Congressman Vern Buchanan

Representing the 16th District of Florida

Buchanan Denounces Failure to Stand with Israel

Jan 4, 2017
Press Release
U.S. House to Vote this Week on Buchanan-Backed Measure to Rebuke United Nations

Secretary of State John Kerry Should Apologize for Offensive Comments

WASHINGTON — Saying the Obama administration failed to support a key ally, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan today called on Congress to rebuke the United Nations for adopting an anti-Israel resolution.

The U.N. Security Council recently adopted a resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlements, describing them as an obstacle to peace. Breaking with long-standing tradition of defending Israel from such hostile action at the U.N., the U.S. refused to block the Dec. 23 vote.

The House is expected to vote Thursday on a resolution co-sponsored by Buchanan opposing the U.N.’s anti-Israel action.

Secretary of State John Kerry defended the administration’s action, saying “Israel can either be Jewish or democratic, it cannot be both and it won't ever live in peace.” Buchanan called Kerry’s comments “offensive” and said he should apologize.

“This is not how you treat your strongest ally in the Middle East, a democracy surrounded by hostile nations who have openly called for its destruction,” Buchanan said. “The U.N.’s recent action will only embolden enemies of the Jewish state.”

Had the United States chosen to veto this resolution, the vote would have automatically failed. This marked the first time the United States did not use its power to defend Israeli settlements at the U.N. Security Council in over three decades.

Immediately following the vote, both Democrats and Republicans rebuked the Obama administration for choosing to not intervene and kill the vote. U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, said “it is extremely frustrating, disappointing and confounding that the administration has failed to veto this resolution.”

Buchanan also pointed to a pattern of attempts made by the United Nations to undermine Israel during 2016. 

In October 2016 the U.N.’s cultural agency, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization passed a resolution criticizing Israel as an “occupying power” in Jerusalem. It also denied the Jewish people’s deep connection to several of their holiest sites in Jerusalem.

In May 2016, the U.N.’s World Health Organization called for an investigation into alleged “mental, physical and environmental health” abuses made by Israel, the only country singled out.

In March 2016 the U.N.’s Commission on the Status of Women designated Israel as the world’s sole violator of women’s rights, disregarding counties such as Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Hamas, which is considered a terrorist group by the United States, released a statement praising the countries that voted in support for the Dec. 23 resolution. “We emphasize the need to turn such a resolution into action, not only to halt settlements but to eradicate Israel’s occupation in all its forms,” said a Hamas spokesman.