Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) has written to the secretary-general of the United Nations to express his "outrage" over recent moves to add Israel to a so-called "List of Shame" for child human rights violators that also includes terror groups such as Boko Haram and the Islamic State.
Cruz’s letter comes on the heels of reports that Human Rights Watch (HRW) is petitioning Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to include Israel on an annual list of human rights violators that have targeted children.
HRW argues that Israel should be added to the list due to the deaths of some 500 children during last summer’s war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Hamas has been singled out following the war for using human shields, including children, and positioning their military outposts near schools and other civilian outposts.
Cruz appealed directly to Ban, urging him to avoid shaming the U.N. with further accusations of anti-Israel bias. The lawmaker also warns that if the U.N. decides to include Israel on the shame list, Congress will be forced to "reassess the United States’ relationship with the United Nations and consider serious consequences."
Such a "designation would falsely and shamefully equate Israel with some of the most barbaric terrorist organizations around the world," Cruz wrote, according to a copy of the letter. "The decision to add Israel is solely your decision to make and, therefore, is entirely in your power to prevent from taking place."
If Israel were added to the List of Shame it would join such nations as Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, as well as terror groups such as al Qaeda and the Taliban.
Such a designation is typically reserved for those who "recruit or use children, kill or maim children, commit rape and other forms of sexual violence against children, or engage in attacks on schools and/or hospitals in situations of armed conflict," according to past issues of the U.N. report.
When asked to address Cruz’s letter on Friday, a U.N. official said that "the report on children and armed conflict is not out yet. We expect it to come out sometime next week, and you can then see and evaluate the report for yourself."
Pressed to explain whether Israel would be included, the official responded that the international organization does not "have any comment on the contents of the report until it is released. Once it is, you can see for yourself who is and is not included."
Cruz argues that Israel has no place on a list that includes some of the worst human rights abusers and violent terror groups.
"There is absolutely no legitimate basis for adding Israel to such a list that includes parties which only represent the greatest of evil, honor death over life, and deliberately massacre women and children," the letter states. "Unlike those parties on your list, Israel cherishes life and goes to extraordinary lengths to minimize civilian casualties during a conflict."
This includes directly phoning civilians to warn of incoming strikes and dropping fliers onto homes to help citizens evacuate, Cruz says.
"I submit that, should you determine to add more parties to your list, you should focus on those who actually exploit their own children as human shields, indoctrinate and raise their children to glorify violence and martyrdom, and target the children of others to achieve their destructive goals who should receive priority consideration, such as Hamas and Palestine Islamic Jihad," he writes.
"There is absolutely no moral equivalence between radical Islamic terrorists, who are motivated by these factors, and Israel, which is justifiably motivated solely by the defense of her people," the letter states.
"Mr. Secretary-General," Cruz adds, "under no circumstances should Israel be added to your list. As the largest contributor to the United Nations, Congress will have no choice but to reassess the United States’ relationship with the United Nations and consider serious consequences if you choose to take this action."