Haim Saban ‘deeply disturbed’ by US abstention on UN resolution
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Haim Saban ‘deeply disturbed’ by US abstention on UN resolution

Israeli-American TV mogul, a longtime Democratic donor, calls Kerry speech ‘one-sided,’ implores Obama to veto new anti-Israel measures

Haim Saban at a media summit in Sun Valley, Idaho, on July 8, 2009. (AP/Nati Harnik)
Haim Saban at a media summit in Sun Valley, Idaho, on July 8, 2009. (AP/Nati Harnik)

Israeli-American television mogul and top Democratic donor Haim Saban said he was “deeply disturbed” by the Obama administration’s abstention on a recent United Nations Security Council resolution labeling Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Israeli neighborhoods in East Jerusalem a “flagrant violation under international law.”

Saban also decried as “one-sided” US Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech the following week, which slammed Israeli settlement construction as the major obstacle to an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.

Saban, who has donated tens of millions of dollars to Democrats and pro-Israel causes over the years, said in a statement released by his publicist that “as a longstanding Democrat who has supported and defended President Obama on his treatment of Israel throughout his presidency, I am deeply disturbed by the Administration’s decision not to veto UN Security Council Resolution 2334 and Secretary Kerry’s subsequent one-sided speech.”

He added that rather than promoting peace and serving US interests, “these actions undermine our country’s long-standing support for Israel and harm any long-term prospects for peace, which is in our national interest.”

Samantha Power, center, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, votes to abstain during a UN Security Council vote on condemning Israel's settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Friday, Dec. 23, 2016 at United Nations Headquarters. (Manuel Elias/The United Nations via AP)
Samantha Power, center, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, votes to abstain during a UN Security Council vote on condemning Israel’s settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Friday, Dec. 23, 2016 at United Nations Headquarters. (Manuel Elias/The United Nations via AP)

Saban also called on US President Barack Obama to veto any additional measures pertaining to Israel before leaving office on January 20.

“Further, I urge the Obama Administration to stay true to our decades old policy by vetoing any additional biased UNSC resolutions that may be introduced at the Paris summit later this month, and refrain from issuing any other policy statements that would only make things worse.”

The billionaire also said that going forward, the US must preserve its position as the leading broker between the Israeli and Palestinian sides in the peace process.

“It is essential that the US — in its role as the only superpower today — take the necessary steps to maintain its credibility as an intermediary between the parties and work to advance a sustainable two-state solution, in which a Jewish, democratic State of Israel lives in peace and security alongside its neighbors or, until the conditions are ripe for peace, promote a separation between the two peoples.”

US Rep. Keith Ellison at a meeting of the Democratic National Committee on Friday, Dec. 2, 2016, in Denver, Colorado. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
US Rep. Keith Ellison at a meeting of the Democratic National Committee on Friday, Dec. 2, 2016, in Denver, Colorado. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Saban’s condemnation of the Obama administration’s abstention on the UN measure and Kerry’s speech is not the first time he has been critical of the Democratic Party’s recent shifting positions on Israel.

Speaking at the Brooking Institution’s annual Saban Forum in December, which is hosted and funded by the media mogul, Saban called Democratic National Committee chair candidate Representative Keith Ellison “an anti-Semite and anti-Israel individual,” saying the Minnesota congressman would be a “disaster for the relationship between the Jewish community and the Democratic Party.”

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