‘Israel will look like South Africa during the apartheid’ — Israeli ambassador Shalev

Gabriela Shalev, Israel’s ambassador to the UN from 2008-2010, was interviewed by Shalom Yerushalmi for Israel’s Hebrew daily, Maariv. Translation provided by Viktoria Lymar (Watching America).

September is already here, and professor Gabriela Shalev, Israel’s previous ambassador to the U.N., is more pessimistic than ever: “We have no tools, we’re in trouble.”

Gaby Shalev, formerly Israel’s ambassador to the U.N., has a joke on the occasion of the beginning of the school year. Someone turns to his mom and complains in the corner: “I don’t want to go to school. All the teachers hate me, and I hate them. All the students hate me, and I hate them.” “You don’t have a choice,” responds the mother. “You’re the principal.”

Israel has no choice as well. Neither does the former ambassador. She had to return daily to a place where she felt condemned and despised. Today, exactly one year after finishing her term, she’s sitting in her beautiful house in Even Yehuda, still overcome by fear. September is in the doorway, and she sees that Israel will be engulfed in the wave of an unprecedented political tsunami, at the end [of which] Israel will be thrown outside of the fence, subject to heavy sanctions and boycotts.

After taking off the diplomat suit, Shalev speaks eloquently and daringly, trying to confront the failures of public relations, acknowledging weaknesses and mistakes and even how she was fundamentally unsuitable for the role she was asigned to.

“Operation Cast Lead [the Gaza War] broke out. The Netanyahu government came to power, the talks with the Palestinians were stopped, the Goldstone report loomed into prominence, and the Marmara affair struck waves in the world,” analyzes Shalev. “Add to this the rewarding diplomatic effort of the Palestinians and Arab countries, and you’ll fathom why Israel is at a political nadir in the U.N. that we have never before been driven to. The U.N. is a drainage collector of all the hostility toward Israel and the global delegitimization of Israel. There, they already don’t recognize our right to exist. These days are the gravest of all you can possibly recollect.”

But the United States is with us.

“Not precisely. We’re going from bad to worse, and losing the United States as well on the way. U.S. Ambassador Dan Shapiro may say that relations are steadfast, strong and good, but this is no longer the same type of relationship and support. A rapport between the leaders is not the most important thing, but even that is nonexistent. Obama is not opening his arms to us. He’s different. In my view, this is very impressive. Distant, noble. He is a cold and rational person. He thinks unusually. Esther Brimmer, Clinton’s assistant secretary of state, told me once, “Help us to help you.” In short, these are not the days of John Bolton, who was the American ambassador to the U.N., but everybody thought he was the Israeli delegate.

What has changed?

“You should comprehend the totality of the new interests of the United States. It wants to be the leader of the world, not to isolate itself from it. Ambassador Susan Rice remarked that the U.N. is not perfect, but it’s impossible [to do] without it. There is new black elite in America today: Barack Obama, his wife Michelle, Susan Rice, Esther Brimmer who is very close to the president and the others. Everyone went to Harvard. They became very associated with the blacks from Africa, from the islands. Susan Rice became attached to them, socially and politically. We remained outside. We are the separatists, we help neither our friends nor ourselves.”

What’s going to happen in September?

“It’s terrifying. I don’t call this ‘the black September’ only because my son was born in September, but the state of affairs is serious. The president of the [General] Assembly will be Abdelaziz al-Nasser, Qatar’s ambassador to the U.N. He used to be my friend, despite Qatar being extremely against us. The president of the Security Council (which changes according to monthly rotation) will be the Lebanese ambassador. From our standpoint, that is an intolerable condition. They are chairing meetings, bringing up proposals, setting the agenda, gaining control of the whole show.

Meanwhile, there are no talks between us and the Palestinians, there is an absolute standstill. Sept. 20 may yield a resolution for the recognition of the Palestinian state within 1967 borders. There’s no way it won’t be accepted.

At a conference of experts organized by the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee last May, you noted that “As soon as the declaration on the disputable territories is received, the Yesha areas [West Bank] will not be considered as anything other than territories under occupation.”

“It is actually beyond that. Several of my fellow jurists comment that with the declaration, we won’t be regarded as an occupying power but instead, an invading force. This involves international sanctions, and they have fateful significance. Should the Palestinians be admitted as a member state in the U.N. through the Security Council, — we’re in complete trouble.”

Aren’t the Americans going to exercise their veto?

”The Americans are not our puppets. They are not in our pocket. You should remember that sanctions could be imposed on us even without agreement in the Security Council. The matter is based on the Resolution 377, adopted under the name ‘Uniting for Peace.’ Whatever will happen after the declaration, Israel will look like South Africa during the apartheid.”

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  1. The switch from chutzpah to panic is stark. Our military were almost talked into a Seven Days in May scenario after 9/11 by Israel’s military and its once Red friends, the neocons (professional glad-handers for the strategic weapons industry). Israel&Friends is why there’s no “post-Cold War peace dividend.” The US was drawn into war with Iraq in hope that momentum would push America right into war with Iran. But we ran out of gas and the Arabs own most of that, not Israel. So Israel fount itself charging forward ahead of its stead, ending up flat on its butt in Lebanon. Trying to recover it’s “bad” image, by massacring Gaza since then. its Gaza War war bill came due. Israel is suffering inflation in a world that lost interest in its only viable export: hightech killing tools and its only import, welfare. With this as background, the Palestinians are coming to the UN demanding that a 20 years old promise be kept, polarizing the Arabs back in line. This year’s American veto will not be repeated next year should the Palestinians try again because we’ll be in even more desperate need of a cup of Arab oil. Israel knows that Obama does is loyal only to dominant political forces. So it know that copying South Africa for five decades could well result in the same fate. Again they’re swinging from chutzpah to panic; again, the Holocaust psychosis will manifest.