Taking Action on the United Nations in 2017

Statements


President Donald Trump
  • September 19, 2017: Statement by President Trump at the General Debate of the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly: "Too often the focus of this organization has not been on results, but on bureaucracy and process. In some cases, states that seek to subvert this institution's noble aims have hijacked the very systems that are supposed to advance them. For example, it is a massive source of embarrassment to the United Nations that some governments with egregious human rights records sit on the U.N. Human Rights Council. The United States is one out of 193 countries in the United Nations, and yet we pay 22 percent of the entire budget and more. In fact, we pay far more than anybody realizes. The United States bears an unfair cost burden... The American people hope that one day soon the United Nations can be a much more accountable and effective advocate for human dignity and freedom around the world. In the meantime, we believe that no nation should have to bear a disproportionate share of the burden, militarily or financially..."
  • September 18, 2017: Remarks by President Trump while hosting a meeting at United Nations headquarters on Reforming the United Nations: Management, Security, and Development: "The United Nations was founded on truly noble goals... Yet in recent years, the United Nations has not reached its full potential because of bureaucracy and mismanagement. While the United Nations on a regular budget has increased by 140 percent, and its staff has more than doubled since 2000, we are not seeing the results in line with this investment... We seek a United Nations that regains the trust of the people around the world. In order to achieve this, the United Nations must hold every level of management accountable, protect whistle-blowers and focus on results rather than on process. To honor the people of our nations, we must ensure that no one and no member state shoulders a disproportionate share of the burden, and that's militarily or financially."
  • April 24, 2017: Remarks by President Trump at a Working Lunch with U.N. Security Council Ambassadors: "For the United Nations to play an effective role in solving these and other security challenges, big reforms will be required. In addition, we must also take a close look at the U.N. budget. Costs have been -- absolutely gone out of control...The United States, just one of 193 countries in the U.N., pays for 22 percent of the budget and almost 30 percent of the United Nations peacekeeping, which is unfair. We need the member states to come together to eliminate inefficiency and bloat, and to ensure that no one nation shoulders a disproportionate share of the burden militarily or financially. This is only fair to our taxpayers."
  • February 15, 2017: President Trump: "America and Israel are two nations that cherish the value of all human life. This is one more reason why I reject unfair and one-sided actions against Israel at the United Nations which has treated Israel, in my opinion, very, very unfairly or other international forums as well as boycotts that target Israel."
  • December 28, 2016: President-elect Trump: "The UN has such tremendous potential. Not living up to its potential. There is such tremendous potential, but it is not living up. When do you see the United Nations solving problems? They don't. They cause problems. So if it lives up to the potential it's a great thing. And if it doesn't it's a waste of time and money."
  • December 23, 2016: President-elect Trump: "As the United States has long maintained, peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians will only come through direct negotiations between the parties, and not through the imposition of terms by the United Nations. This puts Israel in a very poor negotiating position and is extremely unfair to all Israelis... As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th."
Vice President Mike Pence
  • October 25, 2017: "The last administration devoted well over a billion dollars in humanitarian aid to the Middle East, but routed the lion's share through programs run by the United Nations. Yet the United Nations has too often failed to help the most vulnerable communities, especially religious minorities. The result has been that countless people continue to suffer and struggle needlessly... Our fellow Christians and all who are persecuted in the Middle East should not have to rely on multinational institutions when America can help them directly. And tonight, it is my privilege to announce that President Trump has ordered the State Department to stop funding ineffective relief efforts at the United Nations. And from this day forward, America will provide support directly to persecuted communities through USAID."
  • September 20, 2017: "As President Trump said yesterday in his historic address to this General Assembly, just as each of you, in his words, 'should always put your country first, we will always put America first.' But as his words and I hope our presence here attest, America First does not mean America alone. As the President said, we 'will forever be a great friend to the world.' And it's because of that commitment that he sent me here today to this Security Counsel, to reiterate our call for fundamental reforms of U.N. peacekeeping and our determination to see this institution do even more to keep the peace across the wider world. President Trump and I firmly believe that the U.N. must act to make its peacekeeping operations more efficient, more effective, more accountable, and more credible...The United Nations is bound by its charter to foster 'International cooperation in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all.' That was the purpose under which the U.N. Human Rights Council was formed. But the truth is, the Human Rights Council doesn't deserve its name. As we look at the membership of the council today, we see nations that betray these timeless principles upon which this institution was founded. Today, the United Nations Human Rights Council actually attracts and welcomes many of the worst human rights violators in the world. A clear majority of the Human Rights Council's members fail to meet even the most basic human rights standards. Cuba sits on the Human Rights Council, an oppressive regime that has repressed its people and jailed political opponents for more than half a century. Venezuela sits on the Human Rights Council, a dictatorship that undermines democracy at every turn, imprisons political opponents, and as we speak is advancing policies that worsen deprivation and poverty that's costing the lives of innocent men, women, and children. This body must reform the Human Rights Council's membership and its operation. As to its operation, I think of what President John F. Kennedy warned more than 50 years ago, that the United Nations must not become in his words a 'forum for invective.' Unfortunately, today, the Human Rights Council has become exactly that, and particularly the Human Rights Council has become a forum for anti-Semitism and invective against Israel. The council's agenda item seven actually singles out Israel for discussion at every single meeting, something no other country must endure. As evidence, the Human Rights Council has passed more than 70 resolutions condemning Israel, while largely ignoring the world's worst human rights abusers. It is, as President Trump said yesterday, 'a massive source of embarrassment.' And we call on the Security Council and this entire body to immediately embrace reforms of the membership and practices of the Human Rights Council and end the Human Rights Council's blatant bias against our cherished ally Israel."
