This edition: Decoding Obama’s Holiday Message; Who is Holding the UN Accountable?
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Decoding Obama’s Holiday Message
President Barack Obama’s recent holiday greetings left much to be desired, the Zionist Organization (ZOA) said.
ZOA noted in a press release that Obama addressed his Rosh Hashanah message to “everybody,” while never mentioning the words “Jews” or “Judaism” (instead referencing “Jewish tradition” once). In contrast, Obama’s August 2010 Ramadan message referred to “Muslims” six times and “Islam” twice.
Additionally, Obama discussed “chiefly general world developments” instead of focusing on Israel, and when speaking about Israel omitted the threat of “Arab/Muslim terror and rejection,” ZOA said.
The White House did not return a request for comment from JointMedia News Service regarding Obama’s holiday remarks and ZOA’s critique.
In his message, Obama said that during the High Holidays “we look back on all the moments during the past year that give us reason to hope.”
“Around the world, a new generation is reaching for their universal rights,” the president said. “Here in the United States, we’ve responded to our challenges by focusing on the things that really matter—friendship, family, and community.
“But this last year was also one of hardship for people around the world,” Obama continued. “Too many of our friends and neighbors continue to struggle in the wake of a terrible economic recession. And beyond our borders, many of our closest allies—including the State of Israel—face the uncertainties of an unpredictable age.”
Obama’s full remarks can be viewed at http://m.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/09/27/remarks-president-occasion-rosh-hashanah.
Holding the UN Accountable: Where Do Your Legislators Stand?
To date, more than 100 U.S. Representatives across 32 states are cosponsoring recently introduced legislation aiming to hold the United Nations more accountable by changing the way America funds the entity—and the legislators on board all have one thing in common.
Of particular interest to the Jewish community, HR 2829: United Nations Transparency, Accountability, and Reform Act of 2011 directs the Secretary of State to “withhold U.S. contributions from any U.N. entity that recognizes a Palestinian state or upgrades the status of the Palestinian observer mission at the U.N., the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the Palestinian Authority (PA), or any other Palestinian administrative organization or governing entity prior to the achievement of a final peace agreement with Israel.”
All 112 cosponsoring congressmen for the legislation are Republican. JointMedia News Service created a state-by-state breakdown of which congressmen have signed on to the bill, whose primary sponsor is U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)—click here to download the document and find your local legislators.
The bill’s goal is to prompt UN reform through a fundamental shift in U.S. funding policy. According to its online summary, the legislation changes the U.S. funding mechanism for the regular budget of the UN “from an assessed to a voluntary basis,” withholding up to 50 percent of non-voluntary U.S. contributions to the budget “unless the Secretary of State certifies to Congress that 80 percent of the total regular budget of the UN is apportioned on a voluntary basis.” The legislation also calls for an itemized annual congressional justification for U.S. contributions to the UN budget.