One (via Politico):
U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice briefed a dozen top American Jewish leaders on an “all out,” if likely doomed, American effort to derail the Palestinian bid for a vote on statehood at the United Nations, according to three people at the meeting.
Rice met with the leaders at her apartment at the Waldorf Astoria in New York this morning in the run-up to a Palestinian effort that could include a vote in the Security Council or in the General Assembly, or both, next week. The U.S. has pledged to veto the former, and is also — Rice told the leaders — working to convince European and African countries to abstain from the vote, denying it the nine of fifteen votes required to pass the Security Council.…
The U.S. is also whipping votes in the General Assembly in hopes of, at least, cutting into its margin of victory, Rice told attendees. Israel and the U.S. formally back Palestinian statehood, but oppose passing it through the United Nations while negotiations are stalled in the region, a measure they argue could destabilize the region and delegitimize Israel.
“She didn’t have a starry-eyed approach,” one of the Jewish leaders told POLITICO. “There’s an awareness both on her part and on our part that assuming that the Palestinians go ahead with the resolution it’s going to pass the General Assembly and it’s going to pass by a comfortable margin.”
Two of the leaders of Jewish organizations in the room described it as a warm meeting, with attendees expressing their gratitude for the Administrations work. Malcolm Hoenlein, who runs the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations and has at times been an Administration critic told Rice the Administration gets less credit than it deserved, another guest said.
“Everybody recognized that it does make a difference what that ultimate vote looks like, and every negative or abstention you get is going to be helpful and is going to be valuable,” the first source said. The Europeans, in particular, are a crucial bloc: There has been discussion of their pushing for a watered down resolution and a formal statement from the “Quartet” of key international actors in exchange for their support, and failing that, the U.S. hopes it can win their “no” votes or abstentions.
The attendees, according to one of the people in the room, were AIPAC’s… Lee Rosenberg; World Jewish Congress chief Ron Lauder; the American Jewish Committee’s David Harris; the Anti-Defamation League’s Abe Foxman; Hoenlein; Daniel Mariaschin of B’Nai B’rith; Rabbi Steve Gutow of the Jewish Council on Public Affairs; Peace Now’s… Martin Bresler; J Street’s… Jeremy Ben-Ami;… Rabbi Eric Yoffie of the Union for Reform Judaism;… … Rabbi Julie Schonfeld of the Rabbinical Assembly; and… Rabbi Steven Weil of the Orthodox Union.
Two (via JTA):
At the United Nations, where Israel has become the favorite target of condemnatory resolutions, committees and debates, the United States remains Israel’s most steadfast and dependable ally.
So when I sat down last week with Susan E. Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, there was one question on my mind: How much of your job is spent on Israel?
“This week?” she said. “A hundred percent.” She laughed, saying she was only being a little bit facetious.
Then she turned serious.
“It’s a significant part of my job. It’s not the majority of my time, because I am the U.S. permanent representative,” Rice said. “But it is never the smallest piece. It is always there.”
One week it might be the Goldstone report on the Gaza War, another week it might be the report on the Turkish flotilla to Gaza or Israel’s Operation Cast Lead or the Durban review conference, she said.
“It’s a lot.”
That’s fodder for detractors who accuse the United States of doing Israel’s bidding, or worse. But Rice says it’s nothing of the kind.
“We’re doing what we think is right,” she told me.