BAYEFSKY: Nikki Haley Nailed It: President Trump, Make the UN Pay

Donald Trump

For decades, the United Nations has spit in the face of the United States. The demonization of the Jewish state – modern antisemitism – has been one of many UN policy priorities totally antithetical to American values and interests.

The General Assembly vote on December 21 condemning President Donald Trump’s implementation of American law recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel ought to be the last time America takes it lying down.

Let’s be clear about how we got here. Thursday’s meeting was the seventeenth time the UN General Assembly has convened the so-called “tenth” emergency special session on Israel since 1997. That’s because the “tenth” session is effectively permanent. At the end of the meeting, the President of the General Assembly stressed that the session was merely “adjourned.”

What such UN-eze means for real people is this: There has never been an emergency special session of the General Assembly on anything but Israel-bashing in twenty years. 500,000-plus dead and seven million displaced in Syria over seven years – and not one emergency special session. Neither a million dead in Rwanda, nor two million dead over two decades in Sudan, ever prompted a single emergency special session.

The issue Thursday was not about Jerusalem. It was about Jew-hatred. The resolution is the General Assembly’s twenty-first resolution in 2017 slamming Israel for violating “rights” and “law.”  There was one resolution on North Korea. One on Iran. And one on the United States – criticizing U.S. Cuba policy. Altogether, there were nine resolutions critical of human rights records in specific states in the rest of the world combined.

The game is Jerusalem and 1967 borders. But the endgame is the 1948 borders and the legitimacy of a Jewish state.

The issue today was also not simply about President Trump. The State Department produces an annual report computing “coincidence of voting” in the General Assembly – or how often other countries vote the same way as the United States. In 2016, counting all the final draft resolutions of the full plenary of the General Assembly – that were adopted by a vote and on which the U.S. voted yes or no – “coincidence of voting” with the United States was a mere 37 percent.

U.S. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley cut to the chase: dollars and cents. On today’s “attack,” she pointed out to the General Assembly that the United States is “asked to pay more than anyone else” for “the ‘privilege’ of being disrespected.”

But she and the President went further. They’ve promised that this time the United States will not be cowering in submission while the UN majority chants “UN multilateralism” because back home these states are too busy unilaterally oppressing their own people.

Speaking in advance of the vote at a Cabinet meeting, President Trump said: “We’re not going to be taken advantage of any longer.” And Haley spelled it out: “The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out for attack in the General Assembly for the very act of exercising our right as a sovereign nation. We will remember it when we are called upon to once again make the world’s largest contribution to the United Nations.”

Today’s vote – 128 for, 9 against, 35 abstentions, and 21 sitting on their hands — means a few more “no-shows” got the administration’s memo that freedom isn’t free.

But the numbers tell the UN story: whatever the organization was meant to be in the 20th century, in the 21st century American taxpayers are paying for an institution owned and operated by anti-American non-democracies.

There is no time like the present to put an end to this travesty.

It so happens that today and tomorrow the United States will be asked to make the world’s largest contribution to the United Nations. The General Assembly budget committee is meeting today to take a decision on funding the UN Human Rights Council – a “human rights” body composed of the likes of Qatar, China, Cuba, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela. Funding will include paying for a UN blacklist of American companies doing business with Israel, along with a whole host of “trash America first” programs.

The Trump administration should vote against funding the Human Rights Council at the committee level. When the resolution passes anyway – and circles back around, bundled together with all the other anti-American and anti-Israel goings-on from across the General Assembly –  the Trump administration should vote against the entire UN 2018-2019 biennium budget.

This move has clear precedent. On December 22, 2007, the Bush administration voted against the whole 2008–2009 UN budget after the General Assembly decided to pay for yet another antisemitic hatefest modeled on the infamous Durban racism conference of 2001.

Here’s a roadmap after the vote: Place a temporary hold on U.S. funding for the United Nations except in the case of urgent humanitarian relief. Set up a committee to review all U.S. UN contributions – now approximately 10 billion a year from all government sources – and decide what truly fits American values and interests. Move commitments from the “regular” budget category to “voluntary” contributions, where we can keep a much closer eye on accountability.

And last, but not least, move the embassy to Jerusalem tomorrow by changing a sign on a building in Jerusalem that the United States already owns.

The time for following through on promises, Mr. President, was never more ripe.


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