Trump administration freezes half of U.S. funding of UN’s Palestinian relief agency

WASHINGTON (JTA) – The Trump administration froze more than half of U.S. funding for the UN organization assisting Palestinian refugees and their descendants, citing what it depicted as the oversize U.S. role in the funding.

The State Department said Tuesday that it had put a hold on $65 million US of the $125 million now due to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which distributes its assistance in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, as well as to refugee camps in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. [Read more…]

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U.S. denies visa for Israeli singer to perform at UN for Holocaust Remembrance Day

JERUSALEM (JTA) – The United States embassy in Israel has declined a visa request by Israeli singer Amir Benayoun, who is scheduled to perform a song he wrote at the United Nations annual ceremony for International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Benayoun is scheduled to be joined on stage at the U.N. in New York by singers David D’Or and Miri Mesika, who already have received their visas, and who will help him perform the song in Hebrew, English, and Arabic in a performance scheduled for International Holocaust Remembrance Day.  The annual ceremony commemorates the liberation of Auschwitz on January 27. [Read more…]

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Report details intense efforts by Trump transition to derail UN anti-Israel resolution

Michael Flynn at the U.S. Capitol during U.S. President Donald Trump’s inauguration ceremony, Jan. 20, 2017. (Saul Loeb/Pool/Getty Images)
Michael Flynn at the U.S. Capitol during U.S. President Donald Trump’s inauguration ceremony, Jan. 20, 2017. (Saul Loeb/Pool/Getty Images)

Michael Flynn at the U.S. Capitol during U.S. President Donald Trump’s inauguration ceremony, Jan. 20, 2017. (Saul Loeb/Pool/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Efforts by the Trump transition team to kill a 2016 UN Security Council resolution slamming Israel’s settlement policies were more widespread than was previously known, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

The report Friday said the effort encompassed a number of transition officials beyond Michael Flynn, the national security adviser-designate who was previously known to have made the effort. [Read more…]

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Kosovo president: We’d have voted with U.S. on Jerusalem at United Nations

The voting results of a U.N. resolution condemning President Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Dec. 21, 2017. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The voting results of a U.N. resolution condemning President Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Dec. 21, 2017. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

(JTA) – Kosovo President Hashim Thaci said his Muslim-majority nation would have voted with the United States against a UN resolution condemning the Trump administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Thaci said in a recent interview with the Albanian newspaper Express that were Kosovo to achieve full membership in the United Nations, it would vote “all the time” with the United States, including on last month’s resolution on Jerusalem. [Read more…]

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Nikki Haley hosts reception for 64 countries that did not support UN Jerusalem resolution

The voting results of a U.N. resolution condemning President Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Dec. 21, 2017. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
The voting results of a U.N. resolution condemning President Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Dec. 21, 2017. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The voting results of a U.N. resolution condemning President Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Dec. 21, 2017. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

(JTA) – Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, hosted a reception for the 64 countries that voted against or abstained from voting on a resolution condemning U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The “Friends of the U.S.” reception was held Wednesday night in New York at the U.S. mission to the United Nations. [Read more…]

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Britain joins U.S., Canada in opposing UN resolution on ‘Syrian Golan’

(JTA) – Britain for the first time joined the United States and Canada in opposing a UN resolution condemning Israel’s control over the Golan Heights and declaring it Syrian.

On Thursday, the British delegate told the assembly he voted no because “resolutions which undermine the credibility of UN bodies risk hardening positions on both sides, and do little to advance peace or mutual understanding,” he said. “It is unnecessary and disproportionate.” [Read more…]

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U.S. to withdraw from UNESCO by 2019 over anti-Israel bias

The UNESCO headquarters in Paris. (Wikimedia Commons)
The UNESCO headquarters in Paris. (Wikimedia Commons)

The UNESCO headquarters in Paris. (Wikimedia Commons)

(JTA) – The United States decided to withdraw from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) over its anti-Israel bias and need for reform, the Department of State said.

The decision, which would become effective only in 2019, “was not taken lightly, and reflects U.S. concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO,” read the statement Thursday by the U.S. Department of State, in which the United States announced that it had notified UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova of its decision. [Read more…]

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