Samantha Power Downgrades the U.S.-Israel Alliance

April 23, 2015 | Shoshana Bryen
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Testifying to Congress last week, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power refused to guarantee that the U.S. will oppose resolutions on Palestinian statehood at the UN. She did, however, reassure her audience that “we have a record of standing when it matters with Israel.” When, wonders Shoshana Bryen, does “it matter”?

Power’s testimony may have completed the transition of the U.S. from Israel’s ally in its quest for legitimacy and security in the historic homeland of the Jewish people, to an arbiter between Israel and those who seek to erase it. Power appears also to have completed the transition of Israel’s status—in the eyes of the U.S. government—as the party whose legitimacy and permanence in the Middle East remains challenged by all but Egypt and Jordan, to the country that bears an obligation to “fix” the problems that animate its enemies.

The “peace process,” first codified in the Oslo Accords, commits Israel and the Palestinians to resolve differences bilaterally, not through the dictates of a third party or organization. No one thought it would be easy, but successive U.S. administrations ensured that the UN—which Israel finds hopelessly biased against its interests—would not have veto power or enforcement power. Now it may. Power and the U.S. have thrown in the towel on an issue that “matters” to Israel.

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