It started last week when the United Nations began considering a deeply one-sided resolution calling on Israel to end all Jewish settlement building in disputed areas of the West Bank and even East Jerusalem without a single word calling on Palestinians to end violent attacks on civilians or do anything else. Originally, the resolution was going to be introduced to the U.N. Security Council by Egypt, but President-elect Trump intervened and convinced the Egyptians to table it. Trump even tweeted about his opposition to the resolution that he said would not help the peace process and unfairly weaken Israel's negotiation position. Those events would have been enough to make the entire affair a truly unprecedented series of events involving a president-elect and foreign affairs.
But a day later, the same resolution was resurrected by New Zealand, Malaysia, Senegal and Venezuela, and the United States made the historic decision not to use its veto power on the Council to block one-sided anti-Israel resolutions and allowed this one to pass. And that's not all. Israel now even says it was actually the Obama administration that pushed for the resolution's re-introduction. The White House is denying that accusation, but Israel says it has "ironclad" proof.
After the resolution passed, Trump tweeted about the U.N. again, ominously saying "Things will be different after Jan. 20th." He followed that with a few more tweets over the weekend, including one where he slammed the U.N. as "just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time."
Of course, fast and furious work by an outgoing administration in its final weeks in office is nothing new in American history, especially when an opposing party's candidate is about to take over. It's a practice at least 216 years old, as it started when the outgoing Adams administration tried to jam through as many political appointments as possible in 1800 before the rival Jefferson administration came into power. And it's all legal, as the incoming Jefferson team learned when it tried to suppress some of those last-minute appointments and the Supreme Court ruled it could not in the landmark Marbury v. Madison case. When the new president's team takes office, there's really not much it can do about any appointments, pardons, etc. made by the former president's team. That resignation to the facts is one of the big reasons presidents from opposing parties, even in times of war, have yielded power to each other based on the results of the votes and not any coup d'etat.
But this time it's different. At no time in history has an outgoing administration attempted to make such a radical change in foreign policy and potentially make moves that will set a potentially permanent chain reaction of events in motion. The American-Israeli alliance is one of the closest allegiances not only in U.S. history, but all modern history. If this move results in Israel only being considered a strong ally depending on who's in the White House at any particular time, that will change everything not just for Israel but potentially all of our allies who may need to worry that a new precedent is being set by the Obama team right now.