A letter from President Trump backed by all 100 senators was not enough to dissuade the U.N. from passing its latest resolution criticizing Israel.
The resolution, passed Tuesday by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), labeled Israel an “occupying Power” and called on the Jewish state to cease “persistent” archaeological work in East Jerusalem.
The vote, which passed 22-10 with 23 abstentions, came despite a letter signed by every U.S. senator calling for the world body to take a more balanced view of Israel.
“Although, as Republicans and Democrats, we disagree on many issues, we are united in our desire to see the United Nations improve its treatment of Israel and to eliminate anti-Semitism in all its forms,” read the letter, penned by senators Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Christopher Coons, D-Del.
U.N. critics say the latest vote shows the virulent andi-Semitism that runs through the U.N. cannot be tamed by U.S. pressure alone.
“Today’s vote is another disgraceful example of attempts by UNESCO's member states to delegitimize Israel and deny Jewish and Christian ties to Jerusalem. America will continue to fight anti-Semitism in all its forms and do all it can to insist on real reforms at the UN,” Sen. Rubio told Fox News.
The resolution also “deplores” Israel’s “attacks on schools…including breaches of the inviolability of United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) schools.”
The resolution was particularly jarring to Israel supporters because it came on the country’s annual Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and victims of terror. Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, called the decision “blatantly deceitful” and said “attempts to dispute the connection between Israel and Jerusalem will not change the simple fact that this city is the historic and eternal capital of the Jewish people.”
“This vote shows that despite the Senate letter, the United Nations continues with its pathological anti-Israel bias,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of Geneva-based UN Watch, “The UN seems to be addicted to bashing Israel.”
Neuer’s group has also documented what it says are at least 100 UNRWA teachers praising Hitler and Hamas terrorism.
“The resolution talks about so-called violations by the Israeli military on Palestinian schools, but it doesn’t mention rampant incitement to terrorism in Palestinian schools run by UNRWA,” he said.
The Trump Administration has had some success in influencing U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Israel. Under pressure by U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, the agency pulled a report in March from its website accusing Israel of “apartheid.”
A spokesman for UNESCO said neither the agency's secretary nor its executive board would comment on the matter.
Guterres tried to distance his office from the moves by member states in a speech to the World Jewish Congress last week.
“It is not the role of the Secretary General to tell member states what they should do," he said. "But it is my role to guarantee that those that work under the Secretary General …see that the state of Israel needs to be treated as any other state with exactly the same rights.”
Guterres singled out some regions for “intensely” rising anti-Semitism in his speech.
“We could have hoped the horror of the Holocaust would have put an end to anti-Semitism," he said. "Unfortunately, it’s not true. We see today, antisemitism alive and well. This is particularly true in Europe and North America where we are seeing today in total contradiction to the values of the enlightenment.”