  • February 16, 2017: "Vice President Mike Pence hosted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for breakfast at the Vice President's Residence at the Naval Observatory... They...agreed to work together against one-sided actions against Israel at the United Nations and other international forums, as well as boycotts that target Israel..."
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
  • March 14, 2017: "The Trump administration is threatening a withdrawal from the U.N. Human Rights Council if it does not undertake 'considerable reform,' Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned a group of nine non-profit organizations in a letter this week... Tillerson, in his letter to the U.N. advocates and human rights groups, said that while the United States 'continues to evaluate the effectiveness' of the Council, it remains skeptical about the virtues of membership in a human rights organization that includes states with troubled human rights records such as China, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. 'We may not share a common view on this, given the makeup of the membership,' Tillerson told the organizations, who have urged continued U.S. membership. 'While it may be the only such organization devoted to human rights, the Human Rights Council requires considerable reform in order for us to continue to participate.'"
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley
  • November 4, 2017: "As you probably saw, about three weeks ago the United States withdrew from the UN's Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, better known as UNESCO. For the United States, it was a good call, and honestly, after we'd considered UNESCO's pattern of extremely political and one-sided decisions, it was an easy call. Another of the most viciously anti-Israel parts of the UN is the so-called Human Rights Council. It is notorious for singling out Israel for condemnation, while it welcomes some of the world's worst human rights violators as members. Right now, we're dealing with the after-effects of a Human Rights Council resolution that called for the creation of a database of companies operating in Israeli settlements. We need to be clear: This is a BDS blacklist, plain and simple. The United States has been opposed to this list from the very start. We have not and will not contribute any information to its creation. We are working closely with the High Commissioner to try and ensure the list is not made public. It goes well beyond the mandate of what the Human Rights Council or any UN office should be doing. We will need to work to defeat this at all levels of government. We've also developed a reform agenda that will address the more systemic issues within the Human Rights Council. Our reforms will help keep human rights abusers like Congo, South Sudan, Venezuela, and Cuba off the Human Rights Council. Our reforms would also put an end to the notorious Agenda Item Seven, which is the part of the Council that's devoted exclusively to bashing Israel. We've made clear that the Human Rights Council will either adopt these reforms or the United States will leave and fight for human rights in other forums. We don't want to walk away, but we're ready to if these changes are not made. We only want to be part of the Human Rights Council if it is true to its name..."
  • October 27, 2017: Press Release on Anti-Israel report and comments by UN Special Rapporteur ‎Michael Lynk: "The United States is deeply disturbed by recent comments from UN Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk calling for academic and economic boycotts against Israel, and by his report to the ‎UN General Assembly. Unsurprisingly, the mandate for this report comes from the Human Rights Council's Agenda Item 7, the only Human Rights Council agenda item that targets a single country: Israel. Mr. Lynk's remarks, and the very existence of this report, underscore the Human Rights Council's chronic anti-Israel bias. The United States will continue to oppose attempts to undermine the UN system through actions that unfairly target Israel."
  • October 12, 2017: Press Release on "withdrawal" from UNESCO: "In July, when UNESCO made its latest outrageous and politically based decision, designating the Old City of Hebron and the Tomb of the Patriarchs as part of Palestinian territory, the United States clearly stated that this decision would negatively affect our evaluation of our level of engagement with the organization. The United States will continue to evaluate all agencies within the United Nations system through the same lens. The purpose of UNESCO is a good one. Unfortunately, its extreme politicization has become a chronic embarrassment. The Tomb of the Patriarchs decision was just the latest in a long line of foolish actions, which includes keeping Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad on a UNESCO human rights committee even after his murderous crackdown on peaceful protestors. Just as we said in 1984 when President Reagan withdrew from UNESCO, U.S. taxpayers should no longer be on the hook to pay for policies that are hostile to our values and make a mockery of justice and common sense..."
