TRUMP ISSUES ORDER TO DEFUND ALL BODIES RECOGNISING A PALESTINIAN STATE
President Donald Trump has signed an executive order halting all US funding to United Nations agencies which recognize the Palestinian Authority (PA) or Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as a full member. Other international bodies and programs which recognize the Palestinians will also be targeted. The order, entitled “Auditing and Reducing U.S. Funding of International Organizations”, will create a committee tasked with investigating U.S. aid to all international programs and determining if the organizations meet the criteria for defunding. The review process will result in either a drastic reduction or complete cutting of monies to agencies which violate that criteria. Along with giving full membership to the PA or PLO, agencies will also be defunded for supporting reproductive rights or engaging in activities which violate international sanctions against Iran or North Korea.
The order also calls for withdrawing funding from any organization that “is controlled or substantially influenced by any state that sponsors terrorism.” The executive order is actually based on an existing U.S. statute which mandates that US funding must be withdrawn from any UN agencies which “accords the Palestine Liberation Organization the same standing as member states.” That statute forced President Barack Obama to defund UNESCO in 2011 after it accepted the Palestinian Authority as a member. Trump’s executive order calls for “at least a 40 percent overall decrease” in the total amount of aid which the U.S. gives to international organizations. If signed and enacted, the order would drastically slash the budgets of UN agencies, which rely on billions of dollars in U.S. aid annually. Making up 22 percent of its budget, the U.S.’s contributions to the UN far outstrip that of any other country.
The U.N.’s anti-Israel bias is well-documented, as is its noted sympathy to the Palestinian cause. Trump has denounced the international body’s targeting of Israel, warning after the U.N. condemned Israeli settlements in a resolution last month that “things will be different” after his inauguration.
NETANYAHU SAYS ISRAEL HAS NO BETTER ALLY THAN THE U.S.
President Donald Trump told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on his recent visit to Washington that there is an “unbreakable bond” between the United States and the Jewish State. “Israel has no better ally than the United States, and I want to assure you, the United States has no better ally than Israel,” Netanyahu said as the two world leaders held a press conference at the White House after a meeting there. Netanyahu said that both powers face the threat of “radical Islamic” terrorism, adding he believes reversing the “rising tide of radical Islam” is possible with Trump’s leadership. Trump and Netanyahu also spoke about the possibility of a two-state deal between Israel and the Palestinians. The commander-in-chief called on his Israeli counterpart to “hold back on settlements for a little bit”, referring to the Jewish state’s aggressive plan to build new housing in disputed areas.
Trump also said a “two-state deal looks like it will be the easier of the two.” But he noted if Israel and the Palestinians find an alternative they are more comfortable with, he will support it. But the two parties themselves “must directly negotiate such an agreement,” Trump added. Netanyahu said “both sides” need to work toward peace and criticized Palestinians for their “hate” of Israel. “They continue to call for Israel’s destruction inside their schools, inside their mosques, inside their textbooks,” Netanyahu said. “You have to read it to believe it.” Asked about a tentative plan to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Trump responded, “We’re looking at it with great care.” Trump also noted he has launched new sanctions against Iran and called the Iran nuclear agreement, brokered in part by President Barack Obama, “one of the worst deals I’ve ever seen.”
POLL SHOWS 85% OF JEWS HAVE EXPERIENCED OR WITNESSED ANTI-SEMIITISM
Eighty-five percent of Jews around the world have witnessed or experienced antisemitism at some point in their lives, a survey by the World Zionist Organization’s International Centre for Countering Anti-Semitism found. 50 percent of respondents from Europe and North America said they had either witnessed or experienced antisemitism in the past year, according to the poll. 67% of respondents, out of a total of 702, witnessed or experienced anti-Semitic incidents involving abusive language and insults. 20% said they had witnessed or experienced antisemitism in the form of threats. Out of 13% of respondents who said they had either experienced or witnessed incidents of anti-Semitic violence, the overwhelming majority, 73%, did not report the incident to authorities.
The poll was released ahead of Israel’s National Day to Combat Anti-Semitism, and International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The respondents identified as Jewish but not Israeli. 72% of European Jews said they do not feel comfortable with publicly displaying their Jewish identity by wearing a yarmulke or Star of David. By contrast, 22% of North American Jews feel uncomfortable with public displays of Jewishness. 80% of those polled believed that politicians in their respective countries were anti-Semitic on some level. “We see that there is a correlation between the atmosphere of the international public agenda and the escalation of anti-Semitic incidents around the world, in their frequency and in their violent nature,” World Zionist Organisation (WZO) Vice Chairman Yaakov Hagoel said. “The WZO will continue to fight this ugly phenomenon with all the measures at its disposal.”