Friday, September 24, 2010

Israeli UN Delegation Boycotts Obama's UN Speech, Then Lies About It

Chutzpah and ingratitude don't have overlapping definitions, but the Israeli delegation at the UN came close yesterday in their explanation of why they failed to be at President Obama's UN speech, in which he dared include a long set of remarks that appear, by and large, to seek justice for Palestinians in the ongoing talks on ending the 63-year long conflict:

Amidst this upheaval, we have been persistent in our pursuit of peace. Last year, I pledged my best efforts to support the goal of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security, as part of a comprehensive peace between Israel and all of its neighbors. We have travelled a winding road over the last twelve months, with few peaks and many valleys. But this month, I am pleased that we have pursued direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians in Washington, Sharm el-Sheikh and Jerusalem.

Now, many are pessimistic about this process. The cynics say that Israelis and Palestinians are too distrustful of each other, and too divided internally, to forge lasting peace. Rejectionists on both sides will try to disrupt the process, with bitter words and with bombs. Some say that the gaps between the parties are too big; the potential for talks to break down is too great; and that after decades of failure, peace is simply not possible.

But consider the alternative. If an agreement is not reached, Palestinians will never know the pride and dignity that comes with their own state. Israelis will never know the certainty and security that comes with sovereign and stable neighbors who are committed to co-existence. The hard realities of demography will take hold. More blood will be shed. This Holy Land will remain a symbol of our differences, instead of our common humanity.

I refuse to accept that future. We all have a choice to make. And each of us must choose the path of peace. That responsibility begins with the parties themselves, who must answer the call of history. Earlier this month, at the White House, I was struck by the words of both the Israeli and Palestinian leaders. Prime Minister Netanyahu said, "I came here today to find an historic compromise that will enable both people to live in peace, security, and dignity." President Abbas said, "We will spare no effort and we will work diligently and tirelessly to ensure these negotiations achieve their cause."

These words must be followed by action, and I believe that both leaders have the courage to do so. But the road that they have to travel is difficult, which is why I call upon Israelis and Palestinians - and the world - to rally behind the goal that these leaders share. We know there will be tests along the way, and that one is fast approaching. Israel's settlement moratorium has made a difference on the ground, and improved the atmosphere for talks. Our position on this issue is well known. We believe that the moratorium should be extended. We also believe that talks should press on until completed. Now is the time for the parties to help each other overcome this obstacle. Now is the time to build the trust - and provide the time - for substantial progress to be made. Now is the time for this opportunity to be seized, so that it doesn't slip away.

Peace must be made by Israelis and Palestinians, but each of us has a responsibility to do our part as well. Those of us who are friends of Israel must understand that true security for the Jewish state requires an independent Palestine - one that allows the Palestinian people to live with dignity and opportunity. And those of us who are friends of the Palestinians must understand that the rights of the Palestinian people will be won only through peaceful means - including genuine reconciliation with a secure Israel.

Many in this hall count themselves as friends of the Palestinians. But these pledges must now be supported by deeds. Those who have signed on to the Arab Peace Initiative should seize this opportunity to make it real by taking tangible steps toward the normalization that it promises Israel. Those who speak out for Palestinian self-government should help the Palestinian Authority politically and financially, and - in so doing - help the Palestinians build the institutions of their state. And those who long to see an independent Palestine rise must stop trying to tear Israel down.

After thousands of years, Jews and Arabs are not strangers in a strange land. And after sixty years in the community of nations, Israel's existence must not be a subject for debate. Israel is a sovereign state, and the historic homeland of the Jewish people. It should be clear to all that efforts to chip away at Israel's legitimacy will only be met by the unshakeable opposition of the United States. And efforts to threaten or kill Israelis will do nothing to help the Palestinian people - the slaughter of innocent Israelis is not resistance, it is injustice. Make no mistake: the courage of a man like President Abbas - who stands up for his people in front of the world - is far greater than those who fire rockets at innocent women and children.

The conflict between Israelis and Arabs is as old as this institution. And we can come back here, next year, as we have for the last sixty, and make long speeches about it. We can read familiar lists of grievances. We can table the same resolutions. We can further empower the forces of rejectionism and hate. We can waste more time by carrying forward an argument that will not help a single Israeli or Palestinian child achieve a better life. We can do that.