  • September 21, 2017: Press briefing by Ambassador Haley: "We also co-hosted a meeting with Secretary Boris Johnson, as well as the Dutch Foreign Minister, Bert Koenders, on human rights reform, and really talked about the fact that it needed to be representative of its name. We have a lot of bad actors on that council. Both the President and the Vice President spoke about it in their speeches, and the need to see better-quality countries that are on that council in order for it to be effective, and obviously for the United States to stay on it. If we don't see changes in the Human Rights Council, we'll continue to advocate for human rights, but we'll do it on our own if we have to."
  • September 15, 2017: White House press briefing by Ambassador Haley: "We have three events that will be extremely important. First, the President will highlight the U.N. reform event. It is very, very important... The Vice President will be doing two very important briefings. He's going to do one on Human Rights Council... [T]he Human Rights Council really needs to be effective. We have offered reform. I think the Vice President will go in and not only support the reform, but talk about why it's needed and the areas that are really needing to be addressed when it comes to human rights. The second one he's going to do is on peacekeeping. And in the last several months, we have taken every peacekeeping mandate and changed it. Basically, we have saved half a billion dollars in peacekeeping."
  • June 28, 2017: Testimony to the House Foreign Affairs Committee: "We've also called out the UN Human Rights Council for legitimizing human rights violators at the expense of their victims. We've put forward reforms to make the Council what it was meant to be: a place of conscience for nations and justice for victims. I traveled to Geneva earlier this month to make it clear to the Council that continued U.S. participation is contingent on adoption of these reforms. On a related note, the U.S. Mission now refuses to tolerate one of the UN's most disreputable and dangerous habits: obsessively bashing Israel. We forced the withdrawal of a false and biased report. And we've steered the Security Council's monthly debate on the Middle East away from unfairly targeting Israel, and toward the true threats in the region, such as Iran and Hamas."
  • June 27, 2017: Testimony to the House Appropriations Committee "We've also called out the UN Human Rights Council for legitimizing human rights violators at the expense of their victims. We've put forward reforms to make the Council what it was meant to be: a place of conscience for nations and justice for victims. I traveled to Geneva earlier this month to make it clear to the Council that continued U.S. participation is contingent on adoption of these reforms. On a related note, the U.S. mission now refuses to tolerate one of the UN's most disreputable and dangerous habits: obsessive bashing of Israel. We forced the withdrawal of a false and biased report. And we've steered the Security Council's monthly debate on the Middle East away from unfairly targeting Israel, and toward the true threats in the region such as Iran and Hamas... Our peacekeeping reforms are aimed at producing more effective missions for vulnerable civilians and holding host governments accountable to their responsibility to protect their own citizens while also cutting down on waste and inefficiency. We've adapted the mission in Haiti to changing conditions on the ground, and are on target to save at least $150 million for the year. We will continue our reform efforts when we take up the peacekeeping mission renewal this month in Darfur, Sudan. Our efforts will hold the government accountable to improve humanitarian access."
  • June 13, 2017: From press release by the U.S. Mission to the United Nations: "Ambassador Nikki Haley expressed concern about a report released yesterday by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on 'Ensuring accountability and justice for all violations of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.' "This report is just the latest example of the Human Rights Council singling out Israel rather than focusing on the world's actual human rights abusers. Not only does it undermine the credibility of the Human Rights Council on human rights issues, but it once again highlights the unfair bias of the UN when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,' Ambassador Haley said... It's actions like these that are forcing us to evaluate the United States' future on the Human Rights Council. The Council, and indeed the entire United Nations, were founded on the principles of equality and fairness. This report once again fails that mission."
  • June 4, 2017: From interview with Eric Shawn: "How can you have a Human Rights Council that has Venezuela and Cuba on it? It just doesn't make sense. So we're going to go to Geneva, talk to them about what we think the Human Rights Council does well, talk to them on where improvement is needed, and decide our status after that, to see if they're really serious about human rights or not... Haley: I don't know that I'll be successful, but I know that I have to have my voice heard. I know that they have to understand the US position of the fact that we take human rights seriously, we think that it is the root cause to many conflicts that can happen, and we expect certain things of the Human Rights Council. And if they want to be better and if they want to make some changes, the U.S. will stay on it. If they don't, then in the name of human rights, we'll get off."
