Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Saturday night called on the United States to withhold funding to the United Nations, until such time that the global body reverses the resolution condemning Israeli presence in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem.
In a tweet, Cruz said he had spoken with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Saturday night to assure him of the strong support Israel has in Congress in the wake of President Barack Obama choosing to break with protocol and abstain during the vote at the UN Security Council, thus allowing the resolution to be approved.
“Spoke w/ Israeli PM @netanyahu tonight to wish him Happy Chanukah & assure him of strong support in Congress. No US $ for UN until reversed,” tweeted Cruz.
Cruz’s comments appear to be a show of support for fellow Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who announced earlier Saturday he will propose a measure to pull U.S. funding for the UN unless the UN Security Council repeals the resolution it passed condemning Israeli settlements.
“It’s that important to me,” Graham told CNN. “This is a road we haven’t gone down before. If you can’t show the American people that international organizations can be more responsible, there is going to be a break. And I am going to lead that break.”
“I will do everything in my power, working with the new administration and Congress, to leave no doubt about where America stands when it comes to the peace process and where we stand with the only true democracy in the Middle East, Israel,” Graham added, noting that American funding accounts for 22% of the UN’s budget.
Republican lawmakers blasted Obama shortly after Friday’s vote, with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) saying the decision to abstain in the UN Security Council vote was “absolutely shameful.”
“Today’s vote is a blow to peace that sets a dangerous precedent for further diplomatic efforts to isolate and demonize Israel. Our unified Republican government will work to reverse the damage done by this administration, and rebuild our alliance with Israel,” Ryan said in a statement.
Senator John McCain (R-AZ) said Obama’s abstention “has made us complicit in this outrageous attack” and added the abstention “emboldens” Israel’s enemies.
On Saturday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called the UN resolution “distorted and shameful”.
“The resolution determines that the Jewish Quarter [in the Old City of Jerusalem] is ‘occupied territory’. This is delusional. The resolution determines that the Western Wall is ‘occupied territory’. This too is delusional. There is nothing more absurd than calling the Western Wall and the Jewish Quarter occupied territory. There is also an attempt here, which will not succeed, to impose final settlement terms on Israel,” Netanyahu said at the lighting of the first Hanukkah candle at an event saluting wounded IDF and security forces veterans and victims of terrorism.
“We reject this resolution outright, just as we rejected the UN resolution that determined that Zionism was racism. It took time but that resolution was rescinded; it will take time but this one will also be rescinded. Now I will tell you how it will be rescinded. It will be rescinded not because of our retreats but because of our steadfastness and that of our allies,” he continued.
Netanyahu also said that “the Obama administration carried out a shameful anti-Israel ploy at the UN” by choosing to abstain.