A total of 128 United Nations members thumbed their collective nose at the United States Thursday, voting to condemn President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, as U.S. law has mandated for two decades.
Trump warned before the vote that it could affect U.S. aid. The U.S., a key provider of aid worldwide, provides 23 percent of the U.N. budget, making it by far the largest contributor.
The vote in the U.N. General Assembly to formally condemn the U.S. decision regarding Jerusalem was 128-9, with 35 abstentions.
Supporting the condemnation were traditional American allies such as France and the United Kingdom. Israel and less influential members, such as Honduras, Guatemala, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Togo, Tonga and the Marshall Islands, joined the U.S. in voting against it.
Canada and several dozen others abstained.
WND reported U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley warned prior to the vote that she would be “taking names” of nations that condemn the president’s decision.
The U.S. vetoed a similar resolution of condemnation in the Security Council earlier this week.
The vote tally:
President Trump declared that the U.N. and nations that supported the resolution should expect consequences.
“They take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars, and then they vote against us. Well, we’re watching those votes. Let them vote against us. We’ll save a lot. We don’t care,” he said Wednesday. “This isn’t like it used to be where they could vote against you and then you pay them hundreds of millions of dollars and nobody knows what they’re doing.
“People are tired of the United States – people that live here that are great citizens that love this country – they’re tired of this country being taken advantage of. And we’re not going to be taken advantage of any longer.”
It was Turkey and Yemen, on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation, that demanded the vote in an emergency meeting in response to Trump’s Dec. 6 Jerusalem declaration.
The president said he was recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and that the U.S. will move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, though the timing is uncertain.
He explained the decision was “nothing more or less than a recognition of reality” and that the move should not be interpreted as a departure from the U.S. stance of working toward a peaceful “two-state solution” to the age-old Arab-Israeli conflict.
Haley, earlier in the week, tweeted: “At the UN we’re always asked to do more & give more. So, when we make a decision, at the will of the American ppl, abt where to locate OUR embassy, we don’t expect those we’ve helped to target us. On Thurs there’ll be a vote criticizing our choice. The US will be taking names.”
As the vote approached, Haley told the assembly, “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. And we will remember it when so many countries come calling on us, as they so often do, to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit.”
A National Public Radio analyst described the vote as an effort by Palestinians to “show the U.S. that the majority of the world backs their positions.”
But Liberty Counsel, which runs Christians in Defense of Israel and Covenant Journey, pointed out that the U.N. itself has become the “theater of the absurd.”
Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel’s founder, said: “It has become a worthless institution and an instrument of attack against Israel. I am happy that America has a strong president and ambassador who will not be bullied. Why we continue to fund the U.N. is a legitimate question which this vote brings into focus. Of all the pressing world issues with North Korea, Iran, and terrorism, the U.N. ignores them and instead calls an emergency meeting to dispute the historical reality that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and to challenge where the United States chooses to place its embassy.
“I hope President Trump follows through with consequences that include defunding the U.N.”
Famed legal mind Alan Dershowitz wrote at the Gatestone Institute site that it simply is “beyond the jurisdiction of the U.N. to tell a sovereign nation what it can and cannot recognize.”
He pointed out that the entire brouhaha was brought on by former President Obama’s personal animus against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“The resolution fails to recognize that it was the December 2016 Security Council Resolution – the one engineered by lame duck President Barack Obama – that changed the status of Jerusalem and complicated the efforts to achieve a compromise peace. Before that benighted resolution, Jerusalem’s Western Wall, the Jewish Quarter and the access roads to Hebrew University and Hadassah Hospital were widely recognized as part of Israel – or at worst, as disputed territory.
“Everyone knew that any peace agreement would inevitably recognize that these historically Jewish areas as an indigenous part of Israel. They were certainly not illegally occupied by Israel, any more than Bethlehem was illegally occupied by the Palestinian Authority (PA). Both Jerusalem and Bethlehem had originally been deemed part of an international zone by the United Nations when it divided the British mandate into two states for two people – a decision accepted by Israel and rejected by all the Arab nations and the Palestinian Arabs in the area. Jordan then attacked Israel and illegally occupied the Western Wall and Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem.”
Israel was attacked in 1967 and took back Jerusalem.
“Until Obama engineered the notorious December 2016 Security Council Resolution that declared the Western Wall, the Jewish Quarter and the access roads to be illegally occupied by Israel, thus changing the status quo. This unwarranted change – long opposed by United States administrations – made a negotiated peace more difficult, because it handed the Jewish holy places over to the Palestinians without getting any concessions in return, thus requiring that Israel ‘buy’ them back in any negotiation,” Dershowitz wrote.
He asked: “Why did Obama change the status quo to the disadvantage of Israel? Congress did not want the change. The American people did not support the change. Many in the Obama administration opposed it. Even some members of the Security Council who voted for the resolution did not want the change. Obama did it as lame duck revenge against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whom he hated. His motive was personal, not patriotic. His decision was bad for America, for peace and for America’s ally, Israel. He never would have done it except as a lame duck with no political accountability and no checks and balances.”
In 1995, Congress adopted the Jerusalem Embassy Act, urging the federal government to relocate the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and to recognize that city as Israel’s capital.
“This Act passed Congress by an overwhelming bipartisan majority, and was reaffirmed by a unanimous vote of the Senate only six months ago,” Trump said in remarks to the nation from the White House on Dec. 6.
The law contained a clause allowing the president to sign a waiver that would delay its implementation. Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama signed the waiver every six months.
Trump signed the waiver the first time he was presented with it. But not the second time.
Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital was one of the promises he made to voters in 2016, and it’s another promise he can cross off his list.