When do U.S. Senators stand lockstep together?
When the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) convinces them that the United Nations is biased against the State of Israel.
It’s rare, especially these days, for all 100 U.S. Senators—from Bernie Sanders to Ted Cruz, from Elizabeth Warren to Mitch McConnell—to agree on something. But the scourge of anti-Israel bias at the United Nations is such an issue.
So all of them, including Senators Warren, Sanders, and my two Senators from New Mexico signed on to the letter undoubtedly written by AIPAC, the pro-Israeli lobbying operation ensconced in Washington DC.
The letter is a warning note to Secretary-General Guterres – “reform your agencies from within or pay the consequences.”
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.
My response sent to my two U.S. Senators follows. I hope they hear from many other constituents.
May 10, 2017
RE: April 27 letter to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres – Israel & Palestine
Dear Senators Udall and Heinrich,
I’m very disappointed with your signatures on the letter (likely drafted by AIPAC) to the United Nations regarding Israel.
You, along with your colleagues in the Senate, have adopted Israel’s strategy of deflecting legitimate and worldwide criticism of Israel’s brutal 50-year occupation by focusing criticism on the messenger, the United Nations. We’ve all seen this same “strategy of deflection” coming from the White House in the form of childish Tweets. Your letter is just as childish.
Threatening the United Nations and demanding internal “reforms,” based on false assertions that the U.N. is unfairly targeting Israel, belies the fact that the community of nations stand together in their condemnation of Israel’s long-term, illegal occupation of Palestine.
A quick online review of recent actions in the United Nations reveals that the U.S. stands alone with the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau (and sometimes Canada) in supporting Israel in the U.N. General Assembly. Every other nation is united in speaking the truth about Israel’s continuing violations of international humanitarian law and the law of occupation. Your letter’s bullying demands to the Secretary-General reflect poorly on the United States, but it’s certainly a testament to AIPAC’s power over the U.S. Senate.
I particularly want to draw your attention to the letter’s outrageous claim about “UNRWA’s troubling anti-Israel bias and activities.” You write that “UNRWA must pursue reforms or risk significant consequences.” I’m personally familiar with UNRWA’s solid work in the Gaza Strip and I find this characterization and threat totally unacceptable. The Senate’s blind loyalty to Israel’s hasbara must end.
I’m also astonished that you oppose the international call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) as stated in the letter to the U.N. Peaceful, nonviolent methods to end Israel’s occupation deserve your strong support, not condemnation.
Please learn the facts about the occupation, beginning with the fact that the Gaza Strip will be unlivable by 2020.
Israel’s leaders have proven over many decades that they are incapable or unwilling to end the occupation. If the United States cannot play a constructive role, then please support the United Nations and its constituent agencies in the work they are doing in the Middle East.
Finally, I invite you and your staff to join me in UNRWA-USA’s 5K run in Washington, DC in September. Your support for this worthy cause would be greatly appreciated.
Lora A. Lucero