Or, we can say that this time will be different - that this time we will not let terror, or turbulence, or posturing, or petty politics stand in the way. This time, we will think not of ourselves, but of the young girl in Gaza who wants to have no ceiling on her dreams, or the young boy in Sderot who wants to sleep without the nightmare of rocket fire. This time, we should draw upon the teachings of tolerance that lie at the heart of three great religions that see Jerusalem's soil as sacred. This time we should reach for what's best within ourselves. If we do, when we come back here next year, we can have an agreement that will lead to a new member of the United Nations - an independent, sovereign state of Palestine, living in peace with Israel.

CNN, seeking clarification on the delegation's absence, got this:

Israel says its U.N. delegation was not able to attend the U.N. General Assembly session on Thursday because of the observance of Sukkot, a Jewish holiday.

"Due to the overwhelming number of calls and e-mails that we are receiving, even though it is the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, we feel that it is necessary to release the following statement," the Israeli consulate in New York said.

The delegation from Israel was reported by CNN, the Gateway Pundit and others of "boycotting" the speech.

Jason Ditz, writing at, comments on the official Israeli explanation:

Officially the Israeli government denies that this was an organized boycott and insists the absence of their delegation was planned well in advance, and was related to the relatively minor Jewish holiday of Sukkot. The weeklong holiday does not appear to have traditionally meant Israeli officially snubbing major international events, however.

Moreover President Obama’s speech sparked no small level of outrage among top Israeli officials, and a number of Israel’s ruling coalition MPs made public comments in condemnation of the president and the speech late last night. This is only adding fuel to the belief by many that the snub was about the speech and not the holiday.

AIPAC spokesmen angrily denied this belief, however, and insisted that it was a “malicious” lie against Israel. The empty chairs seem to remain an issue for many, however.

Any of us who were watching news items Thursday on this, and on reactions to the September 22nd release of the UN Human Rights Council's "Report of the international fact-finding mission to investigate violations of international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law, resulting from the Israeli attacks on the flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian assistance," (PDF) observed a very busy Israeli UN delegation all day long. So the concern about the delegation's absence is in no way a "malicious lie against Israel."

Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, was launching "A PR war on the UN," all day long, holiday or not:

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has ordered the establishment of a "command post" in New York in an effort to counter a damning United Nations report on Israel's flotilla raid which left nine people dead.

The report, drafted by the UN Human Rights Council, charged that IDF soldiers executed Turkish activists on board a Gaza-bound vessel by firing at them from close range.

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, who is currently in New York, set up the command post along with Ambassador to the UN Meron Reuben and Consul General Ido Aharoni in order to coordinate Israel's diplomatic and PR activity in response to the report.

As of Thursday morning, Israeli officials are attempting to initiate a coordinated response by all Jewish organizations to condemn the UN report. All Israeli emissaries in North America had been briefed on their next moves vis-à-vis the media and foreign diplomats.

And, all day long, Israeli activists were working to spring traitor Jonathan Pollard from a US prison, in spite of his treachery having assuredly killed many U.S. intelligence assets in the USSR at a crucial point in the Cold War:

The Obama administration is publicly ignoring a reported offer from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to extend a settlements freeze in exchange for the release of Jonathan Pollard, the convicted Israeli spy.

Pressure to release Pollard, serving a life sentence since 1987 for providing thousands of secret documents to Israel, arises regularly, spurred by Pollard’s wife Esther and right-wing parties in Jerusalem.

But an even more powerful backlash from national security officials in Washington has repeatedly derailed the idea. Pollard also sold secrets to South Africa and advertised his services to Pakistan, they point out, while Israel used some of the documents he gave them as barter for favors from Moscow.

That report is from the beginning of the week. By late Thursday, during the "holiday," the week-long efforts behind the scenes by the Israel lobby were perhaps beginning to pay off:

Several United States congressmen have signed a petition calling on U.S. President Barack Obama to pardon Jonathan Pollard, jailed in the U.S. for over 25 years for spying, in order to advance the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported on Thursday.

Pollard, a former civilian intelligence analyst, was sentenced to life in prison in 1987 on charges of spying on the U.S. for Israel.

