President Obama’s refusal to veto an anti-Israel U.N. resolution was ranked Tuesday as the most anti-Semitic incident of 2016 by the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
In the annual anti-Semitism report, the center placed the Obama administration’s decision Friday to abstain on the UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements at the head of its list, the “Top 10 Worst Global Anti-Semitic/Anti-Israel Incidents.”
“The most stunning 2016 U.N. attack on Israel was facilitated by President Obama when the U.S. abstained on a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israel for settlement construction,” the center said. “It reversed decades-long US policy of vetoing such diplomatic moves against the Jewish State.”
Also making the list was activity by the anti-Israel Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement as well as U.S. white nationalist leader Richard Spencer’s questioning whether Jews are “people or soulless golem” at a November gathering in Washington, D.C.
Two top Israeli officials have accused the Obama administration of orchestrating the resolution behind the scenes, insisting that they will provide proof to President-elect Donald Trump after he takes office in January.
Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer said Wednesday that Israel would work to repeal the resolution even though such efforts can take years.
“Ultimately, our goal would be to repeal it,” Mr. Dermer told conservative radio talk-show host Hugh Hewitt. “You know, the ‘Zionism is Racism’ resolution was sitting on the UN books for 15, 16 years before we were able to repeal it.”
Deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes denied White House involvement in a Friday statement, saying, “We did not draft this resolution; we did not introduce this resolution. We made this decision when it came up for a vote.”
In its report, the Los Angeles-based center said the resolution “identifies Jerusalem’s holiest sites, including the Temple Mount and the Western Wall, as ‘occupied Palestinian territory.’”
“It also urges U.N. members ‘to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967,’ effectively endorsing BDS,” said the report.
Mr. Dermer said it was “outrageous to call the Western Wall occupied Palestinian territory. It is outrageous to criminalize Jews building homes in Judea.”
“The reason why Jews are called Jews is because we are the people of Judea,” Mr. Dermer said. “So now the Jewish people are foreign occupiers of Judea? Judea all of a sudden has become occupied Palestinian territory? So this is absurd, and it has to be fought.”
The vote came as the latest of 20 anti-Israel U.N. resolutions approved in 2016. The U.N. General Assembly approved one resolution each against the countries of Syria, Iran, North Korea and Crimea in the same year, the center said.
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power insisted Friday that the administration remains committed to Israel, but that the resolution “reflects the facts on the ground.”
“We believe, though, that continued settlement building seriously undermines Israel’s security,” Ms. Power said in her remarks before the Security Council.