Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Christopher Coons (D-DE) led all 100 U.S. senators in urging United Nations (U.N.) Secretary-General António Guterres to counter anti-Israel bias at the United Nations.
“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,” states the senators’ letter. “Through words and actions, we urge you to ensure that Israel is treated neither better nor worse than any other U.N. member in good standing.”
The full text of the letter is below.
April 27, 2017
Dear Mr. Secretary-General:
The United States co-founded the United Nations with the intention of saving future generations from war and reaffirming fundamental human rights. While much good is being done and has been done by the body, many of its member states and agencies are using the U.N.’s privileged platform to advance an anti-Israel agenda. Too often, the U.N. is exploited as a vehicle for targeting Israel rather than as a forum committed to advancing the lofty goals of its founders. These actions have at times reinforced the broader scourge of anti-Semitism, and distracted certain U.N. entities from their original missions.
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. Through words and actions, we urge you to ensure that Israel is treated neither better nor worse than any other U.N. member in good standing. To that end, we commend the words of our nation’s Ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, who recently stated, “It is the U.N.’s anti-Israel bias that is long overdue for change.”
We praise you for disavowing the recent anti-Israel report by the U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) and demanding that it be withdrawn. Going forward, we urge you to pursue a comprehensive effort to improve the U.N.’s treatment of Israel along the following lines.
The UNHRC should be the premier international body addressing the many pressing human rights challenges of our time in countries such as Russia, China, North Korea, Syria, Cuba, Venezuela, and South Sudan. It is currently not living up to this mission. We urge you to seek specific reforms to end the Council’s imbalanced focus on Israel, including through removal of Agenda Item VII and requiring competition among states seeking membership on the Council.
As both the U.N.’s principal founding member and its largest contributor, the United States should insist on reform. As duly elected representatives of the American people, we take seriously our responsibility to conduct rigorous oversight of U.S. engagement at the United Nations. We are deeply committed to international leadership and to advancing respect for human rights. But continued targeting of Israel by the U.N. Human Rights Council and other U.N. entities is unacceptable. This situation must change. We urge you to engage member states in a comprehensive effort to directly confront and root out this bias.
If you continue to build on your recent action, we stand ready to work with you to eliminate the organization’s anti-Israel bias, and to fight anti-Semitism in all its forms.