WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Donald Trump suggested he would cut aid to nations that vote at the U.N. to rebuke his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Trump, opening a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, praised Nikki Haley, the ambassador to the United Nations, for saying a day earlier that she would “take names” at the General Assembly vote scheduled for Thursday.
“I like the message that Nikki sent yesterday at the United Nations for all of these nations that take our money and then they vote against us at the Security Council, or they vote against us potentially at the assembly,” Trump said. “They take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars, and then they vote against us. Well, we’re watching those votes. Let them vote against us, we’ll save a lot. We don’t care.”
Arab and Muslim nations initiated the resolution. One of its key backers is Egypt, a close U.S. ally and the third largest beneficiary of American aid at $1.46 billion annually. Much of the assistance is for defense and guaranteed to Egypt since it signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979.
Israel is the largest recipient of aid at $3.1 billion per year. Other Arab and Muslim nations in the top 10 include Afghanistan, which is second with $1.51 billion, and Jordan and Pakistan, fourth and fifth, with $1 billion and $803.8 million, respectively.
The General Assembly, the main representative organ of the United Nations with 193 members, will vote in a rare emergency session on a resolution urging Trump to rescind his Jerusalem recognition.
On Monday, the United States vetoed a similar resolution at the U.N. Security Council supported by the other 14 members and initiated by Egypt. Unlike Security Council resolutions, General Assembly resolutions are nonbinding and symbolic.
Trump reversed decades of U.S. policy earlier this month when he recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and began the process of moving the U.S. Embassy there from Tel Aviv. The Palestinians and Arab and Muslim countries expressed outrage, and much of the world came out against the move.