Some of the nation’s top Republicans are threatening to end U.S. funding for the United Nations after the international body passed a resolution Friday to condemn Israel for building settlements in the so-called Palestinian territories.
“Spoke w/ Israeli PM @netanyahu tonight to wish him Happy Chanukah & assure him of strong support in Congress. No US $ for UN until reversed,” Sen. Ted Cruz tweeted on Christmas Eve.
In that message, Cruz finds himself on the same page as one of his biggest Republican foes in the Senate. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham told CNN this weekend that he was in favor of defunding the U.N. until the resolution was overturned.
“It’s that important to me,” Graham said. “This is a road we haven’t gone down before. If you can’t show the American people that international organizations can be more responsible, there is going to be a break. And I am going to lead that break.”
Fourteen U.N. countries voted Friday to officially condemn Israel for building settlements in the West Bank and disputed areas of Jerusalem. The U.S. is typically a reliable veto when these resolutions come along, but President Obama chose to abstain from the vote this time. In doing so, he drew criticism not only from Republicans and the Netanyahu government but even top Democrats like Sen. Chuck Schumer.
On Friday, Secretary of State John Kerry came out in defense of Obama’s decision to leave Israel swinging in the wind.
“The United States acted with one primary objective in mind: to preserve the possibility of the two state solution, which every U.S. administration for decades has agreed is the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” Kerry said. “Two states is the only way to ensure Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state, living in peace and security with its neighbors, and freedom and dignity for the Palestinian people.”
As Kerry himself said, the two-state solution has been favored by both parties for years. And yet, no president before Obama took the dramatic step of allowing the anti-Semitic nations of the world to gang up on Israel. This was a political jab at Donald Trump, a parting shot at Netanyahu, and the cherry on top of Obama’s foreign policy sundae.
Calling Israel one of our closest international allies understates the reality of the situation. It would almost be closer to the truth to call it an American adjunct. They are about as close to being an American outpost in the Middle East as you can get without blatantly making them the 51st state. We fund their military, we bolster their economy, and we ensure their security in a way that no country protects any other country. As ludicrous as it would be for the U.S. to abstain from a vote condemning our own country, Obama’s stunt is only slightly less ridiculous.
Alas, the Netanyahu government is Israel’s equivalent to the Republican Party, so Obama is willing to risk an international crisis for the sake of making a political point.
Looking at the philosophy behind the last eight years of domestic and foreign policy, we probably shouldn’t be surprised.