A statement released by Democratic Representative Barney Frank "notes the positive impact that a grant of clemency would have in Israel, as a strong indication of the goodwill of our nation towards Israel and the Israeli people."

"This would be particularly helpful at a time when the Israeli nation faces difficult decisions in its long-standing effort to secure peace with its neighbors," Frank's office continued in the statement.

Direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians will face the first major hurdle in the next few days as Israel's moratorium on construction in West Bank settlements is set to expire. Reports have circulated that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking Pollard's release in order to pacify the settler movement if he extends the moratorium.

Let me see if I can somehow get this straight. The Israeli UN delegation fails to show up on what may have been the most important speech given in decades by a US president on a keystone obstacle to Middle East peace, claiming it is a "religious holiday." During that religious holiday, they set up a "War room" in the USA to battle public perception of a UN document cataloging Israeli war crimes that happened less than four months ago. One of these crimes was the cold-blooded murder of a US citizen.

During that same "holiday" the Israeli government used every tool at its disposal to spring a spy who cost us billions, and whose stolen and then sold secrets led to the deaths of Russian anti-communists. The promise to us, should we spring the traitor, is a twelve-week long moratorium to the expansion of settlements that our country views as clearly illegal. Given that there really hasn't been a settlement expansion freeze, and that the Obama administration knows this meme to be a cynical fabrication, why does Rep. Frank even put his name down on a scrap of paper that promoted the lie's further propagation?

To get back to this seeming overlap of the definitions of chutzpah and ingratitude, how much does Obama or any president for that matter, have to do for Israel to not be subjected to the most offensive slurs one might possibly imagine from a so-called "ally"?


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the pieces of Obama's speech. I have been so disappointed in him that I am grateful every time I see him show one spark of the courage he promised before election.

Thank you for continuing to publish posts about this topic. It is far too important to ignore. The truth of Israel's actions should never be silenced. Over the years it has clear to me that, in the case of Israel, and some Jews, the oppressed has become the oppressor.

Daniel said...

Calling Sukkot a minor Jewish holiday shows the depth of your ignorance of Judaism and Israel. Its one of the most important, especially in Israel. You call your site progressive, but your screed could have been lifted word for word from a white supremacist or KKK site. How does it feel to have so much in common with David Duke?

Philip Munger said...

I didn't call Sukkot a "minor Jewish Holiday," I quoted an article which stated that.

Please demonstrate in clear terms how "your screed could have been lifted word for word from a white supremacist or KKK site." Such a statement, unsupported by actual facts, is pretty lame.

Daniel said...

You posted the article on your blog- one would assume that you agree with it. then you wrote "religious holiday" in quotations. I'm sure this is the first time you've even heard of Sukkot...Please just admit you don't know what you're talking about.

Some Israelis are religiously observant and others aren't. Its a broad spectrum of observance, and that idiot Lieberman sure isn't, but the point is that you don't understand anything about Jewish holidays,or more importantly, how they are observed in Israel, and officially, by the Israeli foreign ministry. Its complicated and doesn't always make sense, but not the conspiracy that you are rabidly seeking.

An official Israeli delegation performing a public function as important and high profile as the UN GA, usually requires the delegation not to attend on important Jewish holidays, regardless of wether or not those diplomats are observant. That doesn't mean other parts of the diplomatic corp aren't working, especially when there's some kind of emergency.

Israel is complicated, disorganized, and inconsistent enough to provide plenty of ammunition to someone like you who chooses to find a conspiracy everywhere its possible to see one. The question I have, is what do you choose to believe when you don't really have the facts? And what does that say about you?

Re your question about how your rant was like a white supremacist piece- how about David Duke? Is he someone you want to agree with?

Is your post really so different than this?

or this?

Its a all a big conspiracy isn't it? how about this one?

Of course, you are not David Duke, but the further you go to the left, the closer you get to the extreme right. You are pretty damn close, and I suggest you check yourself out. You're giving real progressives a bad name.

Philip Munger said...


It is obvious, from the many reports I've read in the Israeli press about activities of members of their government on Thursday and Friday, both by Israeli time there, and by EDT in NYC and DC, that many of these people worked long days, and that their activities involved matters related to the president's UN speech. Do you disagree?

