A bipartisan Senate coalition moved Wednesday to reject the U.N.’s anti-Israel vote with a resolution that tiptoes around the touchy subject of President Obama’s refusal to exercise the U.S. veto.
Unlike the House resolution, which lays blame squarely on Mr. Obama for failing to protect Israel, the Senate measure calling for the repeal of U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334 is careful to avoid criticizing the president directly.
Instead, the Senate document describes “the Obama Administration’s decision” withholding of its veto as “inconsistent with long-standing United States policy.”
Downplaying Mr. Obama’s role in the U.N. resolution’s passage Dec. 23 may have been the price for bipartisan support in the Senate.
The House resolution, which chides Mr. Obama for “refusing to veto this one-sided and anti-Israel resolution,” has 51 GOP but no Democratic cosponsors, while the Senate resolution boasts the backing of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
A total of 19 cosponsors from both sides of the aisle have signed onto the Senate resolution, sponsored by Sens. Ben Cardin, Maryland Democrat, and Marco Rubio, Florida Republican.
The White House came under fire after the security council voted 14-0 to approve the measure, which condemned Israeli settlements as illegal.
In a Wednesday statement, Mr. Cardin made no mention of Mr. Obama but said he was “deeply disappointed that the U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 2334, which is a one-sided text that makes direct negotiations for a two-state solution more challenging.”
“Our Senate Resolution sends the message that the U.S.-Israel partnership is ironclad,” Mr. Cardin said. “Going forward, Congress will take action against efforts at the UN or beyond that use Resolution 2334 to target Israel.”
The Senate resolution also calls for the administration to take “no action” at the 70-nation conference slated for Jan. 15 in Paris on the parameters of a separate Palestinian state, which Israelis fear could become the basis of an international accord dividing Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced he will not attend the summit.
“The Paris Conference is irrelevant,” Mr. Netanyahu said at a Tuesday meeting in Jerusalem. “But there are signs that they are trying to turn decisions made there into another Security Council resolution, and that is no longer irrelevant.”
Mr. Schumer, who had unsuccessfully lobbied the White House to veto the U.N. vote, described the United Nations as “a fervently anti-Israel body.”
“Knowing this, past administrations — both Democrat and Republican — have protected Israel from the vagaries of this biased institution,” Mr. Schumer said in a Wednesday statement. “Unfortunately, by abstaining on United Nations Resolution 2334, this administration has not followed in that path.”
A vote on House Resolution 14, introduced Tuesday by Rep. Dennis Ross, Florida Republican, could come as early as Thursday.
Mr. Ross ripped the Democratic president for what he described as his “constant disdain and hostility toward our closest ally.”
“The administration’s recent refusal to veto the U.N.’s anti-Israel resolution is utterly shameful and flies in the face of the United States’ longstanding relationship with Israel,” Mr. Ross said.