Sen. Cruz: Congress Must Cut U.S. Taxpayer Funding to the United Nations Unless It Repeals Disgraceful Anti-Israel Resolution
In Senate floor speech, commends colleagues on both sides of the aisle for uniting to repudiate the Obama administration’s shameful attacks on Israel
January 5, 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today delivered a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate confirming America’s unshakable alliance with Israel and condemning the Obama administration’s shameful attacks on Israel on its way out the door. Sen. Cruz called for cutting U.S. taxpayer funding to the United Nations unless the U.N. Security Council repeals its discriminatory anti-Israel resolution #2334.
“President Obama and John Kerry's actions were designed to secure a legacy, and in that they have succeeded,” said Sen. Cruz. “History will record and the world will note that Barack Obama and John Kerry are relentless enemies of Israel. Kerry's speech, through stunning moral equivalence between our great friend and ally Israel and the Palestinian authority, which is currently formed in a unity government with the vicious terrorists of Hamas. Secretary Kerry declared the Hamas regime radical in the same way he declared the duly elected government of Israel extreme. That moral equivalence is false and it is a lie. The [Israeli Defense Forces], defending the people of Israel, protecting people and keeping them safe, is not the same moral equivalent of terrorists who strap bombs to their body and seek to murder innocent women and children. Kerry declared the vicious terrorism sponsored by Hamas equal to the Israeli settlements in the West Bank. And he equated Israel's celebration of its birth with the Palestinian description of this event as a disaster.”
Cruz continued: “Unlike Barack Obama and John Kerry, I do not consider the existence and creation of Israel to be a disaster. And the government of the United States should not be suggesting such a thing. Kerry's speech attempted to lay out an historic and seismic shift toward the delegitimization of our ally Israel. And it is a sign of their radicalism and refusal to defend American interests that Obama and Kerry chose to attack the only inclusive democracy in the Middle East, a strong, steadfast ally of America, while simultaneously turning a blind eye to the Islamic terrorism that grows daily.”
Sen. Cruz’s speech may be viewed here and a rush transcript of his remarks is below:
Mr. President, in the final days of the Obama administration's second term, with all eyes focused on the president-elect, the temptation to try to take a dramatic action to seal a cherished policy legacy must have been almost irresistible. So it proved for President Obama on December 23, 2016, when he betrayed decades of robust bipartisan American support for Israel at the United Nations by abstaining from a completely biased resolution that condemns our close friend and ally Israel, and condemns all the so-called settlement activity defined as any construction and any territory won by Israel in the Six-Day War.
U.S. Policy for decades has been to stand up for Israel at the United Nations, a hotbed of anti-semitism that discriminately condemns Israel more than any country in the world, particularly when resolutions are being offered up that are outrageously biased, that attempt to predetermine the outcome of negotiations, that prejudge the basis for negotiations or that try to dictate terms to Israel. We have seen this pattern of appealing to the U.N. from the Obama administration over and over again with the disastrous deal, the nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran, as well as the U.N. Convention on Climate Change, two international agreements that significantly threaten the security and prosperity of the United States. Both of them should have been submitted to this body, the United States Senate, as treaties, but the president chose instead to try to impose them through the United Nations because he knew that they would never be ratified by the Senate even when this Senate had a Democratic majority.
So the Obama administration's strategy instead has been to curb American power by subjugating our national interest to the globalist agenda of the U.N., a policy that he is now attempting to extend to Israel.
Here are some of the main problems with UNSC Resolution 2334.
First, it is an attack on Israeli sovereignty as it falsely defines as illegal under international law building activity within Israel's own borders, which should be an internal Israeli issue. The historical connection of the Jewish people to the land of Israel did not begin in 1967. And let us not forget that the Six-Day War was a defensive war fought almost 50 years ago by the Jewish state against the Palestinians and their Arab enablers who were gathering in a concerted effort to wipe Israel off the map. Against all odds, Israel won quickly and decisively, and the map was redrawn to ensure that Israel was not endangered by its own borders, the weakness of which Israel's enemies had attempted to exploit. Of course, the defeated party, the Palestinians, have not accepted this outcome, and Israel has time and time again invited them to negotiate a resolution, just one that involves Israel's continued existence as a Jewish state, something that the Palestinian Authority has over and over again refused to acknowledge or accept. Therein lies the bottom line for Israeli security. The pre-1967 lines proved indefensible, so rather than, as the Obama administration treats it, some sort of gold standard, Israel's security interests has deemed them intolerable, and any resolution to this issue should not be dictated by the United States or the United Nations but rather should be negotiated and decided upon directly by the sovereign nation of Israel and by the Palestinians.