And thank you for responding, even though you seem to want to link me to a person I fully despise. I never visit his site, and was the leader in Alaska in getting other blogs, the ADN and the Dispatch to cease linking to Alaska Pride.

Anonymous said...

Well Phil you now know that at least one AIPAC member reads your blog.

Daniel said...

Can you get me a gig with AIPAC? Not sure if I have time though, what with all my other Jewish conspiratorial duties. Mossad, World Bank, One-World Government, etc. Seems to take up my whole day! Also, Zionist control of the US government is really turning into a buzz-kill. It was SO MUCH easier with W...Also,I have to get me some Palestinian Christian blood frozen and stored away so I can make matzo next passover.

Philip Munger said...


Cut out the bullshit. Could you be so kind as to answer my question?

Makabit Bat Guriel said...

Phil, it doesn't matter if Daniel answered your question or not because no matter what he says you are going to accuse Israel of everything you can come up with.
You do share the same thinking with the likes of David Duke and the Anchorage Press hasn't stopped linking anything to Alaska Pride. It hasn't been two weeks ago they posted his site on facebook.
So much for patting your own ass on that one, huh?

Philip Munger said...

"the Anchorage Press hasn't stopped linking anything to Alaska Pride."

Where did I write about the Anchorage Press, Judith?

Daniel said...

Phil, the idea that the Israeli delegation to the UN would boycott Obama's speech is just crazy. It shows how little you understand about the relationship between Israel and the US. Forget the snub to the US, If such a thing would occur,it would mean political death for Bibi. (unfortunately, he's not that stupid) There is no scenario under which such an outrageous and conspiratorial idea like this would take place. You just show your bias and hate by posting such a crazy post.

In short, this is something that you WANT to believe.

And to answer your question, yes, other people in the foreign ministry were probably forced to work on the holiday. I don't really know, but its possible. What is your point?

Perhaps you should restrict your posts in the future to issues you actually understand.

Anonymous said...


To gain some perspective, you might take a look at Jew vs Jew: The Struggle for the Soul of American Jewry by Samuel G. Freedman (Simon & Schuster, 2000).

Philip Munger said...

anon @ 10:40 - I read Freedman's book in late 2003, along with Harold Pinter's "War," as I was writing The Skies Are Weeping.


"Perhaps you should restrict your posts in the future to issues you actually understand."

Although my viewpoints seem to differ from yours, my understanding of the issues cited in my essay is quite informed. And I am certainly not alone in feeling that Obama was snubbed Thursday at the UN by the Israeli delegation.

1. Do you think Pollard should be freed?

2. Do you think the settlement freeze, as farcical as it has been, should be continued?

3. You don't seem to like Netanyahu. Who would be the ideal replacement from your perspective?

Makabit Bat Guriel said...

Face it Phil the blogs and websites up here all feed off each other. So if you actually jumped in to PROVE how you aren't reposting the same ideas as David Duke as quickly as you did here over which site you talked out of linking to Carl's blog it might be a first. Just like Carl you try to make your bull shit blog look so innocent, he doesn't even link to his other hate site, we all know there isn't anything innocent about your Jew hating stinking thinking. To you the only good Jew is either kissing your ass or dead.
Other than that I was just skimming (a person usually doesn't have to read your obsessive repeat of the same old tired BS)through your shit and misread it. I won't apologize though because I'd rather see you choke.

Makabit Bat Guriel said...

One more thing Gustav, so what that clown in the Oval Office was snubbed? It seems he insults everyone else from things like walking off during visits to eat dinner or having them enter/exit through the back door where the garbage can sits.
And I don't believe you care so much about the President's feelings as much as you hate Jews and Israel.

Anonymous said...

anon @ 10:40 here

Phil, you said: "I read Freedman's book in late 2003, along with Harold Pinter's 'War,' as I was writing The Skies Are Weeping." I should have known that, because I'm convinced you DO know what you're talking about in this post--and by the way, you're not an anti-semite (a term that's too conveniently tossed around these days) .

My "perspective" comment was misdirected; I should have addressed it to readers who are unfairly trashing you. The level of discourse used by these people is disappointing and counter-productive.

Makabit Bat Guriel said...

Oh, anonymous one, I have read Jew vs. Jew and not sure what that has to do with Phil's Jew/Israel hating self.

Makabit Bat Guriel said...

