A great deal has been spoken and written over the years on the
subject of land ownership in Israel—or, before 1948, Palestine.
Arab propaganda, in particular, has been at pains to convince the
world, with the aid of copious statistics, that the Arabs "own"
Palestine, morally and legally, and that whatever Jewish land
ownership there may be is negligable. From this conclusions have
been drawn (or implied) with regard to the sovereign rights of
the State of Israel and the problem of the Arab refugees.
The Arab case against Israel, in the matter of Jewish land
purchases, rests mainly on two claims: (1) that the Palestinian
Arab farmer was peacefully and contentedly working his land in
the latter part of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th
when along came the European Jewish immigrant, drove him off
his land, disrupted the normal development of the country and
created a vast class of landless, dispossessed Arabs; (2) that a small
Jewish minority, owning an even smaller proportion of Palestinian
lands (5 per cent as against the Arabs' 95 per cent), illegally made
itself master of Palestine in 1948.
Our purpose in this pamphlet is to set the record straight by
marshalling the facts and figures pertaining to this very complex
subject, on the basis of the most reliable and authoritative information
available, and to trace the history of modern Jewish resettlement
purely from the point of view of the sale and purchase of land.
The U.N. has demonstrated shocking disrespect for its own charter and contempt for the main reason why it was established: to save future generations from the violence of war and to bring peace and security to the world. The organization, which was established during World War II "to save humanity from hell," as its second secretary-general, Dag Hammarskjold, put it, has made biased resolutions and prevented other resolutions from passing out of cowardice. This can be seen in the many international crises, regional conflicts, civil wars and the enormous number of victims. What particularly stands out is the biggest number of refugees since World War II -- some 60 million refugees and displaced persons are now seeking a safe haven.
I accuse the Security Council, one of the U.N.'s six main branches, for being too ineffectual to impose peace or security in the world, as it is entrusted to do. It isn't scrambling to prevent the bloodshed of the civil war in Yemen, is uninterested in the national aspirations of the Kurds, and hasn't lifted a finger to save the residents of Darfur from chemical weapons. Faced with the Islamic State, it's like a reed in the wind, and is helpless to do anything about the millions of refugees flooding into Europe.
Throughout the five-plus years of the Syrian civil war -- during which almost 500,000 people have been killed, about 2 million wounded and some 6 million turned into refugees (according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights) -- the Security Council hasn't passed a single operative resolution to check the killing of civilians or the suffering of the besieged residents of the cities under attack. The council's awe of Russia, which represented Iran and Syria while thwarting every attempt to promote a diplomatic solution or even a cease-fire, overcame the sanctity of life.
I accuse the U.N. organization of giving legitimacy to the new anti-Semitism, which is mainly characterized by accusing Israel of murdering the Palestinian people, while comparing the Palestinians' situation to that of Jews during the Holocaust, and by supporting the dehumanization of Israel as the state of the Jews and opposition to Zionism, and in effect to the very existence of the state of Israel.
A small sampling of the twisted picture: the bad resolution equating Zionism with racism that remained in effect from 1975 until 1991; the eight condemnations issued against Israel in 2006, while dictatorships that were killing their own citizens weren't condemned more than once a year for the entire course of its existence; the U.N. summits on racism in 2001 (Durban) and in 2009 (Geneva), which moved from a discussion of racism in the world to a show of incitement and anti-Semitism against Israel; the delusional agreement of 2014, in which the U.N. General Assembly passed 24 resolutions containing various condemnations -- 20 (83%) of which were directed against Israel; and the fact that at the start of 2016, four months into the most recent wave of terrorism, the Security Council passed 12 resolutions against terrorism in the world and zero resolutions against Palestinian terrorism in Israel.
I accuse the U.N. organization of repeatedly presenting Israel as a recalcitrant state that adheres to a racist principle of a national state, discriminating against it and keeping it out of the principle explicitly declared in its charter to "promote and encourage respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion."
I accuse the U.N. organization of wasting precious time passing baseless condemnations of Israel, the only liberal democracy in the Middle East, at the expense of properly handling all the other serious problems on the face of the earth.
I accuse the Human Rights Council, which every year issues twice as many condemnations of Israel as it does for the entire rest of the nations of the world together, but does not find the time to address, rape, murder and sex trafficking of women; does not take an interest in the homosexuals hanged publicly in Iran; and ignores the hundreds of thousands of children who are dying of hunger under the brutal oppressive regime in North Korea.
I hold the U.N. organization responsible for abandoning the world and for the current global chaos. Its obsessive focus on Israel allows the forces of evil to carry out a Holocaust on the rest of humanity.
The resolution dangerously disincentivizes Palestinians to come to the negotiating table. Instead, Resolution 2334 will for the foreseeable future encourage them to await being handed the same or more by international fiat. This will feed into the Palestinian strategy of preferring to deal with international institutions over bilateral talks with Israel. Contrary to its stated objective, therefore, the resolution will only push negotiations further away.
In this regard, we recall that in 2011, your predecessor Susan Rice vetoed a similar resolution on the grounds that it risked “hardening the positions of both sides,” and “could encourage the parties to stay out of negotiations.” She said it was “unwise for this Council to attempt to resolve the core issues that divide Israelis and Palestinians.”
Though your speech claims that circumstances have now changed, many will see the only meaningful difference as the fact that the current transition period allows a president to make unpopular decisions at no political cost.
2. Resolution Fuels Palestinian Targeting of Israelis with BDS & International Prosecutions
Secretary of State John Kerry pledged this month to oppose any “biased, unfair resolution calculated to delegitimize Israel.” And though he likewise said on Friday after the vote that he is proud of “defending Israel against any efforts to undermine its security or legitimacy in international fora,” and “steadfastly opposing boycotts, divestment campaigns and sanctions targeting the State of Israel,” the fact is that these are precisely the efforts empowered by Resolution 2334.
Friday’s text not only provides the first Security Council endorsement of the scandalous 2004 ICJ advisory opinion, which denied Israel’s right to defend itself from Gaza rockets, but it implicitly encourages the International Criminal Court (ICC) to move forward in its preliminary examination of whether Israeli officials have engaged in the “war crime” of settlement building, and provides the same impetus to prosecutions in national courts that claim universal jurisdiction. If Tzipi Livni was already being served with UK arrest warrants before, Resolution 2334 will only aggravate anti-Israel lawfare. The U.S. should never have lent its hand to a campaign designed to delegitimize Israeli civil and military leaders as criminals.
Moreover, the resolution’s appeal to all states to take action, in paragraph 5, is a clear call to escalate campaigns seeking to boycott Israeli products, companies and citizens. Certainly the UN Human Rights Council will feel empowered to continue preparing its blacklist of Israeli companies that do business over the green line, due in March. Meanwhile, the resolution’s mandated reports by the Secretary-General every three months will ensure constant activity.
3. Contrary to U.S. Claims, Resolution Fails to Condemn Palestinian Incitement
You said after the vote that the U.S. “would not have let this resolution pass had it not also addressed counterproductive actions by the Palestinians such as terrorism and incitement to violence.” Yet that is exactly what happened: the resolution that was adopted mentions terrorism and incitement only in the abstract; nowhere are these crimes attributed to Palestinians. Whereas Israel is named and shamed throughout the text, the Palestinians get a free pass. The U.S. reversed decades of past practice by allowing the adoption of such an unbalanced text.
The failure of this resolution to truly confront Palestinian incitement is not inconsistent with your failure to speak out against the routine incitement to antisemitism and terrorism by Palestinian school principals and teachers at UNRWA, to which your Administration gave $380 million last year. We sent you petition after petition, supported by thousands worldwide, yet your only statements on UNRWA have been to defend or promote the organization, not to hold it accountable. I hope you will change your approach when we soon reveal the latest trove of UNRWA’s online incitement.
4. Blames Israel as “Major Obstacle” to Peace, Yet Palestinians Evade Responsibility
Despite the fact that the Palestinians refuse to negotiate without preconditions, refused to negotiate even during Israel’s 2009-2010 settlement freeze, rejected the Kerry framework principles, and are inciting to terrorism at the highest levels, they are spared in the resolution from any blame. Instead, the resolution accuses Israel alone of creating, with the settlements, “a major obstacle” to just, lasting and comprehensive peace.
5. Failure to Distinguish Settlements Loses Israeli Mainstream
By ignoring the 2000 Clinton Parameters, the Obama Administration unwisely managed to alienate itself from the vast majority of the Israeli population and political parties, who regard the Jewish Quarter, the Western Wall, and Jewish neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem such as Ramot and Gilo as an integral part of Israel—all of which are defined in the resolution as “occupied Palestinian territory”—and likewise, the Israeli Jewish communities in the large settlement blocs such as Gush Etzion have for years been considered part of the Israeli consensus. The U.S. failure to distinguish between these and isolated, remote settlements is what doomed the U.N. resolution to complete rejection by Israeli society as a whole.
The resolution is offensive to Jews worldwide by absurdly defining the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, and the holiest Jewish sites of the Temple Mount and Western Wall, as “occupied Palestinian territory.” In describing your commitment to Israel as both personal and profound, you have on several occasions noted before Jewish and Israeli audiences that your son is a descendant, from his father’s side, of Rabbi Elijah, the 18th-century Lithuanian Jewish sage known as the Vilna Gaon, considered the greatest Talmudic scholar of his time.
Given that the Gaon’s vision of return to the Land of Israel was a decisive factor in the rebuilding of the Jewish Quarter, by inspiring hundreds of his disciples to immigrate to Jerusalem in the early 19th century, and given that we are about to mark the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, which recognized the ancient, indigenous Jewish rights to the Holy Land—formalized internationally in the League of Nations Mandate on Palestine, which stated that the British Administration “shall encourage… close settlement by Jews, on the land”—I hope you will reconsider the logic of now criminalizing Jewish residents of the Jewish Quarter.
7. Seeks to Relitigate & Rewrite Cornerstone Resolution 242
By injecting new language enshrining “the 4 June 1967 lines,” the resolution seeks to relitigate and rewrite U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 of November 1967, the cornerstone of Arab-Israeli peace negotiations over the past half-century—endorsed by the Palestinians at Oslo—which calls for the right of every state to live in peace within “secure and recognized boundaries” and for Israel to withdraw “from territories occupied.”
Your predecessor Arthur Goldberg, former Supreme Court Justice and U.S. ambassador to the U.N. when 242 was enacted, made clear that the text’s “notable omissions in language” on withdrawal are the words “the,” “all,” and the “June 5, 1967, lines.” The choice of language was clear, he explained: “there is lacking a declaration requiring Israel to withdraw from the (or all the) territories occupied by it on and after June 5, 1967.”
Instead, the resolution “stipulates withdrawal from occupied territories without defining the extent of withdrawal.” And it “can be inferred from the incorporation of the words secure and recognized boundaries that the territorial adjustments to be made by the parties in their peace settlements could encompass less than a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from occupied territories.” Goldberg likewise told King Hussein in the lead-up to 242 that there was a “need for some territorial adjustment.”
8. Explanation of Vote Misstates Longstanding U.S. Policy
Your speech on Friday opened with a 1982 quote from President Ronald Reagan opposing settlements, and you argued that “our vote today is fully in line with the bipartisan history” of how American presidents have approached the issue. In fact, your speech was selective, excluding material statements by U.S. leaders rejecting the notion of return to the 1949 armistice lines, what Israeli statesman Abba Eban once called “Auschwitz borders.”
For example, you failed to quote the rest of President Reagan’s statement, in which he said: “I have personally followed and supported Israel’s heroic struggle for survival, ever since the founding of the State of Israel 34 years ago. In the pre-1967 borders Israel was barely 10 miles wide at its narrowest point. The bulk of Israel’s population lived within artillery range of hostile Arab armies. I am not about to ask Israel to live that way again.”
Nor did you quote President Lyndon Johnson who said: “We are not the ones to say where other nations should draw lines between them that will assure each the greatest security. It is clear, however, that a return to the situation of June 4, 1967, will not bring peace. There must be secure, and there must be recognized, borders.”
Likewise, you omitted Secretary of State Schultz’s 1988 statement: “The territorial issue needs to be addressed realistically. Israel will never negotiate from or return to the lines of partition or to the 1967 borders.”
The Clinton parameters of December 2000, which contemplates Israeli annexation of large settlement blocs, are also ignored by the resolution.
9. U.S. Position Reneges on Commitments in 2004 Bush-Sharon Letters
By allowing the resolution’s new language enshrining “the 4 June 1967 lines,” which are the 1949 armistice lines, the U.S. position reneges on the 2004 exchange of letters negotiated between Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and President George W. Bush. The Bush letter stated: “In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion.”
Prime Minister Sharon relied on the Bush commitments as part of negotiated package deal, being the consideration Israel received and relied upon in exchange for its total withdrawal from Gaza. When the U.S. ignores written commitments to allies, its international credibility is dangerously diminished. Moreover, the Bush letter severely undermines your claim that the U.S. vote on Friday was “fully in line” with prior history.
10. Resolution Lacks Legitimacy in U.S. Opinion
The resolution has been firmly rejected by the broad mainstream of American society, including by congressional leaders of President Obama’s own party:
Incoming Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) called the U.S. vote “frustrating, disappointing and confounding” and said it will move the Middle East farther from peace.\
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) was “deeply disappointed” that the administration “set aside longstanding U.S. policy to allow such a one-sided resolution to pass.”
The U.S. abstention on “such a flagrantly one-sided resolution,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Vt.), “is unconscionable.”
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) said he was “dismayed that the Administration departed from decades of U.S. policy by not vetoing the U.N. resolution.”
Even President Obama’s former Special Envoy for Middle East Peace opposed the decision. “President Obama would have been wise to veto this resolution,” said George Mitchell, a former Senate majority leader, “because of the timing and the circumstance that it leads to with respect to trying to get the parties together.”
The Washington Post called the U.S. decision a “dangerous parting shot at Israel,” likely to do more harm than good.
11. Reverses Decades of U.S. Practice
There has not been a resolution like this in a generation, not since the Carter years in 1979 and 1980, and even those resolutions did not take place during a time of extreme anti-Israeli BDS campaigns and in the context of global anti-Israeli lawfare prosecutions sought in the ICC and elsewhere. This reverses decades of practice by both Democratic and Republican presidents. Moreover, unlike with the few other U.S-backed resolutions in history that criticized Israel from time to time, the nature of the coordination and the careful timing of this maneuver against a close ally make it seem particularly deliberate and hostile.
12. Joining with Venezuela & Malaysia to Condemn Israel
Whom you align with at the U.N. matters. I cannot think of another time in modern history when the U.S. endorsed a U.N. Security Council resolution co-sponsored by countries such as Venezuela, whose Maduro regime has thrown its opposition leaders in jail while causing mass starvation, and Malaysia, a hotbed of antisemitism.
Speaking of Venezuela, whose political prisoners we have championed, I have to note that while Secretary Kerry said repeatedly yesterday that the U.S. “cannot, in good conscience, do nothing, and say nothing” in regard to Israeli settlements, your Administration has said nothing every year when we have appealed to you to oppose the election of tyrannies such as Venezuela to the U.N. Human Rights Council. You said nothing to stop the Maduro regime being elected last year; you said nothing to stop Saudi Arabia, China, and Cuba from getting elected this year; and you said nothing to stop Russia getting elected in 2013. Your Administration’s policy of speaking out when good conscience requires it ought to be less selective.
I began the letter, dated December 29, as follows:
Dear Ambassador Power,
I write in response to your abstention on Friday which allowed a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israel, and in response to the substantial explanation of vote that you delivered. With even further U.N. measures still possible before President Obama leaves office on January 20th, I urge you and the Administration—where you play an influential role as a member of the President’s Cabinet, and as one of President Obama’s most trusted advisors—to reconsider your approach.
Your speech on Friday had much to applaud. As you have vigorously done for three years, your remarks exposed in compelling detail the U.N. double standard applied to the Jewish state, which, you rightly said, “not only hurts Israel, it undermines the legitimacy of the United Nations itself.”
As you noted last year on the 40th anniversary of the infamous Zionism is Racism resolution, at the U.N. “rarely a day goes by without some effort to delegitimize Israel.” On that occasion, you called for everyone to “relentlessly fight back” against this “ignorance and hatred.”
Your vote on Friday, however, makes a dramatic break with all of this. While it is perfectly legitimate to disagree with Israel about settlements, allowing Resolution 2334 to pass was morally wrong and strategically damaging. As set forth below, we believe the U.S. decision to acquiesce in the adoption of this lopsided resolution reverses decades of past practice, sets back the cause of peace, and harms the interests of Israelis, Palestinians, and Americans.
Leader’s of Israel’s Left-Wing Opposition Reject U.N. Resolution
Immediate and compelling evidence demonstrates that the Administration has failed to achieve its objective, which you articulated as promoting the two-state solution.
Secretary Kerry’s speech yesterday failed to acknowledge the telling fact that Israel’s mainstream society, including leading supporters of the two-state solution, have sharply rejected the U.N. resolution, and criticized the U.S. role in its advancement and adoption.
Isaac Herzog, leader of the opposition and chairman of the Labor Party—whom you recently recognized for being “so principled on behalf of peace”—called for Resolution 2334 to be annulled, saying it caused “severe damage.”
Similarly, his colleague, former foreign minister Tzipi Livni, who led efforts to achieve a two-state solution at the Annapolis Conference, and who welcomed the 2008 Security Council resolution endorsing that summit, said by contrast that Friday’s U.S.-backed resolution “harms the interests of Israel,” “harms Jerusalem,” and threatens to haul Israeli officers to the International Criminal Court.
Yair Lapid, chair of the Yesh Atid opposition party, who has endorsed the Saudi-Arab Peace Initiative as a basis for peace talks, and who opposes the proposed Knesset bill to legalize outposts which you cited on Friday, called the U.N. resolution “dangerous”, “unfair, and “an act of hypocrisy.”
Ehud Barak, who as prime minister went to Camp David in 2000 and extended an unprecedented and far-reaching peace offer to the Palestinians, called this resolution a “humiliating blow to Israel.”
Amos Yadlin, head of Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies, the country’s most influential think tank, and another prominent supporter of the two-state solution, said that the resolution was “extremely problematic for Israel and the peace process alike,” and he accused President Obama of committing “a severe anti-Israeli move” which “harmed the United States’ staunchest ally in the Middle East.”
To be sure, all of these left-leaning figures faulted or admonished Prime Minister Netanyahu for failing to head off the blow. Yet neither President Obama, Secretary Kerry or anyone else in your Administration has yet addressed the astonishing fact that their closest Israeli political allies and interlocutors in promoting the peace process have uniformly denounced an action which you claim will advance their position.
Hamas & Islamic Jihad Terrorists Cheer Resolution: “Now Israel Can Be Isolated, Boycotted, Prosecuted”
By contrast, are you not troubled that among the first to endorse the resolution were the terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad? “Hamas commends the countries that voiced their opposition to the Israeli occupation’s aggressive settlement policy aimed against the Palestinian people,” said Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum. Hamas praised “the important about-face in the international position in favor of the Palestinian people.” Iran-backed Islamic Jihad welcomed the U.S.-backed resolution, saying, “It’s plain to see the world opinion is against Israel and its policies,” and “now Israel can be isolated and boycotted, as well as prosecuted in the international arena for all its crimes.”
I concluded the letter as follows:
In conclusion, I ask you to consider what one of your predecessors and role models, the late great Daniel Patrick Moynihan, might have thought about what the U.S. did on Friday.
