Friday, October 16, 2009

UN Showdown

The UNHRC passed the measure endorsing the report's findings 21-6-11. The text of the resolution was so biased even Judge Goldstone said he wished the wording had been more impartial.

The resolution itself having no intrinsic value (see previous post), what is interesting is how the votes came down.

In Favor
China Russia
Egypt India
Jordan Pakistan
South Africa Argentina
Bahrain Bangladesh
Bolivia Ghana
Indonesia Djibouti
Liberia Qatar
Senegal Brazil
Mauritius Nicaragua
Nigeria



Interesting stuff:
China, Russia, India, Pakistan: These countries account for a huge percentage of the world population and are the strongest countries besides the United States militarily. This means that for all the talk, the U.S.-Israel alliance isn't going anywhere soon. Israel should be concerned with the fact that the three major Asian powers are allying with the Arab bloc on this issue. While Israel has good ties with Russia and India, especially in defense, it may be useful to take this as a reading on what ultimately is motivating these powers (speculative hint: Price of oil?)


Against
U.S.
Italy
Holland
Hungary
Slovakia
Ukraine


Interesting stuff: Ukraine. The Ukraine has been involved in a few minor spats with Israel over the past few months, leading Haaretz writer Anshel Pfeffer wrote an editorial calling for a boycott of the Ukraine back in February. Yet overall Ukraine-Israel relations have been pretty good, and this may be a small part of a greater attempt by Ukraine to get closer with Israel as a counterbalance to Russia.

Abstain
Bosnia Burkina-Faso
Cameroon Gabon
Japan Mexico
Norway Belgium
South Korea Slovenia
Uruguay


Not interesting stuff: Norway. This may have something to do with the fact that FM Lieberman recently called Norway anti-semitic. Although to be fair, Norway was honoring a figure with close ties to the Nazi leadership at the time...

Semi-interesting stuff: Japan. A major power that did not align with India/Pak/China, yet also not with the U.S.
Cameroon. Cameroon, which has a 20% Muslim population, and Israel have had relations since 1986 and collaborated on an agricultural project this February.


There is also drama between Egypt and Britian and France over the political gymnastics which preceeded the vote and left both of the European countries off the record.


The vote today was essentially a popularity contest, and Israel definitely lost. But it is at least useful to see what international cliques are forming around Israel, and to use it as a starting point for discussion. Which allies will Israel need to court? Which are irrelevant? Which will never ally with Israel and must be contended with?

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