Thursday, December 13, 2012

Susan Rice: Israel's 'Gladiator' at the UN

Earlier this week, Glenn Greenwald posted an excellent article exploring the myriad reasons why U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice is awful. It's not just her "long record of cheering for US wars, including being an outspoken and aggressive advocate of the attack on Iraq," as documented by former CIA analyst Ray McGovern. Or her apparent and well-documented "fondness for tyrants in Africa" and career-long destructive policies towards the continent. Or that she "holds significant investments in more than a dozen Canadian oil companies and banks that would stand to benefit from expansion of the North American tar sands industry and construction of the proposed $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline" and that she's invested heavily in oil companies.

Rice is a serial interventionist and militarist, precisely the type of person a Nobel laureate with a Kill List and expansive drone murder program would task with representing a nuclear-armed, imperial behemoth and international bully in a 194-member forum ostensibly founded upon multilateralism and dedicated to peace.

It came as no surprise then, considering her affinity for jingoism and selective commitment to human rights, when Greenwald reminded us that "so-called 'pro-Israel' groups have vocally supported her possible nomination due to her steadfast defense of Israel at the UN, hailing her as 'an ardent defender of major Israeli positions in an unfriendly forum,'" in the words of the Anti-Defamation League's Abe Foxman, who apparently deems an organization that condemns crimes against humanity, colonization and discrimination as hostile to the Zionist ideology.

Such a characterization is, however, a gross understatement. Back in March, The Huffington Post revealed that the majority of Rice's time at the United Nations is spent defending Israeli colonial expansionism and institutional apartheid; shielding Israel from scrutiny over its commission of war crimes, collective punishment, aggressive militarism, and contempt for international law, including the murder of an American citizen; and working tirelessly to repeatedly oppose basic human rights, self-determination, legal sovereignty and any semblance of justice for Palestinians, even in its most symbolic forms.

It is no wonder that, after the UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to upgrade the status of Palestine to a non-member state, Rice angrily growled, "This resolution does not establish that Palestine is a state," and noted that the United States "will continue to oppose firmly any and all unilateral actions in international bodies," despite the fact that when over 130 countries vote on something, that is perhaps the definitive opposite of "unilateral."

"Today's grand pronouncements will soon fade," she shouted, bitterly adding, "And the Palestinian people will wake up tomorrow and find that little about their lives has changed, save that the prospects of a durable peace have only receded." What she didn't mentioned is that the reason Palestinians will remain occupied and under siege is largely due to her own government's actions.

Dubbed by HuffPo as the"Pro-Israel Courter-in-Chief," Rice is effectively AIPAC's lobbyist at the UN, a title she would surely not dispute and most likely take pride in. "Not a day goes by -- not one -- when my colleagues and I do not work hard to defend Israel's security and legitimacy at the United Nations," Rice boasted during the opening session of AIPAC's convention earlier this year. She reiterated this point before the lobbying group's National Board of Governors: "We spend an enormous amount of time defending Israel's right to defend itself and defending Israel's legitimacy throughout the United Nations system," Rice declared. "It's an issue of utmost and daily concern for the United States."

Unsurprisingly, Rice describes all efforts to hold Israel accountable for its actions and to abide by the international treaties, charters and conventions to which it is bound as "anti-Israel crap."

For her lobbying efforts, Rice has even received an award from the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations and the ADL's Abe Foxman has praised her as a "gladiator" fighting for Israel.

Earlier today, Rice withdrew her name from consideration for Obama's next Secretary of State. In both her own letter to the President and Obama's reply, Rice's steadfast commitment to Israeli impunity and immunity was made clear. She wrote (and repeats in a Washington Post piece entitled "Why I Withdrew" which runs tomorrow) that she was proud of her "unwavering support for Israel" before pointedly mentioning her backing of the "world's newest state, South Sudan."

While Rice will not succeed Hillary Clinton as Obama's top diplomat, her next gig will surely be a professorial appointment at a Super Serious Institution of Higher Learning or a fawning, establishment think-tank with Zionist proclivities like the Saban Center or somewhere equally as grotesque (she's been at the Brookings Institution before, after all). Hell, with a pedigree like hers, the flacks at the AIPAC-affiliated Washington Institute for Near East Policy should be thrilled to have her. Also, with Israel's Fascist Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman facing indictment and rumors circulating about his possible resignation, perhaps Netanyahu will tap her for that post in his next term so she can do Israel's bidding directly.

Still, as Greenwald put it the other day, "If it's not Susan Rice as Secretary of State, then it will be someone with an equally long record of defending US militarism and supporting the world's worst tyrants." This is undoubtedly accurate. Add to that the unconditional endorsement of Israeli ethnocracy and denial of Palestinian self-determination and human rights, of course.

While Rice is no anomaly when it comes to American officialdom, that doesn't mean the fact that she won't be Secretary of State isn't a good thing.  It is.



December 14, 2012 - Jacob Heilbrunn over at The Daily Beast has a good piece up about Rice today, entitled, "Susan Rice Didn't Deserve State Post, Let Alone Her U.N. Role."

He explains that Rice's "most distinguishing trait seems to be an eagerness to please her superiors, which is entirely consistent with how she rode the escalator to success. Want to avoid declaring that genocide is taking place in Rwanda? Go to Rice. Want to fudge the facts in Libya? Rice is there again." Furthermore, Heilbrunn writes, Rice "rarely, if ever, questions authority. Instead she has made a career out of catering to it."

Heilbrunn avoids mentioning her fealty to Israel and focuses instead on her cozy relationship with African dictators, but considering he's writing in The Daily Beast, this is to be expected.



April 26, 2013 - Susan Rice has doubled-down on her past statement that her primary job as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations is to defend Israel.

On April 23, the Jewish Telegraph Agency quoted Rice saying effectively that her role as an apologist for the Israeli government is "a huge part of my work to the United Nations," during comments made last weekend at the Washington DC launch of this year's "Consultation on Conscience."

"Rice said she often works in 'lockstep' with the Israeli delegation," JTA noted, before quoting Rice directly, saying, "We will not rest in the crucial work of defending Israel's security and legitimacy every day at the United Nations."

Sounds exhausting for a delegation tasked with representing an entirely different, sovereign nation with interests of its own.  Also, this is surely a useless endeavor considering that the legitimacy of an ethnocratic apartheid state is difficult to champion, as Jacob Heilbrunn has recently made clear in The National Interest.  In his article, entitled "Israel's Fraying Image," Heilbrunn notes that "a cultural shift is emerging that could presage a reexamination of the nature of America's political ties to Israel. This shift is rooted in a mounting perception that Israel cannot be exempted from culpability..."

Of course, the explicit exemption is what Rice works so diligently to maintain day in and day out.


Anonymous said...

I hope you won't be offended if I point out this typo -- you wrote "Courter." I think you meant "Courtier."

Nima Shirazi said...

Thanks for the close reading, but - alas - the use of the word "Courter" was not mine, it's taken from the Huffington Post article which I reference.

I wholeheartedly agree that "Courtier" would have been a better word choice, and far more accurate in this case.

Clif Brown said...

Rice always struck me as an attack dog, the last kind of person one would want in the UN, or the State Department. Too bad the items you and others have mentioned that would make her a poor choice were not front and center in the uproar over her, but instead it was all about Libya.