The number-two Democrat in the House, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland, has published several statements which are strongly critical of the Obama administration’s betrayal of Israel at the United Nations.
Before the vote was cast at the UN, Hoyer urged the President to exercise America’s veto power against the anti-Israel resolution:
The resolution, as proposed, seeks to place responsibility for continued conflict fully on Israel and ignores violence and incitement by Palestinians and the Palestinian Authority and Hamas leaderships. Any workable and long-lasting solution to this conflict must come about through direct, bilateral negotiations, and this resolution undermines that effort.
After America’s ambassador to the UN was instructed to abstain from voting, Hoyer declared:
As a proud leader of the bipartisan coalition in Congress in support of our ally Israel, I am extremely disappointed by this action and today’s vote. Blaming Israel for the continuation of the conflict is not only wrong and unjust; it will also do nothing to move the parties closer to a peaceful and lasting solution.
This resolution ignores the culpability of Palestinian leaders and groups for engaging in violent acts, inciting violence against civilians, and delegitimizing Jews’ ancient and historic connection to the land. Furthermore, the United States’s abstention risks lending legitimacy to efforts by Palestinians to impose their own solution through international fora and trough unjustified boycotts or divestment campaigns.
Only direct, bilateral negotiations can bring an end to this conflict. Neither the international community nor the United States can impose one. I join in expressing my very significant disagreement with the Administration’s decision to abstain.
Hoyer unloaded on the Obama administration again on Tuesday:
I urged the Administration to veto the recently passed U.N. Security Council resolution regarding Israel and settlements. Unfortunately, they failed to do so, and Israel’s enemies were strengthened.
As Ambassador Power pointed out in her statement on the U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334 on the situation in the Middle East, “…as long as Israel has been a member of this institution, Israel has been treated differently from other nations at the United Nations.” 2016 was no exception, and there were more resolutions regarding Israel than there were regarding Syria, North Korea, Iran, South Sudan, and Russia combined.
Hoyer also pre-emptively criticized the speech on Middle Eastern policy that outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry delivered Wednesday:
Now, it is my understanding that Secretary Kerry, in the last few days of this Administration, intends to outline the parameters of an agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. This flies in the face of the United States’s longstanding position that such a formulation should be reached only through negotiations by the parties and not by the United States, the United Nations, or any other third party.
I urge Secretary Kerry and the Administration not to set forth a formula, which will inevitably disadvantage Israel in any negotiation. The United States must now take steps to signal unequivocally to the entire world that we will continue to stand by our ally Israel as it seeks to build a future of peace and safety as a Jewish state and an equal member of the family of nations.
No doubt there will be much speculation about what’s going on here. Hoyer’s boss, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, bubbled with praise for Obama and Kerry after the UN vote, saying they have “worked tirelessly to try to bring Israeli and Palestinian leaders to the table for direct and constructive talks.” Maybe Hoyer is trying to save his party from political suicide.