March 30, 2011
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- The Obama administration said it remains determined to end anti-Israel bias at the United Nations Human Rights Council.
The State Department on Wednesday released a fact sheet outlining its accomplishments since rejoining the UNHRC in 2009.
At the time, pro-Israel groups and conservatives criticized the reversal of Bush administration policy of boycotting the council, saying it validated the council's almost near-exclusive focus on Israel.
JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Hamas said it will stop the United Nations from teaching Palestinian children in Gaza about the Holocaust.
The history of the Holocaust is set to become part of a human rights curriculum in Gaza schools run by the U.N. Relief and Works Agency that are attended by more than 200,000 Palestinian children, The Guardian reported.
I can't spend a lot of time at J Street's second national conference, going on now at Washington's cavernous Convention Center, but I was there yesterday as a panelist in a session on the Jewish vote and spent a little time shmoozing, and I've been watching the sessions streamed on the J Street Web site.
Here's a little insight into Jewish priorities these days that probably won't surprise you.
Last week I received at least 25 statements and press releases from Jewish groups and assorted Jewish politicians urging a U.S. veto of the UN General Assembly resolution condemning Israel's settlements. (The U.S. DID veto the resolution on Friday, and there's no evidence pressure from Jewish groups was the reason).
Does it matter much that the Obama administration vetoed a UN Security Council resolution labeling Israel's settlement activity illegal? Naturally, it depends on who you ask, but my answer is: probably not.
Mostly, it strikes me as an action by an administration that has concluded – rightly or wrongly – that the current status quo is the best it can hope for in the Middle East.
It used to be that a primary goal of Israel's friends in this country was to ensure strong U.S.-Israel relations and to create a genuinely bipartisan wall of support for the Jewish state in U.S. politics.
Now, the goal seems more to take advantage of today's bitter partisanship to advance a specific vision of U.S.-Israeli relations or support a particular political viewpoint in Israel. Or to use Israel as just another wedge issue in the U.S. partisan wars.