A group of Republican Senators has sent a letter to President Obama on Wednesday urging him to suspend ties with UNESCO following a controversial resolution on Jerusalem holy sites.
“Given that U.S. law already forbids Amercian taxpayer money going to UNESCO, we urge your administration to join Israel in suspending ties to UNESCO,” the letter, signed by Senators Marco Rubio, Johnny Isakson, Mark Kirk and David Perdue, reads. “In 1984, the U.S. severed ties with UNESCO due to disparities between American foreign policy goals and UNESCO’s agenda. Because UNESCO continues to deviate from its founding mission and adopt one-sided, anti-Israel resolutions, it is time for the U.S. to stand with Israel and suspend our ties with UNESCO.”
The resolution, entitled “Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls,” was approved by secret ballot, with 10 voting in favor, eight opposed, two abstentions and one delegate, from Jamaica, absent. Tanzania and the Philippines reportedly voted against the resolution.
According to a report by Haaretz, the United States helped Israel to try to recruit countries that would demand a vote, thereby enable countries interested in doing so to vote for or against, or to abstain.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Wednesday that Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO Carmel Shama-HaCohen was recalled for consultations to protest the anti-Israel bias at the UN.”The theater of the absurd continues,” Netanyahu said during a speech at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya. “We will decide what to do and what further steps to take against this organization.”
In the letter sent to the president, the Republican senators, three of which are running for reelection on November 8th, write: “At a time when the Middle East is in turmoil and historical heritage sites are being destroyed by groups such as ISIS, it is imperative that the U.S. stands with Israel, our closest ally and the sole democracy in the region. Recent UNESCO resolutions that deny Jewish and Christian ties to holy sites in Jerusalem not only reinforces the necessity of withholding American funding from this counterproductive UN organization, but also call into question future U.S. membership in UNESCO.”