Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
For the Love of Israel:
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's Misguided War
on the UN
By Ramzy Baroud
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, September 12, 2011
From an Israeli point of view, Representative Ileana
Ros-Lehtinen is the ideal American politician. Although many in the US
government aspire to her level of commitment to Israel, few can measure up
to a dedication that extends beyond the very interests of her own country.
“Lawless extremists infest Congress like crabgrass besets lawns.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R. FL) is
one of the worst,” wrote US columnist Stephen Lendman on September 1.
Ros-Lehtinen’s resume is a distressing read. The congresswoman “endorses US
imperial wars, police state laws, corporate empowerment, tax cuts for the
rich, laying waste to Libya, perhaps a second Bay of Pigs, and Israeli
lawlessness, while, at the same, opposing Palestinian statehood,” according
It is, in fact, the “Israeli lawlessness” and her
opposition to a Palestinian statehood that has made her a darling to Israel
and its lobby. Unsurprisingly, Ros-Lehtinen has been rewarded handsomely for
her die-hard support of Israel by some of the most powerful pro-Israeli
individuals and lobby groups in the United States. One of these individuals
is Irving Moskowitz.
“The benefactor of a controversial Jewish
development in eastern Jerusalem is a major donor to U.S. Rep. Ileana
Ros-Lehtinen,” reported the Jewish Telegraph Agency on January 11, shortly
after the congresswoman claimed her new post.
well-known American Jewish millionaire, made his fortunes as a ‘casino
magnate’. A high proportion of the revenue he made from the gambling
industry has been used to demolish Palestinian homes, raze ancient olive
trees and fund Jewish settlements. It has also been used to finance
Ros-Lehtinen is hardly swayed by such
over-sentimental notions as ethnic cleaning. In fact, “Ileana Ros-Lehtinen:
Ready to play hardball” was the title of a profile article in the rightwing
Jerusalem Post on December 23, 2010.
For years, the congresswoman
has advocated crippling sanctions against Iran, cutting any US funds to the
UN Human Rights Council, United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and
all support to the Palestinian Authority (PA). “This feeling that Abbas and
Fayyad are the good guys, if they’re the good guys then we should start
praying for Israel’s safety right now,” she said, despite the fact that both
men have won the praise of many US officials and western institutions.
Now the PA – threatened by changes sweeping the region, and largely seen by
most Palestinians and Arabs as a US-lackey that has secured neither peace
nor Palestinians rights – has decided to seek admission into the UN as a
member state. In response to this, Rep. Ros-Lehtinen has also decided to
escalate her tactics. On August 30, the congresswoman introduced a new bill
– “HR 2829: To promote transparency, accountability, and reform within the
United Nation system, and for other purposes.” Known as the United Nations
Transparency, Accountability, and Reform Act of 2011, and backed by 57
co-sponsors, the bill appears to be an act of collective punishment against
UN members for daring to consider such a legitimate demand as admitting the
state of Palestine in prospected vote sometime in September.
“Ros-Lehtinen's irresponsible bill would slash 50% of the United States'
contributions to the UN's regular budget if her unrealistic demands aren't
met," wrote Don Kraus in the Huffington Post (September 2).
these demands require US president Barack Obama to direct the US permanent
representative at the UN to “use the voice, vote, and influence of the
United States at the United Nations to expand the Western European and
Others Group (WEOG) in the United Nations in Geneva to include Israel as a
permanent member with full rights and privileges.” More, it “requires all
employees of the United Nations and its specialized agencies to officially
and publicly condemn anti-Semitic statements made at any session of the
United Nations or its specialized agencies, or at any other session
sponsored by the United Nations.”
These demands, and many others,
are aimed at isolating Palestinians, stifling all criticism of Israel, and
propping up Israel’s legitimacy in the face of international uproar
resulting from Israel’s illegal occupation and continued violations of human
rights. Since they are clearly stated with the prior knowledge that they
will not be met, Ros-Lehtinen’s intention is probably to take the US’
relationship with the UN back to the dreadful days of neoconservative US
ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, who continues to serve as a bulwark for
Israeli interests whenever possible.
But Ros-Lehtinen seems to have
surpassed the benefit of the likes of Bolton. Morrie Amitay, former
executive director of the lobby group, Israel Public Affairs Committee
(AIPAC) enthusiastically told the Jerusalem Post last year, “I think she’ll
be terrific on Israel relations issues. I don’t think there’s anybody
better. She’s 100 percent behind making Israel secure. I can’t think of any
issue affecting Israel in which she hasn’t been on the right side.”
She is definitely on the ‘right side’ of Israel’s and it policies. However,
she is not necessarily on the right side of the US, which is in urgent need
of altering its policy in a region that is rife with popular revolutions
demanding justice, democracy and human rights.
“We need to help
Israel, we need to show Israel that we are strongly in its corner,”
Ros-Lehtinen stated days before she officially claimed her post last
Aside from issues pertaining to Israel and Palestine,
Ros-Lehtinen’s resume is filled with episodes so shameful that they seem to
lack any moral frame of reference. For example, the congresswoman was
credited for rallying her Republican peers at the Congress to defeat a “bill
Dec. 16 that would have committed the United States to combating forced
child marriages abroad,” according to The Washington Post (December 22,
Ros-Lehtinen remains committed to such a dismal legacy, now
going after organizations that provide housing, schools and health care for
Palestinian refugees and other plighted people.
All of this is done
in the name of Israel, at the expense of global security and United States
leadership (or whatever still remains of it).
- Ramzy Baroud
(www.ramzybaroud.net) is an
internationally-syndicated columnist and the editor of
PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter:
Gaza's Untold Story (Pluto Press, London), available on Amazon.com.