  • June 2, 2017: From Op-Ed by Ambassador Haley in the Washington Post: "Next week, I will travel to Geneva to address the Human Rights Council about the United States' concerns. I will outline changes that must be made. Among other things, membership on the council must be determined through competitive voting to keep the worst human rights abusers from obtaining seats. As it stands, regional blocs nominate candidates that are uncontested. Competition would force a candidate's human rights record to be considered before votes were cast. The council must also end its practice of wrongly singling out Israel for criticism. When the council passes more than 70 resolutions against Israel, a country with a strong human rights record, and just seven resolutions against Iran, a country with an abysmal human rights record, you know something is seriously wrong... I believe the vision of the Human Rights Council is still achievable, but not without change."
  • May 19, 2017: From press release for meeting with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: "Ambassador Haley encouraged the High Commissioner to help counter the Human Rights Council's obsession with Israel. She conveyed her concerns that Council members exploit what should be the world's premier rights body to promote their anti-Israel agenda, diverting attention from some of the worst human rights abusers including Syria, Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela."
  • May 18, 2017: From press release for meeting with Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop: "Ambassador Haley and Foreign Minister Bishop also emphasized the importance of continued U.S.-Australian cooperation on human rights, fighting anti-Israel bias at the UN, Syria, ISIS, and UN reform."
  • April 25, 2017: Remarks at the Plenary Assembly of the World Jewish Congress: "It's still early in my time as ambassador, but I think I can safely say that it's a new day for Israel at the United Nations. I know it's a new day for Israel at the US Mission to the United Nations. Before I was confirmed as ambassador, I watched in horror as the Security Council passed resolution 2334 and the US stood by and allowed it to happen. I can say with complete and total confidence that those days are over. The United States will no longer be silent as Israel is unfairly attacked at the United Nations. Silence is not my thing anyway, but that's especially true when it comes to standing up for America's friends. And we have no better friend in the Middle East than Israel. The anti-Israel bias that has existed for so long at the UN is cut from the same cloth as the BDS movement and the global rise in anti-Semitism. They all seek to delegitimize Israel. They are all efforts to intimidate her friends and embolden her enemies. The UN charter commits member states to quote 'respect...human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.' Everyone pays lip service to these words, of course. Everyone claims to support human rights. But when it comes time to singling out a country for violating these rights - the amount of hypocrisy is just unbelievable. Israel is singled out more than Iran, Syria, and North Korea. It's just shocking, and it undermines the entire credibility of the UN. However, pushing back against the bias is easier than many people think. There's really no magic to it. All you have to do is tell the truth. The truth is there is only one true democracy in the Middle East. There is only one country in the region that grants equal justice under the law. There is only one country that fully respects the rights of women and religious minorities. As long as I'm America's representative at the UN, I am going to stand for human rights and I am going to stand for the truth. And that means I am going to stand for Israel."
  • April 20, 2017: Remarks at a UN Security Council meeting. The meeting was advertised by the UN Daily Journal as (and is officially called by the UN Security Council): "The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question." On the US UN mission website (only) the meeting was called the "UN Security Council Open Debate on the Middle East". Haley: "Every month, this Security Council convenes a meeting on the Middle East. We have lots of meetings on specific countries and conflicts in this region. But this debate is our opportunity to talk about the Middle East as a whole. This is our opportunity to look at the threats that go beyond one country's borders the threats that affect not just every country in the Middle East, but all too often, every single one of us. Regrettably, these monthly meetings routinely turn into Israel-bashing sessions. That's the way this Security Council has operated for years. It's a formula that is absurdly biased against one country. It's a formula that is painfully narrow in its description of the conflicts in the region. And it's a formula that does nothing to help find solutions...We should be asking these monthly Middle East sessions to talk about the factors that cause conflict across the region... How one chooses to spend one's time is an indication of one's priorities. The same is true for the United Nations Security Council. The Israel-Palestinian issue is an important one, deserving of attention. But that is one issue that surely has no lack of attention around here. The incredibly destructive nature of Iranian and Hizballah activities throughout the Middle East demands much more of our attention. It should become this Council's priority in the region."
  • April 13, 2017: Speaking in explanation of vote on UN Security Council resolution on UN Mission in Haiti: "The United States has made it clear to the UN and all troop-contributing countries that these abuses must stop...We will...continue to push for accountability of those troops in Haiti, as well as all troop-contributing countries involved in peacekeeping efforts."
  • April 6, 2017: Remarks at briefing on UN peacekeeping operations: "...in many cases, UN peacekeeping is just not working. In Darfur, a 17,000-strong force designed for yesterday's challenges is not built for the needs of today. In South Sudan, where UN staff helped save hundreds of thousands of civilians, these vulnerable people have no hope of returning to a normal life. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the government uses the UN to neutralize only the armed groups that it wants to, leaving others untouched. Outside of Africa, we have our mission in Kosovo, which, if we're honest with ourselves, has no real reason for being."
