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ICYMI: Sen. Cruz Op-Ed in The Washington Times: 'America’s Missed UNESCO Opportunity'

October 24, 2016

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WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today penned an op-ed for The Washington Times rebuking the Obama administration for failing to rally support for Israel at the UNESCO Executive Board meeting in Paris last week during a contentious vote on the “Occupied Palestine” resolution, which attempts to expunge thousands of years of Jerusalem’s Jewish identity.

Cruz also highlighted his and Rep. Ros-Lehtinen’s recent efforts in Congress to denounce this unconscionable attempt to re-write Jerusalem’s history, including their recent letter to members of the UNESCO Executive Board and today’s letter to members of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee.

“America should be rallying our friends and allies to oppose these insidious UNESCO resolutions that attempt to undermine the historic connection of the Israeli people with all of their country, including their capital, Jerusalem,” Sen. Cruz wrote. “And if President Obama continues to prioritize his political legacy over the national security interests of the United States—which would be a secure and sovereign Israel—Congress at least should have the courage to lead this charge.” 

Read the op-ed in its entirety here. Excerpts are available below: 

…When given an unprecedented opportunity to rally support for Israel at UNESCO as nations that have voted reflexively in support of the Palestinians shifted their positions, America chose to look the other way. 

The Obama administration has attempted to explain that America was powerless to prevent the resolution’s passage because our laws have prohibited funding to UNESCO after it accepted “Palestine” as a member in 2011, and that the solution is to restore funding. But other UN entities have not followed UNESCO’s lead because they disagree on the Palestinian issue, but rather because they fear the loss of the US taxpayer dollars that pay their salaries—leverage America can and should exploit. Additionally, support for the Palestinians no longer seems to be an article of faith for a number of countries such as Mexico and Brazil, not to mention our NATO ally Italy, and they now might be inclined to join with the US in supporting Israel. 

But this is not an opportunity the Obama administration appears interested in seizing.

… 

Unfortunately for Mr. Obama, he may well have selected a rare issue on which there is robust, bipartisan consensus in Congress. I was pleased to send a letter with Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and thirty nine of our House and Senate colleagues from both sides of the aisle last week to members of UNESCO’s Executive Board urging them to oppose the “Occupied Palestine” resolution on the grounds that it was an unconscionable attempt to re-write Jerusalem’s history.

UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee will meet this week to consider yet another resolution that again denies the historical connection of the Jewish people to holy sites in Jerusalem, so Rep. Ros-Lehtinen and I are sending another bipartisan, bicameral letter urging opposition to this biased resolution as well.

… 

America should be rallying our friends and allies to oppose these insidious UNESCO resolutions that attempt to undermine the historic connection of the Israeli people with all of their country, including their capital, Jerusalem.

And if President Obama continues to prioritize his political legacy over the national security interests of the United States—which would be a secure and sovereign Israel—Congress at least should have the courage to lead this charge. 

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