At the United Nations, a lynch mob for Israel is always just a moment away. The Islamic countries are a reliable source of venom, led by the Arab bloc; what we used to call the “non-aligned” are all aligned against Israel and happy to join the fun; and the Europeans can be counted on for hand-wringing rather than staunch resistance. Only the United States, and a few brave allies like Canada and Australia, can be counted upon to oppose diplomatic lynchings year after year; and only the United States can stop them in the Security Council.
In the American government, it is never the State Department bureaucracy that wishes to brave the endless assaults at the UN. Normally the resistance comes not from the various regional bureaus or from the International Organizations bureau, where Israel is so often viewed as a giant pain, but from the White House and sometimes (example: George Shultz) the Secretary of State.
This week the mob formed again, instantly, after the Gaza flotilla disaster, reinforced this time by the leadership of Turkey, whose language at the UN was more vicious than that used by the Arabs. As usual there was really only one question once the mob began to gather. It is the question that arose repeatedly in the Bush years—when the Hamas leaders Sheik Yassin and Abdel Aziz Rantisi were killed by Israel, when Israel acted in Gaza, when Israel put down the intifada in the West Bank, and during the 2006 war in Lebanon and the late 2008 fighting in Gaza: would Israel stand alone, or would the United States stand with her and prevent the lynching? Would the US, in Jeane Kirkpatrick's memorable phrase, "join the jackals?"