Just before Christmas, the Obama administration purposefully abstained from and therefore allowed passage of a resolution detrimental to Israel in the United Nations Security Council. Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, President & CEO of National Religious Broadcasters, called this “a new low in the United Nations’ long history of anti-Israel actions” and “a breathtaking change in U.S. policy to defend the State of Israel.”
As the new Congress was sworn in this week, members of the House and Senate from both sides of the aisle also came out swinging. On Thursday, the House of Representatives passed a measure (H.Res.11) sponsored by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) opposing and calling for the repeal or complete overhaul of the UN statement. Similarly, in the Senate, Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) have prepared a resolution that “expresses grave objection” to the UN action and urges the Obama and incoming Trump administrations to continue vetoing such attempts to intervene in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The Senate resolution also warns the Obama administration to ensure that parameters for a treaty are not imposed at the Paris Conference slated for January 15, and it “notes that granting membership and statehood standing to the Palestinians at the United Nations… would likely trigger the implementation of penalties” under current U.S. law.
Significantly, some Members of Congress are already moving to punish the UN for its most recent anti-Israel pronouncement. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Chairman of the Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee, noted last month that the U.S. contributes about 22 percent of the UN budget. Before the UN vote, he declared, “If the United Nations moves forward with the ill-conceived resolution, I will work to form a bipartisan coalition to suspend or significantly reduce United States assistance to the United Nations.” This week, he reaffirmed his feelings, stating, “The United Nations will regret their vote.” Turning to the White House, Sen. Graham added, “By not standing with our close ally Israel, the Obama administration has empowered evil and been a very poor friend to democracy.”
Johnson said it would be “reprehensible” if reports that the Obama administration actively worked to orchestrate the UN resolution were true. He added, “At the least, it’s concerning that our current political leadership seems more wary of using diplomatic tools against Iran than it does in support of Israel.”
At Proclaim 16, last year’s NRB International Christian Media Convention, the NRB Board of Directors, which includes approximately 100 leaders in Christian media ministries, unanimously declared in a resolution, “While other nations and international bodies may alienate or abandon Israel, NRB calls on the United States to continue to stand steadfast by Israel in its time of need.” When the Board meets again in February, another resolution renewing NRB’s longstanding commitment to Israel is expected to be considered.
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
Published: January 5, 2017