John Kerry Is Standing By That UN Vote, No Matter What

FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images
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On Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry strongly defended the decision for the United States to abstain from a controversial United Nations vote last week on Israeli settlements. Kerry said the UN vote was "in accordance with our values" and “friends need to tell each other the hard truth.” Kerry championed the UN resolution as "the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians."

On Friday, the United States made a major departure from its previous policy at the United Nations when it declined to veto a resolution before the Security Council denouncing Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Many critics of the resolution would point out that Israel is disproportionately targeted by UN groups, a matter that is even more disconcerting considering it is the only Jewish country on earth. For example, last year, the UN General Assembly passed 20 resolutions that exclusively censured Israel, according to UN Watch. It only passed three others singling out countries that year — one against Syria, one against Iran, and one against North Korea, countries that regular murder their own people and violate basic principles of democracy constantly.

While President-elect Donald Trump has arguably earned the most attention for denouncing the United States decision to abstain from vetoing — and thus, paving the way for the resolution to pass — others have sharply criticized the move, as well. Chuck Schumer, the leading Democrat in the Senate, denounced the failure to veto the resolution. He tweeted on Friday, "Extremely frustrating, disappointing & confounding that the Administration has failed to veto the UN resolution."

President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have had an infamously frosty relationship. Netanyahu not only denounced the United States' refusal to veto the resolution at the United Nations, but accused the country of orchestrating it. "From the information that we have, we have no doubt that the Obama administration initiated it, stood behind it, coordinated on the wording and demanded that it be passed," Netanyahu said before a weekly cabinet meeting.

Netanyahu also tweeted his disappointment with the Obama administration after the vote, "In complete contradiction of this commitment, the Obama administration carried out a shameful anti-Israel ploy at the UN."