In what appears to be as close to a consensus as the world community can ever hope to achieve,
the United States reluctantly stood its ground on behalf of Israel
and on February 18, 2011
vetoed a resolution on the Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem
that was supported by all 14 of the other members of the UN Security Council.
The resolution was also sponsored by 130 member countries before being presented to the Council.
In the face of such near unanimity
the United States might have been expected to some respect for the views of every leading government in the world,
including all of its closest European allies, to have had the good grace to at least abstain from the vote.
Indeed, such an obstructive use of the veto builds a case for its elimination,
or at least the placement of restrictions on its use.
Why should an overwhelming majority of member countries be held hostage to the geopolitical whims of Washington,
or in some other situation, an outlier member trying to shield itself or its ally
from a Security Council decision enjoying overwhelming support.
Of course this American veto is not some idiosyncratic whim,
but is an expression of the sorry pro-Israeli realities of domestic politics,
suggesting that it is Israel that is the real holder of the veto in this situation,
and the U.S. Congress and the Israeli Lobby are merely designated as the enforcers.