J Street: House Bill to Defund UN Will Hurt United States and Israel

October 13, 2011

WASHINGTON— The House Committee on Foreign Affairs today held a mark-up of H.R. 2829— Committee Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s anti-United Nations bill.

“Chairman Ros-Lehtinen’s bill would essentially force the U.S. Government to defund and disengage from virtually every organ of the United Nations. We agree with Secretary Clinton’s warning that this would spell disaster for America’s standing in the world and our ability to influence events that profoundly impact our national security. It would also imperil Israel’s vital interests if its greatest ally and defender at the UN took our ball and went home,” said Dylan Jacob Williams, J Street’s Director of Government Affairs.

Title VIII of the bill would impose additional restrictions on U.S. contributions to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which would operate to end critical U.S. funding for the agency.

“U.S. contributions to UNRWA are essential to providing Palestinian refugees with basic necessities, education and economic opportunity that would otherwise only be available through anti-Israel extremist groups like Hamas. UNWRA’s operations are so critical to combating extremism that the Israeli Government itself lobbied against a Canadian decision to reduce its contributions to the agency’s core funding,” said Williams.

Canadian government documents revealed that Israel was one of a number of countries actively lobbying Canada to reverse a decision last year to end Canadian contribution to UNRWA’s core funding.

“Ending American participation at the United Nations has been a neocon objective for decades. It is deeply troubling that some in Congress are now using Israel as a foil to accomplish a personal political goal that will actually undermine our ally,” said Williams.