I'd like to see your sources about Jonathan Pollard. Can you do that Phil? Can you post your sources or are you going to pretend to ignore my question?

Philip Munger said...



You've got to be kidding, Judith.

One of the best articles on how damaging this traitor was, was written by Seymour Hersh for the New Yorker, back at the end of the last century. Since then, former Soviet intel people have detailed how valuable the info the Israelis sold them they got from him was to our chief enemy.

For a start, my dear, google Jonathan Pollard traitor.

Dean said...

Interesting imagery and commentary on Israel, Palestine and Sukkot: State Power When the Center Should Not Hold

Daniel said...

Its like this Phil:

Its not so much that you get stuff wrong, its your focus, and rabid tone. Consider the following scenario.

A white politician running for a seat in an urban area makes it a habit to mention his opposition and disgust with domestic violence. At every campaign stop, and in every speech, he passionately denounces domestic violence, but only mentions it in relation to blacks. He says that the rate of domestic violence is higher among blacks,and child abuse is higher. He never talks about the problem of domestic violence amongst whites. Only blacks. And in fact, what he's saying is true- that there is a higher rate of domestic violence in the black community.

Yet in spite of the fact that everything he's saying is true, I'm sure you would agree that this guy is a racist. Its his focus, and the fact that he is white and not African American.

This is you, Phil. You have a problem.

Philip Munger said...


Thank you for your kind words. I explained why this is an important issue to me at an earlier post here:

PA and the Palestinians

Feel free to respond, my friend.

Makabit Bat Guriel said...

When I google it I come up with all sorts of anti-Israel sites.
So what is your point Gustav? I also come up with David Duke when I google that idiot Seymour Hersh. What is your point...?
Have you ever read the website defending Pollard or do you consider anything that says your thinking makes you a jerk off to be nothing but lies from a Jew? How is he a traitor you old fool? He wasn't spying on the United States. All you are doing is repeating your typical BS.
You really need mental help but so did Goebbels and look what happened to him.
Come to think about it you look a tad bit like Goebbels, he did die not long before your mother squeezed you out of the birth canal...hmmmm! Could it be his twisted soul landed in your body?

Daniel said...

Friend. Uh, right.

There are at least two sides to this story,and you choose one. You completely ignore the other side. The thousands of Israelis who have been killed or maimed by Palestinians, means nothing to you.

For me,its not some sort of abstract idea- I live in Tel Aviv, and its an issue of the safety of me and my family that concerns me more than anything. If I get blown up in a cafe down the street by one of your "friends", I'm sure it won't bother you one bit. In fact, I'd say it would please you - that its and understandable reaction, etc...

if it weren't for useful idiots like you, the Palestinians would have made peace with us a long time ago. Instead, after every war, they go running to the UN, the European, and the hundreds of false "progressive" groups and complain about how horrible we are. They get encouragement to continue to be stubborn, (because they're right, after all) and seek violent solutions again and again, which always turns out bad for them- and so the cycle of violence continues.

But the current Palestinian leaders in the West Bank are starting to understand that violence and victimhood gets them nowhere. In spite of your big mouths, you and other enablers at the UN clearly don't give a shit about them, and they are starting to understand that as well. While you defend the worst in murderous Arab fascists like Hamas and Hezbollah, there is actually progress going on in the West Bank. The economy is booming, and the Palestinian Authority is actually starting to behave like a government, with the interests of its people in mind, instead of a terror group, which has been the case up until recently.

so Phil, you are not part of the solution- you are part of the problem. And you shouldn't call yourself a friend to anyone in my part of the world.

Makabit Bat Guriel said...

Here is an interview that was done with a gentleman by the name of Angelo Codevilla. He talks about why Pollard isn't the traitor that you, David Duke and Seymour Hersh paint him as being. It's an easy read so it shouldn't cause a stroke or anything.

Makabit Bat Guriel said...

No comment Phil? Are you crying in the corner or puttering in the cabbage patch?

Anonymous said...


right now I'm giving makeup and early erxams to students who are either going off with athletic teams, or have been in training in the military.


Makabit Bat Guriel said...

But you still have time to post your other bull shit? You won't answer and you know it.
I'm surprised you work with those in the military considering how you trash them whenever you get a chance.