I feel obligated to preface this by stating outright that I am not a Trump supporter. I think his misogynistic, racist, close-minded (to say the least) comments are absolutely wrong, and I don’t think he has enough (or any) political experience to be successful in the White House. That I feel I must say this is a bit of a shame, but in today’s world, I know that anything can be misconstrued.
After Trump was elected, I was extremely concerned about many things, including his stance on Israel. He’s said so many things but then done so many other, often conflicting things, making it incredibly difficult to know where he really stands on a lot of political issues. But the events of Friday, December 23 have reassured me that there is some hope with the transition from Obama’s administration to Trump's.
On Friday, a resolution concerning Israel was quickly brought to a vote in the United Nations Security Council. It condemns Israeli settlements, thereby giving credence to Palestinian leadership, which, as noted in an AIPAC press release, “has refused to return to talks with Israel and has continued to incite violence.” In the hour prior to the vote, I, along with some of my pro-Israel friends and many others, sent emails to Obama through AIPAC, urging him to concur with Congress’s oppositional sentiment towards the resolution and use the US veto. Abhorred after hearing that Obama abstained, I couldn’t believe that the US (well, Obama) had failed to oppose a strongly biased resolution (against Israel), the one-sidedness being something that the UN itself should not be condoning. Yet this is the organization that last March named Israel as the world’s top human rights violator and condemned it “five times more than any other of the 192 UN member states,” so I know I shouldn’t be surprised by the UN. That 14 nations on the Security Council voted in favor of the resolution (and thus, against Israel) is upsetting enough. But Obama’s abstention, a break from standard US policy of vetoing one-sided, anti-Israel resolutions is a much greater blow.
I truly do not think that this resolution will affect the way that the Israeli government deals with settlements. Prime Minister Netanyahu is firm in his belief of the right of Israelis to build these settlements, and he is convinced that Obama made a mistake in betraying the friendship that the US has built and maintained with Israel.
Furthermore, as US Ambassador Samantha Power (the person who voted on behalf of Obama in the Security Council on Friday) said, “The resolution is too narrowly focused on settlements when we all know, or all should know” that the conflict between Israel and Palestine lies beyond settlements. I agree with this statement completely, and therefore do not understand why Obama (and therefore Power) chose to abstain rather than veto. If the resolution was inadequate, which even Power herself conceded, then it shouldn’t have been allowed to pass.
I recognize the layers of complexity in the Middle East situation today, and I understand that settlements are merely a physical representation of the deeply entrenched territorial and principle-related conflicts in the Middle East and the pain felt on all sides of the situation. But if the US isn’t standing by Israel and helping it work with its neighbors to create lasting peace, then which nation will? US support of Israel is integral in preserving democracy in the Middle East and in preserving Israel itself. Obama’s action, so near to the end of his presidency, certainly put a strain on an already tenuous relationship.
From local synagogues to politicians, people are not letting Obama’s poor decision be ignored. Ted Cruz tweeted that the US should cut funding to the UN until this resolution is reversed, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) agreed.
However, what made me feel the most excited and validated in my beliefs was, surprisingly a tweet from our president elect. In the tweet, Trump promised that things would be different in January once he takes office, and I truly want to believe him.
While I know that some changes will be good and others bad, the fact that Trump recognizes the need for the US to be a strong ally to Israel and sees that Obama and the UN made a mistake on this issue is extremely promising. Furthermore, his belief aligns with the general sentiment of Congress towards this issue, suggesting that perhaps he and Congress will agree on further issues and create beneficial change once he takes office.
I really hope Trump sticks to his word on this one. Because I care so, so much about Israel and I know that there’re many other people who feel the same way. Israel isn’t just another country to me; it’s a home, and it deserves fair treatment by the international community, by the UN, and especially by America, it’s greatest ally.
Trump, I am hopeful. Please don’t let me down.