Palestinians Must Feel U.S. Backlash Over Unilateral Statehood Bid: Experts
Cong. Tom Price (GA), Gov. Mike Huckabee and Amb. John Bolton Warn of Growing Support for Slashing U.S. Funding to the United Nations
NEW YORK, Sept. 28, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Mike Huckabee and John Bolton are among leading political figures calling for significant U.S. push-back against the Palestinian request for full United Nations membership, which goes before the UN Security Council today.
They and other top-name commentators are part of a growing overall chorus signaling that the Palestinian end-run around negotiations – understood as a continuing refusal to accept a Jewish state – has provoked rising dismay in the United States.
The 15-member Security Council is to consider referring the Palestinian request to a special committee on new admissions – one step closer to forcing the United States to use its Security Council veto to halt the unilateral effort.
“The U.S. should do far more than threaten a veto …” said Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, now a popular television personality, who mounted a strong campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008.
“I think that we should have made it clear not merely that we would veto any attempt to bring that vote to the United Nations, but that furthermore the very attempt to bring the vote would mean immediate cessation of all funding for every aspect of … UN activities, including any support for it remaining in the United States,” Huckabee stated during a speech last week.
Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the UN, says that starving the UN of U.S. cash would be the most effective measure for dissuading attempts at the UN to isolate and condemn Israel.
“When you take strong action against it, you can defeat them,” Bolton said of the repeated use of the UN as a political weapon to delegitimize Israel by the “automatic majority” of Muslim states and their allies.
“This isn’t hard to figure out. If you want the United States to be listened to in the United Nations context, talk about money. It’s amazing what a bracing attitude you can get from doing it.”
The United States, by far the world body’s biggest UN funder, provides more than 22 percent of its multi-billion-dollar budget. But while the UN collects most of its cash through “assessments,” a bill is already before Congress that would make U.S. funding voluntary, and block U.S. funding to any UN agency that elevates the status of “Palestine” in the international body. Submitted by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Florida), chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the bill has been receiving increasing attention from U.S. lawmakers.
Bolton said the United States and its allies also need to quit treating the UN with so much reverence as long as it remains a forum for “political theater” – “The General Assembly has no power to declare states or declare statehood,” he said, “If you give it dignity, it will acquire dignity.”
Huckabee and Bolton were among 18 prominent personalities – including leading Muslim speakers – who addressed a “counter conference” last week to the UN’s Durban III “anti-racism” gathering, which on Thursday saw Iran and other states air a noxious mixture of racist, anti-Semitic, and xenophobic views.
Renowned Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz saw the Palestinian bid squarely as a testament to something awry with today’s UN. “The United Nations has no moral authority when it comes to Israel, or to the Jewish people, or to the Jewish nation,” Dershowitz said. “Why should the Palestinians compromise to get recognition when they are handed it by the United Nations without the need to compromise?”
Zudhi Jasser, President of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, argued that ordinary Palestinians had been duped into thinking that the statehood bid before the UN was in their interests. It was not, he declared.
“The Arab Spring has not seemed to have reached the Palestinian community,” he said of the political changes in other parts of the Arab world. According to Jasser, the Palestinians would not be ready for “even asking” for a state “until they get to the real root causes of their own oppression, which is the ideologies of radical Islamism from which their endemic anti-Semitism arises.”
During a conference call with several of the speakers ahead of the conference, Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), Chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee, predicted increased backing for Ros-Lehtinen’s bill to cut UN funding. Speaking of the Palestinian statehood bid at the UN, Price said: “There will be significant pressure within both the Republican and the Democratic conference in the House, and I presume the Senate as well, to alter the financial arrangement between the United States and the United Nations, and in addition the United States and the Palestinian Authority – as well as other nations that are strongly supportive.”
Conference chair, Senior Fellow of the Hudson Institute and Director of the Touro College Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust, Anne Bayefsky, says of the Palestinian move: “The showdown that the Palestinians are starting at the Security Council today will have consequences. Americans are connecting the dots between their pocket books, Palestinian intransigence and an international organization that serves those who reject peaceful coexistence with Israel.”
“The Perils of Global Intolerance: The United Nations and Durban III,” was hosted by the Touro College Institute on Human Rights & the Holocaust and the Hudson Institute. Full proceedings are available on PJTV at http://www.pjtv.com/?cmd=mpg&mpid=461
SOURCE Hudson Institute and Touro College