Ros-Lehtinen cites anti-Israel bias in calling for U.N. funding reform

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) cited anti-Israel rhetoric in proposing legislation conditioning U.N. funding on reform.

“I am going to reintroduce legislation that conditions our contributions—our strongest leverage—on real, sweeping reform, including moving the U.N. regular budget to a voluntary funding basis,” Ros-Lehtinen, the chairwoman of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, said Tuesday. “That way, U.S. taxpayers can pay for the U.N. programs and activities that advance our interests and values, and if other countries want different things to be funded, they can pay for it themselves.”

Ros-Lehtinen outlined three areas she said demonstrated the need for reform: deference to the North Korean regime by the local office of the U.N. Development Program; the international body’s anti-Israel bent, particularly at the U.N. Human Rights Council; and procurement corruption.

She called the council “a rogues’ gallery dominated by human rights violators who use it to ignore real abuses and instead attack democratic Israel relentlessly.”

Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), the ranking member, defended the Obama administration’s emphasis on dues-paying and engagement.

He listed the Human Rights Council’s anti-Israel bias as first in a long list of flaws, but said paying dues accrued credibility.

“Had we been in such deep arrears last year, does anyone honestly think we could have gotten an additional round of Iran sanctions through the Security Council?” he said.

Among those testifying was Hillel Neuer, who directs U.N. Watch, a body that monitors the United Nations for anti-Israel bias.

Irving Moskowitz major funder for Ros-Lehtinen

The benefactor of a controversial Jewish development in eastern Jerusalem is a major donor to U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the new head of the House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee.

Irving Moskowitz, a retired casino magnate, and his wife, Cherna, gave the maximum $4,800 each to Ros-Lehtinen’s campaign in the most recent election cycle, Politico reported this week.

Cherna Moskowitz additionally donated $5,000 to NACPAC, a pro-Israel political action committee that contributed $10,000 to Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) in the cycle.

The demolition of the Shepherd Hotel began this week in the Arab neighborhood of Sheik Jarrah in eastern Jerusalem in order to make way for a development for 20 Jewish apartments funded by Moskowitz.

The United States and others in the international community have condemned the project as disruptive to peace talks, but the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has refused to use emergency powers at its disposal that would stop the private venture.

Ros-Lehtinen has said that she will use her oversight capacity to examine funding for the Palestinian Authority, especially if it does not return to peace talks.

PA officials have said that building in eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank must stop before they return to talks.