  • March 29, 2017: Ambassador Haley (remarks at Council for Foreign Relations): "... The UN Security Council just like the South Carolina legislature is basically a club. And the thing about clubs is that they have rules, and they have a culture... I've approached my job at the UN in the same way I did in South Carolina: I'm working to change the culture...At the U.S. Mission, we're all about changing the culture and bringing positive energy to the United Nations. We've put accountability front and center. People who've worked with me know that I have no tolerance for unmet promises and inaction. My team is about action, reliability, and results. We demand that of ourselves and we expect it of others. We're also having the backs of our allies, and we're not afraid to call out the governments that don't have our backs. We will deal fairly with the people who are fair with us. If not, all bets are off. Don't get me wrong. I don't have illusions about how easily an institution the size and complexity of the United Nations can be changed. Still, with the support of the new Secretary-General and many of my colleagues on the Security Council, we've already started to make some progress. A couple of weeks ago when a UN agency put out yet another ridiculously biased report attacking Israel, we were able to work with the Secretary-General to have it withdrawn. The head of the UN agency then resigned. I think this incident really goes to the heart of what needs to be changed at the United Nations. So many dollars and man hours were spent to produce a false and defamatory report. So much energy and emotion is spent on the same old things. Meanwhile, the UN is missing the growing discontent and growing distrust among the people it's supposed to represent...Like all governing bodies, the United Nations has to contend with this growing wave of discontent. I came to the UN with the goal of showing the American people value for our investment in this institution. And when I say "value," I'm not primarily talking about budgets. I'm talking about making the UN an effective tool on behalf of our values...I believe strongly that the time has come for the Security Council to explicitly consider the connection between human rights and security. This debate is one that's worth having. It would greatly strengthen the work of the Security Council. And it's the right thing to do. We intend to challenge Member States to start walking the walk and not just talking the talk of human rights. We will see which countries rise to the challenge and which resort to the same old, tired excuses. It will be very telling if any country tries to block this debate. It's past time that the Security Council acknowledge the importance of human rights abuses and demand that its member nations do the same. A second issue I intend to focus on in the coming weeks is the UN peacekeeping operations. This is an area of great potential for reform. One of the ways the UN does its best work and shows its greatest value is through peacekeeping operations. But too often the focus of our peacekeeping efforts is on the troop contributing countries that is those who are paid to send troops into an area or the funding countries, or the bureaucracy of the UN itself, not on protecting civilians and achieving a political solution... I mean, the Human Rights Council is so corrupt. I mean, if you look what countries do is they get on it to protect themselves, to make sure that the fingers never pointed at them instead of actually looking at what we need to be doing for human rights for people around the world, and that's part of it. When you've got bad actors that actually sit on the Human Rights Council, it makes you call into question what it is we're trying to do. And so, what we've said is, what is the role of the Human Rights Council? Are they meeting it? And does the United States find value in it? We want to make sure where we can find the most value and success and actual energy put to place that changes, we want to be involved in. I don't think the Human Rights Council has been effective. I think that we need to look at it. We need to tell them what we want to see to make it effective. But that's the whole reason why it has to be a Security Council issue as well, because if you look at Syria, had we gotten in there sooner, had we stopped the abuses of their people sooner from Assad, we could've actually maybe prevented all of that's happened. But that wasn't discussed. That wasn't talked about. That wasn't brought up to the surface. And those are the kinds of things we need to have brought up earlier rather than later... Really, all I've done with Israel is tell the truth. So when I saw something wrong, I called it out. It was amazing to me that we had a briefing on the Middle East and literally all it was an Israel-bashing session. And so I was confused because there were so many other issues that needed to be talked about that were in the Middle East and that was just all they talked about. And they do it every single month. And so it was really just saying, with all the issues in the world this is what we're going to talk about? So that was the logic with that... I met with the head of-with the representative from the Palestinian Authority, and we talked about the situation here at the United Nations. And what I said to him was: Look, we just want balance. We just want it to be fair. And in doing that, what I, you know, had asked of him was, don't put any more resolutions on the table bashing Israel. But at the same time, we're not going to be able to really support you going forward in moving up if you don't come to the table and negotiate."
  • March 27, 2017: Ambassador Haley (responding to questions): "...what can the United States do, what can the ambassador for the United States do... Nikki Haley: You know, basically what it comes down to is I'm not there to play. And what I wanted to make sure of was that the United States started leading again. And leading isn't saying and doing things when it's comfortable. Leading is saying and doing things when it's not comfortable. So the goal was have the backs of our allies. Never again do what we saw happen with Resolution 2334 and make anyone question our support. When Resolution 2334 happened, and the U.S. abstained, the entire country felt a kick in the gut. We had just done something that showed the United States at its weakest point ever. Never do we not have the backs of our friends. We don't have a greater friend than Israel. And to see that happen was not only embarrassing, it was hurtful. And so what I can tell you is everyone at the United Nations is scared to talk to me about Resolution 2334. And I wanted them to know that, look, that happened, but it will never happen again. So to answer the question on what can we do at the U.N., we can do a lot. The power of your voice is an amazing thing. So one, changing the culture of the U.N. is very important. And the way you change the culture of the U.N. is United States tells them what we're not going to put up with. We start to change the culture to what we should be talking about. And then we actually act on what we say. I wear heels. It's not for a fashion statement. It's because if I see something wrong, we're going to kick them every single time. So how are we kicking? We're kicking by, number one, putting everybody on notice, saying that if you have our back -- we're going to have the backs of our friends, but our friends need to have our back too. If you challenge us, be prepared for what you're challenging us for, because we will respond. The next thing we did was we said, the days of Israel-bashing are over. We have a lot of things to talk about. There are a lot of threats to peace and security. But you're not going to take our number one democratic friend in the Middle East and beat up on them. And I think what you're seeing is they're all backing up a little bit. The Israel-bashing is not as loud. They didn't know exactly what I meant outside of giving the speech, so we showed them. So when they decided to try and put a Palestinian in one of the highest positions that had ever been given at the U.N., we said no and we had him booted out. That doesn't mean he wasn't a nice man. That doesn't mean he wasn't good to America. What it means is, until the Palestinian Authority comes to the table, until the U.N. responds the way they're supposed to, there are no freebees for the Palestinian Authority anymore. So then they tested us again. And a ridiculous report, the Falk Report, came out. I don't know who the guy is or what he's about, but he's got serious problems. Goes and compares Israel to an apartheid state. So the first thing we do is we call the secretary general and say, this is absolutely ridiculous. You have to pull it. The secretary general immediately pulled the report. And then the director has now resigned. Last thing. So for anyone that says you can't get anything done at the U.N., they need to know there's a new sheriff in town."
  • March 15, 2017: Ambassador Haley: "The United States is outraged by the report of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA). That such anti-Israel propaganda would come from a body whose membership nearly universally does not recognize Israel is unsurprising. That it was drafted by Richard Falk, a man who has repeatedly made biased and deeply offensive comments about Israel and espoused ridiculous conspiracy theories, including about the 9/11 terrorist attacks, is equally unsurprising. The United Nations Secretariat was right to distance itself from this report, but it must go further and withdraw the report altogether. The United States stands with our ally Israel and will continue to oppose biased and anti-Israel actions across the UN system and around the world."
  • February 16, 2017: Ambassador Haley: "The first thing I want to do is talk about what we just saw in there. The Security Council just finished its regular monthly meeting on Middle East issues. It's the first meeting like that that I've attended, and I have to say it was a bit strange. The Security Council is supposed to discuss how to maintain international peace and security. But at our meeting on the Middle East, the discussion was not about Hizballah's illegal build-up of rockets in Lebanon. It was not about the money and weapons Iran provides to terrorists. It was not about how we defeat ISIS. It was not about how we hold Bashar al-Assad accountable for the slaughter of hundreds and thousands of civilians. No, instead, the meeting focused on criticizing Israel, the one true democracy in the Middle East. I am new around here, but I understand that's how the Council has operated, month after month, for decades. I'm here to say the United States will not turn a blind eye to this anymore. I am here to underscore the ironclad support of the United States for Israel. I'm here to emphasize the United States is determined to stand up to the UN's anti-Israel bias. We will never repeat the terrible mistake of Resolution 2334 and allow one-sided Security Council resolutions to condemn Israel. Instead, we will push for action on the real threats we face in the Middle East. We stand for peace. We support a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that is negotiated directly between the two parties, as President Trump reiterated in his meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu yesterday. The outrageously biased resolutions from the Security Council and the General Assembly only make peace harder to attain by discouraging one of the parties from going to the negotiating table. Incredibly, the UN Department of Political Affairs has an entire division devoted to Palestinian affairs. Imagine that. There is no division devoted to illegal missile launches from North Korea. There is no division devoted to the world's number one state-sponsor of terror, Iran. The prejudiced approach to Israeli-Palestinian issues does the peace process no favors. And it bears no relationship to the reality of the world around us. The double standards are breathtaking. Just a few days ago, the United States sought unsuccessfully to have the Security Council condemn a terrorist attack to Israel, where the terrorist opened fire on people waiting for a bus and then stabbed others. The Security Council would not hesitate to condemn an attack like that in any other country. But not for Israel. The statement was blocked. And that's downright shameful. Israel exists in a region where others call for its complete destruction and in a world where anti-Semitism is on the rise. These are threats that we should discuss at the United Nations as we continue working toward a comprehensive agreement that would end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But outside of the UN, there is some good news. Israel's place in the world is changing. Israel is building up new diplomatic relationships. More and more countries recognize how much Israel contributes to the world. They are recognizing that Israel is a beacon of stability in a troubled region, and that Israel is at the forefront of innovation, entrepreneurship, and technological discovery. It is the UN's anti-Israel bias that is long overdue for change. The United States will not hesitate to speak out against these biases in defense of our friend and ally, Israel. I will say that I think we saw maybe a slightly different tone in the meeting, but we will have to see how it goes."