Secondly, the resolution falsely claims Israel's sovereignty over the eastern part of Jerusalem and areas that it controls after the Six-Day War, including Judea and Samaria, are supposedly occupied Palestinian territory. Mr. President, this is nothing short of absurd. What that means under the terms of the United Nations resolution that the Obama administration acquiesced to -- and indeed there are considerable reports that the Obama administration, President Obama and John Kerry, actively encouraged and facilitated under the terms of that resolution the Jewish quarter-- the old city of Jerusalem is illegal and illegitimate and not justifiably a part of Israel. Under the terms of that resolution, the location of holy sites for the Jewish people including the most important holy sites, the Temple Mount, is illegal and illegitimate to be a part of Israel. And under the terms of the resolution, the Western Wall, where Jews from all over the world come to pray, is deemed occupied Palestinian territory, illegal and illegitimate.
It's more than a little ironic that President Obama went to the Western Wall to place a yarmulke there, pretending to show respect to Israel and yet his administration, in an outgoing act of contempt, declares the Western Wall not part of the nation of Israel. This couldn't be further from the truth, and it was also an affront to Jews around the world that the resolution was adopted on the eve of Hanukkah.
For eight days, Jews lit candles all over the world to remember the miracle that happened there, to commemorate the heroic battle fought by the Maccabees that liberated Jerusalem, restorted the right to worship freely and the rededication of the temple in Jerusalem. How ironic that on the eve of a celebration liberating Jerusalem and rededicating the temple in Jerusalem, that the administration and the United Nations would declare that Jerusalem and the temple are not legitimately part of Israel. How disgraceful. The United States should not be facilitating the adoption of a resolution that at its core attempts to delegitimize Israel, attempting to distort and rewrite recent history as well as the millennia-old historical connection of the Jewish people to the lands of Israel.
Third, the resolution will also help fuel Palestinian diplomatic, economic and legal warfare campaign against Israel, particularly because of its provision that calls on states to make a distinction in their dealings with Israel between pre-1967 Israel and Israel beyond the 1967 lines, encouraging boycotts, divestments and sanctions against Israel. And potentially leading to Israelis and Americans being brought in front of the International Criminal Court. Palestinian leaders are already promising to use this resolution to push the International Criminal Court to launch a former investigation against Israel. Mr. President, that was not an unintended consequence of this action. That was precisely the intent of the United Nations and the Obama administration to facilitate assaults on the nation of Israel.
Yet even after this disgraceful United Nations resolution, it was clear that the United States was not yet done, with Secretary of State John Kerry delivering just days later, a truly shameful speech attacking Israel. His speech, very much like Kerry's 2014 remarks likening Israel to an apartheid state, will only inflame rising anti-semitism in Europe. It will encourage the mullahs who hate Israel and hate America, and it will further facilitate law-fare.
President Obama and John Kerry's actions were designed to secure a legacy, and in that they have succeeded. History will record and the world will note that Barack Obama and John Kerry are relentless enemies of Israel. Kerry's speech, through stunning moral equivalence between our great friend and ally Israel and the Palestinian authority, which is currently formed in a unity government with the vicious terrorists of Hamas. Secretary Kerry declared the Hamas regime radical in the same way he declared the duly elected government of Israel extreme. That moral equivalence is false and it is a lie. The [Israeli Defense Forces], defending the people of Israel, protecting people and keeping them safe, is not the same moral equivalent of terrorists who strap bombs to their body and seek to murder innocent women and children. Kerry declared the vicious terrorism sponsored by Hamas equal to the Israeli settlements in the West Bank. And he equated Israel's celebration of its birth with the Palestinian description of this event as a disaster.
Unlike Barack Obama and John Kerry, I do not consider the existence and creation of Israel to be a disaster. And the government of the United States should not be suggesting such a thing. Kerry's speech attempted to lay out an historic and seismic shift toward the delegitimization of our ally Israel. And it is a sign of their radicalism and refusal to defend American interests that Obama and Kerry chose to attack the only inclusive democracy in the Middle East, a strong, steadfast ally of America, while simultaneously turning a blind eye to the Islamic terrorism that grows daily.
But, unfortunately, President Obama still has two weeks left in his presidency, and he may not yet be done betraying Israel. Next week on Sunday, January 15, France is convening a conference with 70 other nations designed to serve as an extension of the U.N. resolution and the Kerry speech, an all-out assault on Israel. I am deeply concerned that what is decided at this conference will be used to try to further impose parameters or even audaciously recognize a so-called independent Palestinian state through another Security Council resolution. The Security Council is scheduled to meet on January 17. Conveniently, three days before Obama and Kerry leave office.
