We just posted the following brief about a letter that Howard Berman, perhaps the most powerful Jewish congressman, sent to all of his colleagues:
WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Jewish chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee urged colleagues to reassess negative impressions of the Obama administration’s U.N. outreach.
"I wanted to bring to your attention two recent hard-fought victories by the United States at these institutions, which highlight how sustained engagement with international organizations by the Obama Administration has reaped important dividends for both the U.S. and Israel," Berman said in a May 11 letter sent to every member of the House. "By actively using our voice and vote in organizations such as the UNHRC and UNESCO, we are better able to support Israel — and achieve other important goals — in the international community."
The U.N. Human Rights Council is a body dominated by anti-Israel nations and which devotes the bulk of its attention to Israel. UNESCO is the U.N.’s cultural and scientific arm.
Berman notes the successful U.S.-led effort to keep Iran from assuming a seat on the UNHRC, and a letter from Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman thanking Hillary Rodham Clinton, the U.S. secretary of state, for successfully pushing back against anti-Israel resolutions at UNESCO.
"The lesson from these critical victories is clear: U.S. engagement works," Berman said. "Without a strong presence at international organizations, we risk leaving our ally Israel to battle alone against countries seeking to de-legitimize the Jewish state."
Here’s what really piques my curiosity, though — the letter’s opening:
Many Members have been highly skeptical of the Obama Administration’s determination to seek membership in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and the Bush Administration’s decision to rejoin the United Nations Economic, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Many members? This would presumably include Democrats — which ones? Who’s been complaining?
That would make a good story.