  • January 27, 2017: Ambassador Haley: "Our goal with the administration is to show value at the UN, and the way that we'll show value is to show our strength, show our voice, have the backs of our allies, and make sure that our allies have our back, as well. For those who don't have our back, we're taking names we will make points to respond to that accordingly. But this is a time of strength, this is a time of action, this is a time of getting things done. And this administration is prepared and ready to go in to have me go in, look at the UN, and everything that's working, we're going to make it better; everything that's not working, we're going to try and fix; and anything that seems to be obsolete and not necessary, we're going to do away with. But this is a time of fresh eyes, new strength, new vision, and a great day at the USUN."
  • January 18, 2017: Ambassador Haley: "However, any honest assessment also finds an institution that is often at odds with the American national interest and American taxpayers. Nowhere has the U.N.'s failure been more consistent and more outrageous than it is -- than its bias against our close ally Israel... We contribute 22% of the U.N.'s budget, far more than any other country. We are a generous nation. But we must ask ourselves what good is being accomplished by this disproportionate contribution. Are we getting what we pay for? To your credit, the Congress has already begun to explore ways the United States can use its leverage to make the United Nations a better investment for the American people. I applaud your efforts, and I look forward to working with you to bring seriously needed change to the U.N.... [M]y goal for the United Nations will be to create an international body that better serves the interests of the American people... We must build an international institution that honors commitment to freedom and democracy."
U.S. State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert
  • October 12, 2017: Press statement on "withdrawal" from UNESCO: "On October 12, 2017, the Department of State notified UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova of the U.S. decision to withdraw from the organization and to seek to establish a permanent observer mission to UNESCO. This decision was not taken lightly, and reflects U.S. concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organization, and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO."
  • August 21, 2017: Comment to reporters regarding creation of a UN database of businesses operating directly or indirectly in settlements: "We have made clear our opposition regarding the creation of a database of businesses...and we have not participated and will not participate in its creation or contribute to its content."
U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman
  • November 13, 2017: Statement at Zionist Organization of America dinner: "We came into office on the heels of perhaps the greatest betrayal of Israel by a sitting president in American history the failure by the United States, in December of last year, to veto UN Security Council Resolution 2334. Imagine, a resolution stating that the Western Wall is illegally occupied territory, and, unthinkably, the US abstained, permitting it to pass... I hope you agree with me that we have turned the page since that dark period last December. Gone are the days where the UN bashes Israel with impunity. Let UNESCO falsely disclaim, once again, the 3500 year connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem or Hevron. This time around the result was strikingly different the United States withdrew from UNESCO. In Ambassador Nikki Haley, there truly is a new sheriff in town down the block in Turtle Bay."
House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan
  • March 27, 2017: Speaker Ryan: "Israel today also faces a new threat... It is called the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions-or BDS-movement. We know the goal is to delegitimize Israel and isolate her under the thin veil of social justice and human rights. We saw this in December at the United Nations-an organization obsessed with singling out and demonizing Israel. So I want to say to the UN: We will not tolerate your anti-Israel bias. The Trump administration will not tolerate your anti-Israel bias. And our new ambassador, Nikki Haley, will certainly not tolerate your anti-Israel bias..."
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman
  • March 8, 2017: "Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Wednesday asked US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to reconsider American support for the United Nations agency that deals with Palestinian refugees, as well as for the UN Human Rights Council. The agencies do not fulfill their mission, he told the secretary, according to readout of the meeting issued by Liberman's office. 'Instead, the Human Rights Council deals with demonizing Israel and with efforts to harm it by distorting reality.' He said it was unacceptable that 60 percent of the council's resolutions targeted Israel instead of dealing with the dire human rights situation in Iran or North Korea or Syria."
Senator Bob Menendez
  • March 28, 2017: "I refused to stand silent when the United States abstained from a UN Security Council vote that was unabashedly biased against Israel, and ultimately detrimental to the cause of peace. That's also why I co-introduced Senate Res. 6, strongly objecting to its passage. The U.N. Security Council can't pass a resolution condemning Iran's violation of ballistic missile testing. It can't pass a resolution to stop the humanitarian strife in Syria. It can't condemn Russia for indiscriminately bombing civilians in Aleppo. And yet it endorses a biased resolution that pins every wrong in the Middle East on the one nation that stands up for what's right. A resolution that allows terrorist organizations like Hamas to shirk any responsibility in the routine incitement of Palestinian violence. A resolution that emboldens hardliners who will seize it to advance their own agendas...Unfortunately, the United Nations is not the only place where Israel confronts this double standard. A double standard that increasingly seems little more than anti-Semitism in disguise."