Let me speak for a moment to our friends and allies across the globe. When the President of the United States, when the administration of the United States, attempts to encourage you to support their positions in the United Nations, that can be highly persuasive. It has been an arena, a forum that Barack Obama has flourished in, even as he has shown condescension and contempt for the Congress of the United States and the people of the United States. But to our friends and allies, let me remind you that the Obama administration is coming to an end on January 20. If you desire to continue being a friend to America, if you desire to continue close working relationships to America, then I call upon our allies, do not join in attacking Israel on January 15 in France or on January 17 in the Security Council.
The new administration, President-elect Trump, has loudly condemned the U.N. resolution and the Obama administration's complicity in its passage. I would encourage our friends and allies not even to attend the January 15 conference, or if they do choose to attend, to oppose and speak out against any further attempts to attack or undermine or delegitimize Israel.
And I want to commend my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for offering resolutions to repudiate this administration for their actions of the last few weeks. It says something that you see Republicans and Democrats in Congress coming together united to say, this action by the Obama administration is beyond the pale. Let me underscore again to our friends and allies, to our ambassadors, to heads of state, to friendships and relationships that we value so much, listen to the bipartisan consensus of Congress and do not go along with the bitter-clinging radicalism of the Obama administration attempting to lash out, strike out at Israel with their last breath in office.
As commendable as these resolutions are, I believe the Senate and the Congress needs to go further, that we need to take concrete steps so that there will be repercussions and consequences for the United Nations and the Palestinians for their behavior. That is why I'm working with my colleague, Senator Lindsey Graham, on introducing legislation along with other members of this body designed to cut U.S. taxpayer funding going to the U.N., unless and until they repeal this disgraceful anti-Israel resolution.
We know previously that one way to get the U.N.'s attention is to cut off their money. We know from the failure of other U.N. organizations to recognize so-called Palestine as a member state, after American taxpayer dollars were withheld from UNESCO for doing so in 2011, that the U.N. over and over again values its pocketbook over its leftist values. And however unintentionally, President Obama's misguided foreign policy has led to an unprecedented rapprochement between Israel and America's Arab allies, such as Egypt and Jordan and the U.A.E. We have also seen hopeful signs of shifting positions at the United Nations as countries such as Brazil and Mexico and Italy and Australia have recently signaled that they may no longer reflexively vote in favor of the Palestinians. Great Britain, although it voted for the resolution, has recently demonstrated an unprecedented degree of support for the Jewish state.
These changes represent a significant opportunity for the United States to bolster one of our most important allies, an opportunity we can preserve for the president-elect by not letting Mr. Obama squander it on the way out the door. America should be leading the charge at the United Nations and around the world to rally burgeoning support for Israel, not trying to stab the Jewish state in the back.
Just over a week ago, I spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. I told the prime minister that despite the disgraceful actions at the United Nations, that America stands resolutely with the nation of Israel, that the American people stand with Israel, and that I believe there's a very real possibility that the extreme and radical actions of Obama and Kerry will in fact backfire.
It's not accidental that they waited until after the election to do this. They could have tried to do this this summer, but Obama and Kerry knew well that the American people do not support their attempting to attack Israel. So they waited until after the election. They waited until they were on their way out the door. Kerry in his speech said Israel cannot be both democratic and Jewish, one or the other, but not both. Mr. President, this is an inanity that is deemed profound only in Marxist faculty lounges. Israel is Jewish, it is democratic, and it is and should remain both. And I believe by revealing just how extreme they are, by removing the fake mask of support for Israel that Obama and Kerry have chosen to do in the last several weeks, that it will help to galvanize support in this body and across the world for our friend and ally, the nation of Israel.
Israel is not only our friend and ally, but it is a partner of the United States. That alliance benefits the vital national security interests of America. The Israeli military benefits the national security of the United States of America. The Israeli intelligence services benefit the United States of America. Israel's steadfastness against radical Islamic terrorism, which has declared war on both Israel and America, benefits the national security interests of this country. It is Israel, the thriving one-and-only Jewish state that stands on the front lines for America and, more broadly, Western civilization against the global threats we face.
And our commitment to Israel must be restored and strengthened, and I look forward to taking action with my colleagues, I hope, on both sides of the aisle in the near future to repudiate Obama's shameful attack on Israel, to repudiate the United Nations' efforts to undermine Israel and to reaffirm America's strong and unshakable friendship and support for the nation of Israel.