Two unlikely Senate allies teamed up Thursday in an effort to defund the United Nations until it repeals the controversial resolution that condemned Israeli settlements.
Appearing on MSNBC Thursday morning, Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina blasted the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334.
Although the U.S. refrained from voting on the resolution, Graham said the resolution was an example of Secretary of State John Kerry and President Barack Obama "taking a slap at Israel."
"I don't think it's a good investment for the American taxpayer to give money to an organization that condemns the only democracy in the [Middle] East," Graham said, noting that 22 percent of the money that funds the U.N. "comes from the American taxpayer."
The U.S. pays approximately $8 billion in voluntary and mandatory payments to the U.N. annually.
"We're going to push back," Graham said.
Standing next to Graham in a matching red tie, Cruz decried Obama's treatment of Israel as "shameful," saying: "He's been on the way out, he's struck out repeatedly at Israel and done real damage."
In my view, we need to act not only to defend our friend and ally, the nation of Israel, but also U.S. interests.
So Lindsey and I today are joining in filing legislation that would end all U.S. taxpayer funding for the U.N. unless and until they reverse this resolution.
It's very simple, the only way to get their attention. We can give speeches, we can pass resolutions and the U.N. is going to ignore what we have to say. But if you cut off their money, that gets their attention, and I think we've got real prospects of seeing this thing move through Congress and actually turning this thing around.
Both Cruz and Graham were critical of the resolution from the outset.
Earlier this month, Cruz lambasted Kerry and Obama from the Senate floor for being "relentless enemies" of Israel during their time in office.
"Unlike Barack Obama and John Kerry, I do not consider the existence and creation of Israel to be a disaster," Cruz said. "And the government of the United States should not be suggesting such a thing."
Graham met with U.N. Secretary General António Guterres in New York regarding the resolution and lobbied members of the Security Council not to support the vote.
After it passed with 14 votes, Graham predicted there would be a "backlash in Congress against the United Nations."
"The organization is increasingly viewed as anti-Semitic and seems to have lost all sense of proportionality," he said.
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) January 12, 2017