Senator Marco Rubio
  • October 12, 2017: Press release on U.S. "withdrawal" from UNESCO: 'As ISIS commits genocide and destroys historical and cultural heritage sites throughout the Middle East, the majority of UNESCO's member states have chosen instead to advance a discriminatory and counterproductive anti-Israel agenda, including the repeated passage of measures that deny any connection between Jews and Christians and the Temple Mount, the Western Wall, and other holy sites in Jerusalem,' said Rubio. 'Until UNESCO's member states end their anti-Israel agenda, the Trump Administration is right to withdraw the United States from UNESCO and uphold U.S. laws that forbid American taxpayer money from going to this organization.'"
  • May 9, 2017: Senator Marco Rubio: "The United States cannot stand by and allow the sole democracy in the Middle East and one of our strongest allies on the planet to be targeted, discriminated against or held to a different standard than any other UN member state...These days, as you probably are well aware, it's difficult to find much that everyone can agree on in this city, but the one issue where you will find a united voice on Capitol Hill is the need to eliminate discriminatory behavior against Israel at international organizations."
  • May 1, 2017: Editorial co-authored with Senator Chris Coons: "While the U.N. has achieved some important successes since its founding 70 years ago, too many of its member states and agencies use the world body as a vehicle for targeting Israel rather than as a forum committed to advancing peace and human rights. This encourages and supports the broader scourge of anti-Semitism, and distracts key U.N. entities from their original missions. As both the U.N.'s principal founding member and its largest financial contributor, the U.S. must insist on real reforms. We in Congress have a responsibility to conduct rigorous oversight of U.S. engagement at the U.N. and its use of our citizens' tax dollars...We stand ready to lead sustained bipartisan efforts in Congress and with our international partners to eliminate the U.N.'s anti-Israel bias, and to fight anti-Semitism in all its forms."
  • January 18, 2017: Senator Rubio: "As I said when the U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 2334 with the United States abstaining, if the U.N. wants to continue to attack Israel and promote anti-Semitism, I will work to see that it does so without U.S. taxpayer funding... It's time for the United Nations to be held accountable for targeting and singling out Israel while countries that actually threaten international peace and security-like Russia and China-go unchallenged."
Senator Chris Coons
  • May 1, 2017: Editorial co-authored with Senator Marco Rubio: "While the U.N. has achieved some important successes since its founding 70 years ago, too many of its member states and agencies use the world body as a vehicle for targeting Israel rather than as a forum committed to advancing peace and human rights. This encourages and supports the broader scourge of anti-Semitism, and distracts key U.N. entities from their original missions. As both the U.N.'s principal founding member and its largest financial contributor, the U.S. must insist on real reforms. We in Congress have a responsibility to conduct rigorous oversight of U.S. engagement at the U.N. and its use of our citizens' tax dollars...We stand ready to lead sustained bipartisan efforts in Congress and with our international partners to eliminate the U.N.'s anti-Israel bias, and to fight anti-Semitism in all its forms."
Senator Lindsey Graham
  • January 12, 2017: "Twenty-two percent of the money to fund the UN comes from the American taxpayer. I don't think it's a good investment for the American taxpayer to give money to an organization that condemns the only democracy in the Mideast, and takes the settlement issue and says that's the most important and only issue in terms of an impediment to peace. I begged the UN months before, don't put me in this box. This was John Kerry and Obama taking a slap at Israel. We're going to push back. I think most Americans believe that the United Nations has become more anti-Semitic, more anti-Israeli. And I'm a big internationalist, but we're going to stop the money until we get this fixed. I appreciate Ted's [Senator Cruz] leadership on this."
  • December 24, 2016: Speaking on CNN, Senator Lindsey Graham warned that he will propose a bill in Congress to pull U.S. funding for the United Nations unless the U.N. Security Council repeals its just-passed resolution condemning Israeli settlements as illegal. "'I am a huge supporter of foreign aid and the U.N... But I can't support funding a body that singles out the only democracy in the Middle East who shares our values... If you can't show the American people that international organizations can be more responsible, there is going to be a break. And I am going to lead that break."
  • December 23, 2016: In a statement, Senator Lindsey Graham announced "If the United Nations moves forward with the ill-conceived resolution, I will work to form a bipartisan coalition to suspend or significantly reduce United States assistance to the United Nations."