I have wondered for quite some time as to why the United Nations exists. In reality, the UN is meaningless and its resolutions have no value. It is made up of primarily rogue nations who do not deserve to be given the right to sit at any gathering of world leaders, let alone be allowed to vote on any consequential ruling that could have any input on all of us.
The latest kerfuffle was a result of President Trump’s announcement that the United States will indeed recognize Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel and will consequently move the United States Embassy to Jerusalem after decades of reticence by successive US presidents to follow through with federal law, which was overwhelmingly passed in a bipartisan fashion in 1995. The United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution rejecting any recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in the wake of President Trump’s pronouncement. Yemen and Turkey drafted the General Assembly resolution. Thank G-d, General Assembly resolutions are nonbinding but are intended to carry a moral indicator of the temperament of the international community.
After the outrageous vote against the United States at the UN General Assembly, why should the US continue to ante up 22 percent a year of the UN’s budget and additionally 28 percent for its peacekeeping effort? In the end, 128 nations voted for the resolution against the United States, 9 voted against it, with 35 abstaining. Additionally, 21 nations did not even attend the meeting.
As a result of that ballot, we know who our friends are. We can no longer depend on Egypt, for example, to whom we provide $41.6 billion in aid each year. With all that, it voted against the US. Turkey is another one. It gets $155 million from us, but still went against us.
President Trump is not the first president
to speak openly about the ingratitude of the UN,
but he might be the first to have the guts to do something about it
Reaction to the resolution has been sharp and swift. President Trump wrote prior to the vote: “We’re watching those votes. Let them vote against us, we’ll save a lot. We don’t care.” UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said, “We’ll be honest with you. When we make generous contributions to the UN, we also have a legitimate expectation that our good will is recognized and respected. When a nation is singled out for attack in this organization, that nation is disrespected. What’s more, that nation is asked to pay for the privilege of being disrespected. The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out for attack.” Referring to US funding to the UN as a whole, she said, “We have an obligation to demand more of our investment. If our investment fails, we have an obligation to spend our resources in more productive ways.”
Binyamin Netanyahu posted a statement on social media decrying the resolution. “Israel completely rejects this preposterous resolution. Jerusalem is our capital. Always was. Always will be. But I do appreciate the fact that a growing number of countries refuse to participate in this theatre of the absurd.” He thanked Trump and Haley for their “stalwart support” of Israel and the truth. Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said, “Jerusalem is the holiest place on earth for the Jewish people. This is a fact that simply cannot be refuted. King David declared Jerusalem the capital of the Jewish people 3,000 years ago.”
President Trump is not the first president to speak openly about the ingratitude of the UN, but he might be the first to have the guts to do something about it. The US mission to the UN announced that it will cut $285 million from the 2018-19 UN budget as a result of its disappointment with the resolution.
The Palestinians are basking in the glory of the UN General Assembly resolution, claiming that President Trump’s move to declare Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is an obstruction to peace; but the real obstacle is the refusal of the Palestinian leaders to accept the reality of Israel as a permanent Jewish state. Every time the US makes demands of the Palestinians to end terrorism, to stop paying the families of dead terrorists, to cease seeking UN recognition of a Palestinian state that would replace Israel, the Palestinian leaders threaten to obfuscate and stop talking to US officials. They really do not want to negotiate; they want to take it all. Netanyahu has been saying for years that there is no one to sit with to discuss peace.
In the height of chutzpah, the Palestinians have refused to meet with Vice President Pence when he visits the region. I hope that this snub will cause the United States to cut off its aid to the Palestinian Authority once and for all.
The Palestinians have nothing to sell the world. President Abbas has prevented elections for a decade and denies his people most civil and political rights. Palestinians lack freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, women’s rights, and gay rights. Arabs in Israel have far more rights and freedoms than Arabs living in the West Bank and Gaza. The international community and the UN Human Rights Council are silent when it comes to Palestinian abuses inflicted on their own people. They only care if the alleged abuses can be blamed on Israel.
As a result of the American decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem, other countries are taking the initiative to talk about doing the same. For example, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales, after consulting with Netanyahu, has announced his country’s decision to move his country’s embassy to Jerusalem, as well. Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely reported that there are more than ten other countries about to follow suit. That would be the best shot in the arm Israel can have.
Cynthia Zalisky is the Executive Director of the Queens Jewish Community. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org