You cited Moynihan during your confirmation hearing as an iconic American who “stood up for what was right.” And as an example of how to bring the U.N. to live up to its ideals, you have invoked the moral clarity that Moynihan eloquently expressed in his formidable speeches as U.S. ambassador to the U.N. in 1975.
We certainly know what Moynihan thought about the Carter Administration’s similar votes against Israel in 1979 and 1980. In his iconic 1981 Commentary essay, “Joining the Jackals,” Moynihan diagnosed the confused ideas which led U.S. delegates and officials to abandon Israel to what the Washington Post editorial board had identified as the pack at the U.N. which hounds Israel shamelessly. Carter, the Post had said, had decided to “join the jackals.”
I believe Moynihan’s observations of 36 years ago are no less apt to the resolution which you just allowed last week:
“[F]or the United States to abstain on a Security Council resolution concerning Israel is the equivalent of acquiescing.”
“As a direct result of American policy, the Security Council was allowed to degenerate to the condition of the General Assembly.”
On a 1979 resolution which used the language “Arab territories… including Jerusalem,” Moynihan said, “Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. How could its capital be in the territory of others?”
Invoking against Israel the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention on the Protection of Civilians in Time of War, one of a series of treaties designed to codify the behavior of Nazi Germany and make such behavior criminal under international law, “played perfectly into the Soviet propaganda position that ‘Zionism is present-day fascism.” Needless to say, Friday’s Resolution 2334 invokes the same convention and uses language meant to describe Israel’s building of homes in the West Bank, or Judea and Samaria as the U.N. 1947 partition plan called the areas, as war crimes.
Were Moynihan alive today, do you have any doubt that he would have said that on Friday the U.S.—after 36 years—once again joined the jackals?
What we don’t know yet is the degree to which the U.S., directly or indirectly, may have actually orchestrated the maneuver. If that proves to be the case—and based on my knowledge and experience of U.N. diplomacy your Mission had to have played a key role in influencing the language as well as the timing of the resolution—would not Moynihan say that the U.S. this time didn’t just join the jackals, but became leader of the pack?
Thank you for your consideration.
Hillel C. Neuer Executive Director UN Watch Geneva, Switzerland
Will Obama betray Israel? By Isi Leibler Throughout his eight years in the White House, U.S. President Barak Obama has insisted that he "has Israel's back." The reality is that his appalling foreign policy has been geared toward the creation of "daylight" between the U.S. and Israel. To this end, Obama reneged on the long-standing bipartisan policy that the U.S. would never be a party to forcing Israel into reverting to the 1949 armistice lines. That policy was reflected in the carefully drafted U.N. Security Council Resolution 242, unanimously adopted on Nov. 22, 1967, which intimated that Israel would never be expected to revert to indefensible borders. The armistice lines imposed at the end of the War of Independence were never considered formal borders. They left Israel only 9 miles wide at its narrowest point and were described by then-Foreign Minister Abba Eban as the "Auschwitz borders." In explaining the language of U.N. Resolution 242, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Arthur Goldberg was specific. To achieve "secure and recognized boundaries" there would be a necessity for both parties to make "territorial adjustments in their peace settlement, encompassing less than a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from the occupied territories, inasmuch as Israel's prior frontiers had proved to be notably insecure." It was also clearly understood that withdrawals would only take place in the context of an overall peace settlement. In September 1968, President Lyndon Johnson stated that "it is clear … that a return to the situation of June 4, 1967, will not bring peace. There must be secure and there must be recognized borders." President Ronald Reagan in September 1982 stated, "In the pre-1967 borders, Israel was barely 10 miles wide at its narrowest point. The bulk of Israel's population lived within artillery range of hostile armies. I am not about to ask Israel to live that way again." In September 1988, Secretary of State George Shultz declared, "Israel will never negotiate from, or return to, the lines of partition or to the 1967 borders." In January 2001, President Bill Clinton, in his final attempt to promote a solution, continued to emphasize the importance to Israel of "secure and recognized boundaries." Even the Palestinians who initially bitterly opposed Resolution 242 ultimately accepted it when the PLO signed the Declaration of Principles with Israel in September 1993. In an April 14, 