Durbin Obstructs Pro-Israel Bill Condemning UNSC
WASHINGTON – Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) has delayed a Senate bill assailing the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for a resolution criticizing Israel, according to fellow Democrat Tom Udall (NM). The New Mexico legislator told Jewish Insider outside of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) hearing that Durbin has placed a “hold” on the measure, but if the Democratic Whip were to remove his objection, Udall would offer his own independent opposition.
While holding up a copy of Tuesday’s New York Times article describing Israel’s decision to expand settlement building, Udall blasted the current Senate legislation. “The issue is Senate Resolution 6 completely ignores the settlement issue… I think the settlements have to be part of the issue if you are passing a resolution,” he said.
On December 23, the United Nations unanimously approved UNSC Resolution 2334; the Obama Administration abstained allowing the measure to pass. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced Res. 6 on January 4 condemning the move at Foggy Bottom. 77 Senators are currently co-sponsoring the bill.
The House passed a similar resolution on January 5, only days after the new Congressional session began. However, the Senate bill has run into delays driven by a few Democratic lawmakers. On January 12, Udall offered an amendment to the legislation inserting language rebuking settlements. Seven Democrats — including Sen. Cory Booker — backed his measure, but a majority of members on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — including three Democrats — rejected Udall’s amendment.
After Senate Resolution 6 passed out of committee, the measure was placed on a “hotline” to determine if the bill would receive unanimous backing with the goal of getting the legislation to the Senate floor. Once Senator Durbin anonymously objected, the legislation was delayed for an indefinite period of time.
Senator Durbin’s office declined to respond to Jewish Insider’s repeated request for comment.
AIPAC, the Christian United for Israel (CUFI) and the ADL have lobbied aggressively on behalf of Senate Resolution 6 to “support direct negotiations (and) not imposed solutions.” The pro-Israel organizations have pushed to pass the resolution as quickly as possible in order to send a statement of support for the Jewish state.
“I presented an amendment during the committee. The amendment was supported by a majority of democrats (on the SFRC). I want the opportunity to offer that amendment on the floor,” Udall added.
The Democratic objection can be reversed if a cloture measure is passed, requiring the support of 60 Senators, or a compromise is reached.