administration “did not draft the resolution and put this resolution forward. This was something the Palestinians and Egyptians were working on for some time now.”

In an email to Jewish Insider on Thursday afternoon, former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro said, “This is a garbage claim, made by someone who doesn’t know what they are talking about. I recommended we veto the resolution, and wish we had. But the idea that the United States controlled the timing, much less that it was determined by such political calculations, is simply BS.”

Shapiro added, “Here is a case where you shouldn’t trust anonymous sources.”

In the New York Times Magazine story published on Thursday, Rhodes revealed that the Obama administration felt their hands were tied on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. According to Rhodes, “the Washington view of Israel-Palestine is still shaped by the donor class.”

This post was updated

Subscribe now to
the Daily Kickoff

The politics and business news you need to stay up to date, delivered each morning in a must-read newsletter.