Senior Obama administration officials are scrambling to provide explanations after multiple reports, including in the Washington Free Beacon, identified the White House as being a chief architect of a recent United Nations resolution condemning the state of Israel, according to conversations with multiple former and current U.S. officials.
On the heels of the hotly contested resolution, which condemned Israel for building homes in its capital, Jerusalem, senior Obama administration officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry and Vice President Joe Biden, have been identified as leading the charge to ensure the anti-Israel measure won approval by the U.N. Security Council.
Recent Stories in National Security
The administration’s denials of this charge broke down during the past several days as multiple reporters confirmed the Obama administration worked behind-the-scenes to help shape and forward the resolution.
The Free Beacon disclosed on Monday that Vice President Joe Biden phoned Ukraine’s president to ensure that country voted in favor of the resolution. While the White House issued multiple denials, further reports from Israel and Europe have confirmed a phone call between the leaders did in fact take place.
It also has come to light that Kerry held a meeting in December with senior Palestinian diplomat Saeb Erekat. Documents believed to have been leaked by Egypt confirm that Kerry and Erekat discussed forwarding the resolution, a charge that senior White House officials continue to deny.
White House National Security Council official Ned Price described such a meeting as a "total fabrication," despite public documents highlighting the powwow between Kerry and Erekat.
— Gidon Shaviv (@GidonShaviv) December 28, 2016
One senior Obama administration official who spoke to the Free Beacon said the White House did not help draft the resolution, as Israeli leaders have suggested in recent days.
"We've been entirely clear that this was an Egyptian resolution," said the official, explaining that the effort did not originate with the White House. Reports of a meeting between Kerry, Erekat, and White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice are not correct, the official said.
However, these claims have been disputed by multiple sources who spoke to the Free Beacon both on and off the record about the situation.
Jonathan Schanzer, a Middle East expert and vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told the Free Beacon that he spoke with U.S. officials in September who admitted that "a U.N. measure of some shape or form was actively considered," a charge that runs counter the White House’s official narrative.
"We know that this administration was at a minimum helping to shape a final resolution at the United Nations and had been working on this for months," Schanzer said.
"This isn't terribly dissimilar from the administration's attempts to spin the cash pallets they sent to Iran," he added, referring to the administration’s efforts to conceal the fact that it sent the Iranian government some $1.7 billion in cash.
"The fact is, the administration has been flagged as being an active participant in this U.N. resolution," Schanzer said. "Now they wish to try to spin this as inconsequential. This was an attempt by the administration to lead from behind, as they have done countless times in the past and which has failed countless times in the past."
As with the meeting between Kerry and Erekat, the phone call between Biden and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has been confirmed multiple times by a plethora of sources in the United States, Israel, and Europe following the Free Beacon’s initial report.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a weekly cabinet meeting that "the Obama administration initiated [the resolution], stood behind it, coordinated on the wording and demanded that it be passed."
The administration has not yet addressed the discrepancy between its own narrative and that being revealed in the press.
One veteran foreign policy insider and former government official who requested anonymity in order to speak freely described senior Obama administration officials as "lying sacks of shit" who routinely feed the press disinformation.
A senior congressional aide who is working on a package of repercussions aimed at the U.N. told the Free Beacon the administration is scrambling to provide excuses in response to the breakdown in its own narrative regarding the resolution.
"The administration got caught red handed, and now they're talking out of both sides of their mouth," said the source, who was not authorized to speak on record. "First they claimed the resolution was simply not objectionable. Now they say it will actually help advance peace. These denials only look more ridiculous with each passing day as new evidence surfaces that the White House was behind this anti-Israel resolution."
The Obama administration has been caught several times misleading the public about its campaign to discredit Israel, including the funding of an organization that sought to unseat Netanyahu in the country’s last election, according to one congressional adviser who works with Republican and Democratic offices on Middle East issues.