(November 13, 2022 / JNS) In a renewed push of faith-based diplomacy, three heads of the U.S. Congressional Israel Allies Caucus have written to the leaders of more than two dozen countries urging them to vote to shutter two anti-Israel U.N. institutions in a vote that will come before the General Assembly later this year.
The appeal comes as the Palestinians pushed through a draft resolution at a U.N. committee Friday over the objections of the U.S. and Israel calling on the International Court of Justice to issue a legal opinion on Israel’s “prolonged occupation, settlement and annexation of Palestinian territory.” The unilateral move is expected to be approved by the General Assembly by the end of the year.
The letter, which was signed by Reps. Doug Lamborn (R.-Colo.), Chris Smith (R.-N.J.) and Steve Chabot (R.-Ohio), urges 27 world leaders to join the U.S. in opposing the annual resolutions that approve the continued function and activities of two anti-Israel UN bodies, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP) and the Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR). The signatories said the two bodies exist solely to delegitimize and defame the State of Israel.
“As you may be aware, the United Nations, which should be devoted to promoting peace and development through the world, expends an inordinate amount of time and resources on condemnation of Israel,” the Nov. 3 letter reads. “No other country at the U.N. is subjected to the intense scrutiny and opprobrium of similar U.N. Institutions. This one-sided and biased treatment of Israel does not contribute anything to peace or even to the Palestinians themselves.”
The letter was sent to the leaders of the Bahamas, Barbados, Colombia, Croatia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Ghana, Guyana, Haiti, Kenya, Jamaica, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Nauru, Palau, Panama, Philippines, Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Surinam, Togo, Uganda, Vanuatu and Zambia.
According to the congressmen, the two groups, which have repeatedly been reauthorized and funded since their establishment in the 1970s, serve as key propagators of anti-Israel activity at the U.N.
In recent years, however, support of these institutions in the General Assembly has been on a steady decline, they said, with fewer than half of the 193 members of the U.N. General Assembly voting to authorize and fund them last year, a drop the lawmakers attribute to a growing recognition among governments that these groups do nothing to advance peace.
“These two institutions are uniquely nefarious among U.N. bodies, serve only to undermine the State of Israel, and undercut constructive pathways to peace,” Lamborn said in a statement released by his office.
The Geneva-based U.N. Watch NGO welcomed all efforts by the U.S. and other states to do away with these bodies.
“These two U.N. entities—the CEIRPP and the DPR—are counterproductive to peace and contrary to the U.N. Charter principles of equality and universality,” U.N. Watch said in a statement.
“The 25-nation CEIRPP is the only G.A. human rights committee devoted to a single cause. Its reports systematically turn a blind eye to Palestinian terrorism against Israeli civilians. The annual resolution renewing its mandate employs anti-Israel terminology when it refers to the Nakba (catastrophe) of Israel’s founding. The DPR is dedicated to spreading anti-Israel propaganda the world over. It seeks to coordinate international boycotts against Israel instead of building bridges for peace.
“Moreover, these entities—funded by U.N. member states—divert limited U.N. resources from the world’s most pressing human rights catastrophes, such as civil wars in Yemen, Syria, Ethiopia and Myanmar, aggression by Russia against Ukraine, China’s mass incarceration of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang, and systematic repression of women by Iran and Saudi Arabia. U.N. Watch applauds all efforts by the U.S. and other UN member states to do away with these detrimental bodies which should have been done long ago,” the statement said.
The three American lawmakers previously sent a separate letter on the issue to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken urging him to press allied countries to vote against these funding resolutions.
“These two money-wasting institutions do nothing to advance the cause of peace, and on the contrary, represent a significant obstacle to reconciliations between Israelis and Palestinians,” the Nov. 2 letter states.
It notes the CEIRPP’s and DPR’s endorsement of the “right of return” for millions of descendants of Palestinian refugees from Israel’s 1948-49 War of Independence. The letter contrasts the Abraham Accords signed in 2020 between Israel and four Arab countries, which “offered a path forward to coexistence and joint cooperation” to the entire region, and the institutions which, they said, serve only to “exacerbate tensions and resentments.
“We appreciate that the U.S., year in and year out—under administrations of both parties—strongly opposes these resolutions,” the Nov. 2 letter states. “We believe it is time to move more rapidly to retiring [the institutions] and ask the Department of State to make that a diplomatic priority: to urgently press other countries with whom we cooperate to join us in voting against these harmful resolutions.”
Founded in 2006, the bipartisan Congressional Israel Allies Caucus was the first in a parliamentary network of 50 pro-Israel caucuses the world over which mobilize political support for Israel based on shared Judeo-Christian values.
Run under the aegis of the Israel Allies Foundation, this faith-based powerhouse, which includes the Knesset’s Christian Allies Caucus and the European Union Parliamentary Israel Allies Caucus, is testament to the burgeoning relations between Israel and the predominantly supportive evangelical Christian community around the world.
“It’s thanks to Jewish and Christian believers, coming together to educate those who bear political responsibility, that support for these two anti-Israel entities has been dropping steadily,“ said Josh Reinstein, president of the Israel Allies Foundation. “Now the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus is leading a push to finally get rid of them altogether. This is faith-based diplomacy at its best.”
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