Senators Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham Propose Important Legislation to Defund the UN

Written by Alexander J. Segal on

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Over the past month, I have blogged extensively about President Obama's disgraceful betrayal of Israel at the United Nations. Please see my posts on the United Nations vote [see blog] and on the broader strategy of the Obama Administration in its hostility toward Israel [see blog].

Fortunately, it appears that the incoming Trump Administration is poised to begin the process of restoring and strengthening the U.S.-Israel relationship. One of the first steps of this process will be determining what actions to take against the United Nations for its unrelenting anti-Israel bias [see blog] and its tendency to give aid in international forums to terrorist groups. To this effect, there are many options available, and I look forward to writing more about them once President-Elect Trump takes office.

The U.S. Senate and House voted in a bipartisan fashion to condemn President Obama's anti-Israel actions at the United Nations by overwhelming margins. However, while better than nothing, mere symbolic gestures are only the start of a long process to reverse the damage of the Obama Administration's ill-fated policies in the Middle East.

In significant news, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina introduced legislation in the U.S. Senate to cut off funding to the United Nations until it reverses the recent anti-Israel Security Council vote. You may read the text of the “Safeguard Israel Act” here [PDF version]. The text of the legislation includes several poignant critiques of the United Nations resolution along with an appropriately severe response.

It is no surprise to see Senators Cruz and Graham — two of Congress' strongest advocates for Israel — to take leading roles in working to undo the immeasurable damage caused by the Obama Administration. However, it is noteworthy that Senators Cruz and Graham are working together on this issue. The two Senators have a tumultuous history. In his short campaign for President, Senator Graham often cited his disagreements with Senator Cruz — then one of the front-runners — as a reason for his campaign [see blog on the end of the Graham campaign]. After his campaign concluded, he would joke in February that “[i]f you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody would convict you.” However, once it became clear that Senator Cruz was the last viable alternative to the now-President-Elect Trump, Senator Graham threw his support behind the Cruz campaign, going as far as to host a fundraiser for his long-time rival.

Now that Senators Cruz and Graham have worked together extensively for the better part of a year, it appears that they have decided to let bygones be bygones, even to the point of having a laugh about Senator Graham's comments from last February in a television appearance promoting their pro-Israel legislation.1 Although these two Senators still disagree on a wide range of issues, to the extent that it is often a wonder that they are in the same party, they came together to take the lead in charting a new course for U.S.-Israel relations once President-Elect Trump takes office. Considering the heated nature of many of their disputes over the years, they are setting an important example for the rest of the Republican Party and pro-Israel Democrats to follow going forward. Defunding the United Nations should be just one of many steps that we consider going forward in response to the actions of the outgoing Obama Administration and the United Nations Security Council. Our success will depend on a unified Republican Party [see blog] in conjunction with the support of pro-Israel Democrats who are similarly disturbed by the conduct of President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry.

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  1. Sevransky, Rebecca, “Graham apologizes for calling for Cruz's murder,” thehill.com, (Jan. 12, 2017)