In a message to Israeli citizens yesterday, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he'd use his remarks at the United Nations to respond to the "black day" at the international body. Netanyahu is scheduled to speak later today.
In a speech at the United Nations this morning, President Obama says the attacks on America across the Muslim world over the last two weeks are also an "assault on the very ideals upon which the United Nations was founded."
The reason why President Obama is not meeting with any foreign leaders during this week's United Nations General Assembly in New York is, as one aide to the president explained, because "If he met with one leader, he would have to meet with 10."
CNN blasted President Obama this morning for skipping meetings with foreign leaders this week at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City and instead appearing on daytime TV talk show The View:
From the Washington Post: "Asked Thursday whether he could envision a situation in which the United States would take military action in Syria without U.N. authorization, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said, 'No, I cannot envision that because, look, as secretary of defense, my greatest responsibility is to make sure when we deploy our men and women in uniform and put them at risk, we not only know what the mission is, but we have the kind of support we need to accomplish that mission.'"
The United Nations Commission on the Status of Women “is expected to pass a resolution condemning Israel's part in the degrading of living conditions for Palestinian women, while failing to mention the mistreatment of women in the ongoing crisis in Syria,” Haaretz reports.
Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chávez is seeking a seat on the United Nations’ Human Rights Council, the group U.N. Watch reports. The independent watchdog group also says that Pakistan is additionally “slated to run unopposed for seats on the UN’s 47-nation Human Rights Council this year.”
Portraying President Obama’s U.N.-centered foreign policy as consistent with American values or pro-Israel has become increasingly difficult for administration officials. The result has been a steady stream of inaccurate accounts of goings-on at the organization.
Earlier this week, the majority of member states of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)—whose self-stated mission is “to contribute to the building of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information”—voted to accept the Palestinians’ application to become the newest member of the organization. The vote was not even close—107 voted in favor of the Palestinians, while 14 states voted against (52 abstained)—for “Palestine [to become] the 195th full member of UNESCO,” as the New York Times reported.
Some have praised President Obama’s September 20 speech at the U.N. as his most rousing defense of Israel to date. Perhaps so—though that’s not saying much. It rather seems to us that the president merits some credit—but only some—for a growing self-awareness, both of his own limits and of the finer points of American Middle East policy.
President Obama tried to reassure more than 900 rabbis today on a half-hour conference call that he’s a stalwart friend of Israel. In the midst of all the happy talk, though, he inadvertently revealed how he really thinks about the Middle East: