Even by the low, low standards of North Korean "diplomats," the scene at the United Nations on Thursday was a particularly vile one.
At a panel discussion hosted by journalist Barbara Demick and U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power, featuring testimony from North Korean refugees, official representatives of the North Korean government loudly interrupted the proceedings. (This despite the fact that, in true U.N. fashion, the North Korean government was to be allotted time to respond at the conclusion of the defector testimony.)
Daniel Aum, the Donald Wilson Fellow at the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Human Rights, was at the event, and says that at the conclusion of the first defector testimony, the North Korean representatives began loudly reading from their scripts in an apparent attempt to drown out the refugees. The refugees fought back, standing and chanting phrases such as “Kim Jong-un should be sent to the ICC.” The officials were then spirited out of the room.
“Representatives of the DPRK government interrupted a UN side event today featuring a panel of North Korean defectors who were recounting their harrowing suffering in North Korea,” says Aum, “This is unfortunately indicative of North Korea's consistent and blatant disregard of its human rights obligations, U.N. resolutions, and a basic respect for human dignity.”
Immediately after Israel’s March 17 election, Obama administration officials threatened to allow (or even encourage) the U.N. Security Council to recognize a Palestinian state and confine Israel to its pre-1967 borders. Within days, the president himself joined in, publicly criticizing not just Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with whom Obama has had notoriously bad relations, but sectors of Israeli opinion and even Israel itself.
Florida senator Marco Rubio took the floor of the U.S. Senate Thursday to call the Obama administration's treatment of the state of Israel a "historic and tragic mistake." Rubio's address came on the same day as a report the White House is considering not defending Israel in front of attacks from member nations of international groups like the United Nations.
In the aftermath of Benjamin Netanyahu's inconvenient (to Barack Obama) victory in the Israeli election, it looks like the administration is heading towards exacting revenge. The administration's threat is that under President Obama the United States will "join the jackals"—the permanent, global, virulently anti-Israel caucus at the United Nations. The phrase comes from the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who knew a thing or two about Israel-hatred at the U.N.
Former Texas governor Rick Perry said he was "alarmed" by reports the Obama administration is considering not supporting the state of Israel at the United Nations. Perry, who may run for president in 2016, said he urged Obama to "turn away from such a path."
Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal responded to a report that the Obama administration may consider changing the United States's longstanding position of defending Israel within the United Nations against criticism of that country's settlements.
A new law introduced in Congress seeks to prevent foreign diplomats and employees of the United Nations from receiving taxpayer-funded Obamacare subsidies. The bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Republicans Ed Royce and Paul Ryan.
Former Texas governor Rick Perry released a statement Thursday citing his "concern" that President Barack Obama may not seek congressional approval for the ongoing nuclear weapons negotiations with Iran.
The big speech last week was, of course, the one given before Congress by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It was a forceful performance. Nancy Pelosi said that she was so dismayed by both the style and the substance of the prime minister’s speech that she was nearly reduced to tears.
While the attention of much of the world Sunday was focused on the massive unity rally in France in response to the recent terror attacks in that country, Secretary of State John Kerry was in India for a "global business" summit where he spoke of, among other concerns, the "one enormous cloud hanging over all of us which requires responsibility from leaders.
I hereby nominate Dick Cheney's answer to Chuck Todd's question about a United Nations official who's called for the criminal prosecution of U.S. interrogators, as the 2014 Sunday Show Answer of the Year:
CHENEY: I have little respect for the United Nations, or for this individual, who doesn't have a clue and had absolutely no responsibility for safeguarding this nation and going after the bastards that killed 3,000 Americans on 9/11.
President Obama’s speech to the UN General Assembly touched very lightly on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. That alone is a step forward: in previous years, he has made it a central part of his speech and left the impression that it is the main issue in world affairs.