Editorials

Blog by Shimon Samuels posted on The Times of Israel <http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/unesco-the-road-to-the-abyss>
3 May 2017

On Israel’s 69th Independence Day, the 58 member-states of the UNESCO Executive Board voted yet another pro-Palestinian resolution denying Israeli/Jewish ties to Jerusalem.

The resolution passed as expected with 22 votes ‘yes’ to 10 votes ‘no’ ( Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Paraguay, St.Kitts Nevis, Togo, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States) marking the disunity of the European Union and African,Caribbean and Latin American possibilities for breakthrough.

Following the vote,Germany exulted at recognition in the text of Jerusalem, Hebron and Bethlehem as holy for the three monotheistic religions. Argentina noted the political content that has its place elsewhere. Brazil concurred. The United States condemned deepening politicization that erodes UNESCO’s prestige. Sweden recognized efforts of Palestinian and Jordanian amendments adding that, as European unity was impossible we voted yes. The Israeli Ambassador, wrapped in an Israeli flag, exclaimed ‘here we are and here we Stay’. Jordan stressed that on the Holy sites of Jerusalem both Muslim and Christian sites are of highest priority. The Palestinians closed with this vote will not change our policy. We will continue to fight for Palestine and Jerusalem.

More worrying was the little-noticed vote for the follow up “cultural” resolution 31 on “Israeli military confrontations in the Gaza Strip…prevention of Palestinian school children and students from exercising fully their right to education…Israeli censorship of the Palestinian curricula of schools and universities in East Jerusalem…calling on UNESCO to preserve the human, social and cultural fabric of the occupied Syrian Golan…”

This resolution passed 18 ‘yes’ to 1 ‘no’ (the United States) with 39 abstentions

The next step in this exponential I.D. theft of the Jewish and Christian narratives will take place at the July UNESCO World Heritage Committee in Krakow, Poland where its 21 member-states will vote yet again on Jerusalem and possibly – on the Palestinian wish-list – Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The most dramatic events, however, will happen in November at the General Conference of all member-states. There the new Director-General will be elected – a hot favourite being the Minister of Culture of Qatar Likewise, the new Chairpersons of the General Conference and of the Executive Board will be appointed.The hot tickets – wait for it!

-For General Conference: Saudi Arabia

-For Executive Board: Iran (this is no nightmare… it is for real!)

At that moment, UNESCO will stand at the edge of the abyss. Will it take a giant step forward?

Op-Ed published in the Jerusalem Post, 28 December 2016: http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Obama-after-Obama-476600

26 Dec. 2016

President Barack Obama walks from the rostrum after speaking at the Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, April 21

Photo Reuters

 

Obama after Obama

By Shimon Samuels

The UN move may be seen as an indication to the career of “Obama after Obama.”

The UN Security Council resolution was hardly a surprise (see the December 1 Jerusalem Post oped by this author, “Last Night I had the Strangest Dream”).

The refusal to veto the resolution as the last gasp of the Obama regime was expected to take place between the November 8 election and the January 20 inauguration.

Little attention, however, is paid to Obama’s motive. Revenge against Netanyahu is inadequate. The move may be seen as an indication to the career of “Obama after Obama.”

A young, vigorous, wealthy and internationally connected ex-US president does not drive off into the sunset or play golf forever in Hawaii. His rental of a Washington DC suburban manor, rather than in his Chicago hometown, puts him geographically at the center of power.

The failure of Hillary Clinton renders him the unofficial “leader” of the opposition against incoming president Trump.

He is unlikely to dedicate himself to an ‘Obama Library’ or ‘Institute,’ write his memoirs, return to a Harvard professorship or be satisfied as a partner in a prominent law firm.

There is an effete and toothless organization of ‘has-beens,’ self-named “the Elders,” counting ex-US president Jimmy Carter, ex-UN secretary-general Koffi Annan, ex-Human Rights commissioner (and convener of the Durban antisemitic hatefest) Mary Robinson among others, which focuses principally on castigating Israel.

Obama’s leadership could lift this group out of oblivion, to create further mayhem. An indication came with Carter’s oped of last month in The New York Times, written very much in the language of the Security Council resolution.

Let us recall that – apart from the notorious French ‘comic’ Dieudonné – Obama is the only figure to bridge the Sunni-Shi’ite gap, achieved by his Iran nuclear deal. And like Dieudonné, he seems to have an obsessive- compulsive interest in the Jewish State.

To validate his premature Nobel Prize, Obama could seek backing for a formal Middle East role, such as coordinator of the Quartet (a UN, US, EU and Russian body long led ineffectively by Tony Blair). Such a candidacy may require the veto of Trump.

The UN Security Council resolution will be non-binding, but it becomes a point of reference.

In contradistinction to Resolutions 224 and 338 which called for direct negotiations, this resolution grants the Palestinians a free ride, without the need to negotiate its already mandated prior conditions on Israeli withdrawal.

This resolution could undermine the emerging marriage of convenience between Israel and principal Sunni Arab states. It will certainly encourage the anti-Israel boycott by the European Union, now euphemistically called “differentiation” (a hypocritical claim to differentiate between trade with Israel within its 1967 cease-fire lines and to label products – effectively boycotting imports – from beyond those lines).

It will harden, now in the name of the international community, the global assault of BDS squads and campus antisemitic campaigns, and attacks on Jews and Jewish institutions, especially in Europe. It will legitimize the delegitimization of the Jewish heritage, beginning with the Palestinian demands for Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls at the next UNESCO Executive Board and its World Heritage Committee.

Despite these somber scenarios, the big question remains: who will Obama be after Obama?