Yesterday, in a bold show of solidarity, the United Nations overwhelmingly rejected the Trump administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The support for the resolution was overwhelming. The UN, by a 128-9 vote passed a resolution calling on countries to avoid moving their embassies to Jerusalem.
Among the countries that voted in favor of the resolution are many traditional U.S. allies, including the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, South Korea and France. The 9 countries that voted against the resolution included U.S. and Israel (of course), Guatemala, Honduras, Marshal Islands, Micronesia, Togo, Nauru and Palau. No disrespect to the countries, but I would challenge anyone to point these 7 countries on the map. I think many Americans heard the names of some of these countries for the first time.
Thirty-five countries abstained. These included our allies Canada and Australia.
If I was disappointed by President Trump’s recognition earlier, and published a post, the reaction to the resolution by U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, was even more disappointing.
The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out for attack in the General Assembly for the very act of exercising our right as a sovereign nation.
We will remember it when we are called upon to once again make the world’s largest contribution to the United Nations. And we will remember it when so many countries come calling on us, as they so often do, to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit.
This is downright intimidating and tantamount to bullying, essentially telling countries like Sri Lanka, Barbados and Sudan to be prepared for a payback.
So what happened to the “world opinion” and “the will of the civilized world” talk? When a U.N. resolution that we push and is voted by a large majority, we hail it as “the civilized world has spoken”. Didn’t we use these slogans to invade Iraq because the U.N. resolution had asked Iraq to move out of Kuwait in 1991 and when Saddam Hussein did not, we accused him of disrespecting the world opinion, and used the U.N. resolution as a cover to invade Iraq? We use similar tactics against North Korea.
Anytime a U.N. resolution is passed with this much support, we hail it, if it favors our wishes. Many times USA is the one behind the resolutions, pushing other countries to support them.
Now when the world gets united against Trump administration’s decision, we threaten them with paybacks? Is it not disrespecting the civilized world’s opinion anymore? What happened to “respecting the nations’ sovereignty” ?The vote should not come as a surprise because the world’s reaction to the announcement earlier this month was rather strong-mostly against the Trump’s decision.
After the initial announcement, the world reaction was decidedly one of anger and disappointment.
Trump’s move will “serve the extremist groups’ agenda” and drag the region into “an endless religious war,” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said in a speech on Palestinian TV.
French President Emmanuel Macron had stated on a visit to Algiers the decision “contravenes all rules of international law,”.
Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni tweeted that Jerusalem’s future should be defined within the framework of a peace process.
I cannot remain silent about my deep concern for the situation that has developed in recent days,” Francis said at his weekly general audience at the Vatican. “And at the same time, I wish to make a heartfelt appeal to ensure that everyone is committed to respecting the status quo of the city, in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations.
Federica Mogherini, vice president of the European Commission, also said the EU “expresses serious concern”.”The aspirations of both parties must be fulfilled, and a way must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of both states.”
The reactions from Jewish groups in the USA was mixed.
At a personal level, some of my Rabbi friends have expressed their concerns and disappointment.
American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a pro-Israel lobbying group welcomed the decision. The Reform Jewish Movement and the J Street denounced the move.
The interfaith work to build bridges must continue:
At a local/national level, the decision hampers the work of the interfaith workers like myself. The peacemakers have a steep hill to climb now. It makes the prospects of a peace process and the role of the United States as a mediator much less likely. We are no longer viewed as a neutral, fair party. I would argue that it makes peace for Israel more remote. As I said on my prior post on Jerusalem, who needs enemies when you have friends like Trump?
Our work as interfaith/peace builders is cut out for us, and we must continue to strive towards building bridges, and not let this decision affect our efforts to bring the faith communities, specially the Jews and Muslims, closer together. We may not change the world, but let’s work within our own communities to ensure that hope, love and peace will prevail over hate, divisions and politics of fear and bullying.