Though we’re told the Obama White House years were “scandal free,” it appears the anointed one’s administration worked behind the scenes to delay a United Nations resolution condemning Israeli settlements to avoid a political headache for Hillary Clinton in 2016.
The New York Times spoke to a former Obama White House official, who spoke anonymously to avoid “professional retaliation,” who said the former administration was worried how donors would react to the resolution and didn’t want to put Clinton in the awkward position of having to defend or condemn the vote.
“There is a reason the U.N. vote did not come up before the election in November,” the source told the Times. “Was it because you were going to lose voters to Donald Trump? No. It was because you were going to have skittish donors. That, and the fact that we didn’t want Clinton to face pressure to condemn the resolution or be damaged by having to defend it.”
The vote on the resolution was held on December 23, 2016. The U.N. Security Council voted 14-0 for the resolution, which demanded Israel stop building settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The resolution condemned Israel for alleged illegal occupation of these regions.
As noted by The Washington Free Beacon’s David Rutz, America’s ambassador to the U.N. at the time, Samantha Power, could have vetoed the resolution. Instead, she abstained, essentially voting “yes.”
Multiple former Obama officials have denied in the past what was obvious: The Obama administration tried to push back the vote on the resolution to keep it from becoming a campaign issue for Clinton.
In the paragraph just above the Times interview with the anonymous former Obama official, former deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes gave credence to the claim by telling the Times, “The Washington view of Israel-Palestine is still shaped by the donor class.”
At the time of the vote, Obama administration officials denied involvement in the resolution, Rutz reported. Outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry said in December 2016 that the administration didn’t draft or push the vote. Then-Vice President Joe Biden denied personally lobbying for support for the resolution. Former administration spokesman Ned Price claimed a reported secret meeting between U.S. and Palestinian officials “never occurred.” Rhodes, at the time, said the Obama administration didn’t know what the resolution said until it was introduced.
Of course, none of these denials deal with the new, specific allegation that the administration pushed to delay the vote to avoid angering donors or putting Clinton in a tough spot. As Rutz noted, a scholar at the Brookings Institution speculated that Obama would do one last thing to Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with whom the former U.S. president had a contentious relationship.
“[The U.S. would] Abstain on a Palestinian move to bring a new draft resolution branding settlements as illegal (a revised version of the 2011 draft resolution, which the United States vetoed) to a vote at the Security Council,” the scholar wrote in October 2016, months before the resolution came for a vote.