2004, letter to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon responding to Israel's announcement of a unilateral Gaza withdrawal, U.S. President George W. Bush wrote that "the United States reiterates its steadfast commitment to Israel's security, including secure, defensible borders." More explicitly, Bush stated that "in light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli population centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion. It is realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities." The U.S. Congress endorsed the letter in joint resolutions by the Senate (95-3) and the House (407-9). Sharon regarded these Bush commitments as a negotiated deal based on his total withdrawal from Gaza. He considered this deal to be his most important diplomatic achievement and used it vigorously in an attempt to justify what subsequently proved to be the disastrous withdrawal from Gaza. As late as November 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was a major critic of Israel within the Obama administration, still acknowledged the goal of "a Jewish state with secure and recognized borders that reflects subsequent developments and meets Israeli security requirements." On May 19, 2011, in a shameful humiliation, without any prior notice, just hours before meeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Obama stunned his guest by radically deviating from and reneging on this long-standing bipartisan U.S. policy. He did so when it was clear that the Palestinian Authority was totally inflexible and the entire region was being engulfed by a barbaric civil war. Obama chose that time to state that "the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states." If adopted, that would effectively impose the indefensible 1949 armistice lines as the benchmark for opening future negotiations, with any variation subject to Palestinian consent. Given the consistent Palestinian track record of refusing to make any concessions, the concept of "mutually agreed swaps" is pure fantasy. The fallback would be imposing the 1967 borders which would entail forfeiting secure borders and ceding the major settlement blocs including the Jewish neighborhoods of east Jerusalem, something no Israeli government could contemplate. Netanyahu unquestionably represented the Israeli consensus when he firmly rejected these proposals, which are now being vigorously pursued by the Europeans, led by France. Until now, Obama's statements about 1967 borders were often played down by many as merely diplomatic postures to humiliate Netanyahu. But one should not underestimate Obama's determination to punish Israel before he retires. To her credit, presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton was unequivocal in her meeting with Netanyahu on Sept. 26, stressing "her opposition to any attempt by outside parties to impose a solution … including by the U.N. Security Council." But the vibes from the Obama administration and State Department are ominous. While thousands of Arabs are being massacred almost daily in the region, the State Department focuses its energy on statements condemning the Israeli construction of 30 houses replacing homes to be demolished within the boundaries of an existing settlement. This obviously encourages the Europeans, especially the French, to intensify their anti-Israeli policy at the U.N. Security Council. There is a growing fear that despite U.S. public opinion, the unequivocal support of Congress and the stated policy of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, Obama's obsession to distance the U.S. diplomatically from Israel could lead him to forgo employing the U.S. veto in the Security Council, or worse, that he himself would endorse a resolution that could pave the way for global sanctions against Israel. The long-term damage to Israel of such a Security Council resolution, allowed or endorsed by the U.S., must not be underestimated. Those American Jewish leaders who can have some impact should be actively agitating and creating an atmosphere to ensure Obama realizes that by pursuing his anti-Israeli agenda, he is acting against the will of the nation. To the extent that they still have any relevance, Jewish leaders should speak out before it is too late. In particular, pro-Israeli liberals such as Alan Dershowitz and Haim Saban have an obligation to act. After having no qualms condemning the Republicans for not supporting a two-state solution, if the Anti-Defamation League wishes to retain any integrity, its CEO should be appealing to his former boss, Obama, not to betray Israel. In urging restraint, it should be stressed that for a lame-duck president in his remaining days in office to reverse U.S. policy in this manner would make a mockery of democratic procedures. It would be contrary to American public opinion, in direct breach of a bipartisan resolution of Congress, and in conflict with the policy enunciated by both presidential candidates, particularly Hillary Clinton, who explicitly committed herself to opposing U.N. intervention.