The Spectacle Blog

A Most Relunctant Veto

By on 2.18.11 | 5:07PM

This afternoon the UN Security Council voted on a Palestinian resolution declaring all Israeli settlement in the West Bank "illegal." The vote was 14-1; the US was the only no vote, and used the veto power to defeat the resolution. But this may have been the most overtly reluctant veto ever.

I noted on Wednesday that, at a time when undermining Israel could be especially dangerous, US Ambassador Susan Rice was pushing a "compromise" wherein the Security Council would issue a statement denouncing settlements without the word "illegal." The New York Times reports today that the US was still trying to push a deal along these lines yesterday; President Obama even called Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to press his case. After the vote, Rice gave a speech emphasizing that the US had attempted to broker a unanimous attack on Israel. It was, as John Podhoretz aptly puts it, "a truly foul speech."

The Emergency Committee for Israel has a good statement on the UN's unseriousness. But that's nothing new. What's most alarming is the unseriousness -- and recklessness -- of this administration's diplomacy.

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