Yesterday, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice skipped Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to the UN General Assembly–a snub that underscores the Obama administration’s hostility towards the Israeli government. It was not the first time that Rice, under fire this week for lying about the Libya attacks, has given Israel the cold shoulder. In fact, she has been doing so for years–with Obama’s approval.
In 2009, during a critical debate at the UN General Assembly over the defamatory Goldstone Report, which accused Israel (falsely) of war crimes and crimes against humanity, Rice absented herself from proceedings, leaving a deputy to read the Obama administration’s rather weak statement of opposition. Her pressing appointment? Taping the Jon Stewart Show, during which she touted Obama’s policies of “engagement.”
Rice was also absent from the UN Security Council in 2011 when the U.S. opposed Palestinian efforts to declare statehood at the United Nations, once more sending a deputy to do the hard work of standing up for America’s closest ally. Rice’s only defense is that she has a pattern of absenteeism–missing, among many other events, the critically important first UN Security Council meeting on Libya in February 2011.
In addition, Rice has a history of dishonest spin on behalf of her boss. During the 2008 elections, she was trotted out to deny–against the plain evidence–that then-Senator Obama had pledged to meet with the leaders of hostile nations, including Iran, without preconditions. Obama’s own website at the time said that he supported “direct presidential diplomacy with Iran without preconditions.” Rice blamed right-wing spin.
If President Obama wins re-election, Rice is the likely to be the next Secretary of State–a post she coveted but that she had to yield in the post-primary deal-making between the Obama and Clinton campaigns. She has treated her duties at the UN with disdain as she runs out the clock to 2013. Yet her specific neglect of Israel at a critical and dangerous time also reflects the failing foreign policy of the Obama administration.