(WASHINGTON) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following statement today regarding reports that the United States, seeking to avoid having to decide whether to veto a pending United Nations Security Council draft resolution critical of Israel, has offered to support instead a Security Council Presidential Statement critical of Israel. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“Support for this anti-Israel statement is a major concession to enemies of the Jewish State and other free democracies. It telegraphs that the U.S. can be bullied into abandoning critical democratic allies and core U.S. principles.
“Palestinian leaders refuse to negotiate directly with Israel, while Israel has made unprecedented concessions and continues to repeatedly offer to negotiate anywhere, anytime. Responsible nations should be heralding Israel’s commitment to achieving peace and security, not giving credence to the relentless campaigns by anti-democratic forces to deny that commitment.
“Offering to criticize our closest ally at the UN isn’t leadership, it’s unacceptable. Pretending that criticism of Israel is OK if it comes in a ‘Presidential Statement’ instead of a resolution isn’t leadership, it’s unacceptable. Twisting and turning and tying yourself in knots to avoid using our veto to defend our allies and interests isn’t leadership, it’s unacceptable.
“The Administration should change course, stand unequivocally with Israel, and publicly pledge to block any anti-Israel UN Security Council action.”
NOTE: On January 27, 2011, Ros-Lehtinen and five fellow senior Members of Congress sent a bipartisan letter to the President—to which they have yet to receive a response—requesting that the Administration veto the aforementioned UN Security Council draft resolution criticizing Israel. The letter also called on the President to hold the Palestinian leadership accountable for their actions that undermine opportunities for peace and security. In addition to Ros-Lehtinen, the letter was signed by: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor; House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer; Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Howard L. Berman; and U.S. Reps. Steve Chabot and Gary L. Ackerman, the Chairman and Ranking Member, respectively, of the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia.