WASHINGTON– Members of the U.S. Senate on Wednesday began to rally around a bipartisan resolution assailing the United Nations over the anti-Israel (UNSC 2334) resolution that passed with the abstention of the U.S. last month.
The bill sponsored by Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) “rejects efforts by outside bodies, including the UNSC, to impose solutions from the outside.” The Senate bill is similar to a House resolution condemning the international body that is expected to be brought to a vote on Thursday.
“Efforts to delegitimize Israel have been underway a long time at the United Nations and have now sadly been aided by the outgoing administration, but the time has come to turn back the tide and renew America’s commitment to the Jewish state,” Rubio said in a statement.
The bill has received the support from over 20 Senators including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) highlightings its broad bipartisan appeal.
In a statement on Wednesday, Schumer blasted the outgoing Obama Administration for not following in the path of past administrations – both Democrat and Republican – in “protecting Israel from the vagaries” of the “biased” UN. “This Senate resolution reaffirms that peace must come through direct negotiations in order to achieve a sustainable two-state solution,” said Schumer.
The resolution is non-binding, unlike other legislation advanced by Republican Senators Dean Heller (R-NV), Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) to freeze certain assistance to the State Department until the U.S. Embassy is moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, reduce funding for the United Nations
The resolution also urges the current Administration and future administrations to uphold the practice of vetoing all United Nations Security Council resolutions that seek to dictate terms and a timeline for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on unilateral terms.
AIPAC called on its members to support the resolutions as the group viewed UNSC 2334 as “one-sided” and “anti-Israel.”
J Street, on the other hand, urged Congress to oppose the House resolution. “Res. claims U.S. departed from long-standing policy by abstaining. FALSE. U.S. backed/abstained from 50 votes criticizing Israeli acts since 67,” J-Street wrote on Twitter.
A poll released on Wednesday highlighted that a plurality of U.S. voters (35%) support the UN resolution. Only 28 percent were opposed to it. The poll also suggested the American public is split on the issue of settlements. According to the Politico/Morning Consult poll, 28 percent support Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank, while an equal number agree with longstanding U.S. policy opposing the expansion. Forty-three percent had heard nothing or not much about UNSC 2234.
A Republican Congressional staff official told Jewish Insider that the non-binding resolution slamming UNSC resolution 2234 “will almost certainly pass this week at least in the House. We can expect a pretty broad consensus on that.”
However, the informed GOP aide noted that the resolutions to cut the UN’s funding and move the Embassy to Jerusalem will likely require more time and take weeks to months. While Senator Ted Cruz has called on the U.S. to entirely suspend funding to the international body until measure 2234 is reversed, the Republican staffer noted: “We are not going to see a blanket ban on funding to the entire body. If anything happens in terms of limiting funding to the UN, you would see it to specific agencies or programs and not just US pulling our entire package from the UN.”
“Going forward, Congress will take action against efforts at the UN or beyond that use Resolution 2334 to target Israel,” Senator Cardin stated when introducing the measure.