The United Nations is an “anti-Semitic organization” that consistently denigrates Israel while elevating the Palestinian cause, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen tells Newsmax.
The Florida Republican, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, also asserts that President Obama has taken a “very weak” position regarding efforts to grant the Palestinians statehood at the U.N., and says the U.S. should reform the way it funds a world body that repeatedly votes against American interests.
Ros-Lehtinen, who was first elected in 1988, is the senior Republican woman in the House. In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, she was asked about Obama’s stance on the upcoming U.N. vote for Palestinian statehood.
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“I believe the Obama administration, from the president on down, has taken a very weak position regarding granting Palestine statehood at the United Nations,” she declares.
“Yes, the president has said he is against it and has told his agencies to oppose it. That is different from saying he will veto it.
“During 1989, Yasser Arafat said we’re going to go to the U.N. and declare a Palestinian state. George Herbert Walker Bush said you can do that but we will withhold money to any U.N. agency that grants this status to this Palestinian Authority. And when faced with no U.S. money or granting status, what the U.N. did is not even consider this.”
As for current efforts to grant statehood to the Palestinians, the United States “should say no in very strong, harsh, unequivocal way, because this would be a horrible situation for Israel. I don’t believe the President has been strong enough in saying we will veto such a move. We’ve got to be firm. They cannot be granted such status unless they have peace with Israel.”
Ros-Lehtinen pointed to the danger of granting statehood to an entity that includes Hamas, which the United States considers a terrorist organization.
“Hamas says in its charter they want to see a world without Israel. They want to obliterate Israel,” she says.
“So how could we allow even one cent of our dollars to go to this organization that will have in its midst terrorists who want to destroy Israel, and in turn destroy the United States.”
Asked about “whispers that the U.N. is anti-Semitic, Ros-Lehtinen tells Newsmax: “I don’t just whisper it, I say it and I say it: The United Nations is an anti-Semitic organization, an anti-Israel organization. [Israel] is the only country that is treated in such a shabby manner. It is denigrated while the Palestinian cause is elevated.
“You can’t compare the Israeli democracy to what is in place for the Palestinians. Their leadership has not served their own people well. They keep them in a welfare state, a permanent refugee status, instead of doing everything possible to elevate the well-being of the Palestinian people.
“The United Nations is greatly to blame for this because this has become an anti-Israel rogues’ gallery. Everyone who hates Israel is allowed a seat at the Human Rights Council to bash Israel. It’s staging ground for anti-U.S. and anti-Israel incitement.”
Ros-Lehtinen has introduced legislation to change the way the U.N. is funded. She points out that American taxpayers last year gave $7.7 billion to the United Nations, accounting for 22 percent of its operating budget and 27 percent of its peacekeeping operations.
“What are we getting in return? We’re getting an agency that votes against us at every opportunity,” she says.
“I say let’s change this around. If we don’t like the Human Rights Council, then let’s not fund it. We should pick and choose cafeteria style which groups we want to help.
“It’s time we used our leverage to reform the U.N., and if not we need to get our money out of there. We have a lot better uses for $7.7 billion every year.”
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