Sen. Tim Cruz and Sen. Lindsey Graham have banded together to introduce a bill that will effectively defund payments from the USA to the United Nations. Currently, the budget for operations is split among the member nations, with the USA paying a disproportionately large segment of the bills. Yet, Cruz and Graham have decided that the recent resolution passed by the United Nations against Israel – namely, its alarming declaration that the settlements in East Jerusalem and on the West Bank are illegal – is not something that should go unanswered.
The problem erupted December 23 when the resolution was passed, and the Obama administration – which abstained from voting – responded as if it had been a day like any other day at the United Nations.
It was the combination of a cavalier response from the Obama administration and the disproportionate terms of the resolution that prompted nothing less than outrage by Americans who have long stood by our friendship with Israel as a staple of USA-Middle East foreign policy.
This was yet another chapter in the shenanigans Obama has been pulling as he nears the end of his term in office. Suddenly, the USA is reversing its long-held policy regarding Israel, the Russians are the biggest threat to our security, and it is high time to implement a federal policy on cyber terrorism.
Really? All in the last eight weeks of his administration? Obama is at his passive-aggressive best, but anyone who looks for themselves can easily detect this was all part of a plan to leave Trump in a lurch. Obama has been quietly messing with US policy on Israel, reversing his claim that Russia has not been a threat to our security since the cold war ended, and now he says for the first time we need to formulate a USA policy on cyber terrorism.
All of this comprises more drastic activity than perhaps the entire last two years of his administration combined. No-drama-Obama is on a tear, and no doubt satisfied with himself for kicking up so much dust on the way out.
The United Nations resolution walked back several assumptions that had been agreed upon between Israel and the USA for decades – several extremely important assumptions. For example, the West Wall is acclaimed as the single most important religious site in the Jewish religion. Obama made a big point of getting a photo op wearing a yarmulke and praying in front of the West Wall in 2008. Yet, the recent resolution stipulates that the Western Wall is actually part of Palestine.
Furthermore, Israel immediately accused the USA of being behind the resolution, even though the USA had abstained from the vote. The USA has veto power in the United Nations, and could have shut down the resolution by simple rejecting it.
These two aspects of the United Nations resolution, the egregious rejection of previous assumptions that had long been held as sacred by Israel and its allies, as well as the sudden appearance and passing of the resolution with no USA supervision or foreknowledge of it, were the focus of the outrage.
However, the anti-United Nations sentiment from Cruz and Graham goes deeper. The heartfelt criticism of the United Nations is itself based on two wider points of interest. First, according to FOX News, “The U.N. General Assembly adopted 20 anti-Israel resolutions this year, while passing just four for the rest of the world – one for North Korea, one for Syria, one for Iran and one for Russia.”
It is impossible for any reasonable person to believe that Israel is the seat of evil on the planet, and deserves to have twenty resolutions against it compared to only one a piece for countries like N. Korea, Syria, Iran, and Russia. It is as if the United Nations is saying by its actions that Israel is twenty times more of a threat to world security than N. Korea or Iran, for example.
Second, in the United Nations budget that is shared by the world community of member nations, there is a system that allots payments of each country according to the wealth of the nation. For example, in this scheme, 35 member nations pay approximately .001 percent of the regular budget, which equals $28,269 each. There are 20 member nations paying approximately .0001 percent of the minimum peacekeeping assessment of $8,470 each. Yet while these countries get a big break on the price of being a member of the United Nations, the USA covers 22 percent of the United Nations budget – $622 million – and 28 percent of the peacekeeping budget – $2.402 billion.
The bottom line? America is paying way more than its fair share of the United Nations budget and peacekeeping operations. The USA is covering a whopping 22% of the United Nation’s budget for operations and peacekeeping, and Cruz and Graham are sending a message on behalf of a lot of Americans: defund the United Nations until and unless it reverses the Israel resolution of December 23, 2016.
Here is the payoff for the USA: while member nations are routinely paying small fractions of one percent of the United Nations operational budget and peacekeeping missions, the USA outshines and out pays everyone. However, the United Nations summarily passed numerous resolutions against Israel, while it refuses to pass similar resolutions against Thailand, for example, which is well-known for being a source, transit, and destination country for human trafficking.
Perhaps it is not widely known, but the United Nations has instituted an Office to Monitor and Combat Human Trafficking in Persons. Every year, it publishes a listing of all the member nations and it places them in Tier, Tier 2, or Tier 3. Tier 3 is reserved for those countries with the most unacceptable human trafficking violations.
The following countries are on Tier 3, and absolutely nothing has been done in the form of resolutions or sanctions against them:
Tier 3: United Nations members guilty of worst human trafficking offenses in 2016
- Central African Republic
- Equatorial Guinea
- The Gambia
- Korea, North
- Marshall Islands
- Papua New Guinea
- South Sudan
Countries on Tier 3 receive no punishment from the United Nations – just a warning. Since 2001, the United Nations has supposedly been dedicated to fighting human trafficking – so what? Who cares? Not even the United Nations cares. It has bigger fish to fry – like Israel.
The United Nations has no right to allow human rights violations to take place every day, with no resolutions or sanctions imposed on many countries around the world, while it lauds a pretense to power in an attempt to dismantle Israel in front of the whole world. This is one of those rare moments in national politics when the actions of Sen. Cruz and Sen. Graham have actually created a platform that will unite many Americans. As Sen. Cruz noted, this issue goes beyond party lines and it stands to unite all Americans who are friends of Israel.