Biden Denies Lobbying Foreign Leaders to Back Anti-Israel U.N. Resolution

Insiders claim Biden pressured Ukrainian president to back resolution

Joe Biden and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in 2016 / AP
December 26, 2016

Vice President Joe Biden is denying accusations that he personally lobbied foreign leaders to vote in favor of a hotly contested anti-Israel resolution at the United Nations last week that has brought U.S.-Israel relations to an all time low, according to sources who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon about the matter.

Insiders familiar with the matter said Biden spoke by phone with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to ask that his country vote in favor of the resolution, which was passed by the U.N. Security Council last week when the United States, in a reversal of longstanding policy, did not exercise its veto power to kill the measure.

The Obama administration's decision to allow the resolution to pass drew outrage from a bipartisan range of voices in Congress and the Jewish organizational world.

Sources who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon described Biden as personally lobbying in favor of the resolution, which comports with claims by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that "the Obama administration initiated it, stood behind it, coordinated on the wording and demanded that it be passed."

"Biden lobbied Ukraine and of course administration officials are too cowardly to admit it," said a senior pro-Israel official who is working with Congressional offices on responding to the resolution. "With everything that's going on involving Russia, Iran, and Syria, this is how the Obama administration choose to spend its precious diplomatic capital. They decided to twist arms and trade favors for a resolution that cuts off Jews from Jerusalem, a city that is Israel's capital city according to American law."

Colin Kahl, Biden's national security advisor, denied the call took place.

"The Vice President did not call the Ukrainians or other foreign leaders on the resolution," Kahl told the Washington Free Beacon.

Israeli official have also claimed that Biden spoke by telephone with Poroshenko to convince him to vote in favor of the resolution, which Ukraine had been hesitant to do.

The fallout following the vote threatens to tarnish the Obama administration's legacy with regards to Israel, according to multiple statements from pro-Israel and Jewish organizations.
Congress is additionally contemplating a range of ways to counter the resolution and register its outrage with the United Nations.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) called for the United States to fully cut funding to the United Nations until the resolution is reversed.

Incoming President Donald Trump also signaled his outrage, stating on Twitter that "things will be different" when he takes office.

"The Obama administration has long flirted with international efforts to delegitimize Israel, so what happened today isn't really surprising," one senior congressional aide told the Washington Free Beacon following the vote.

"The good news is that a Republican government will enable us to roll back the Obama administration's hostile anti-Israel policies," the source said.

"President-elect Trump has already signaled a level of support for Israel that we haven't seen in eight years. Now we have a real opportunity to hold Iran accountable, fight BDS, and do everything possible to ensure Israel's qualitative military edge in the region."

Organizations typically in lockstep with the administration's agenda also lashed out at Obama.

"We are outraged over the U.S. failure to veto this biased and unconstructive UNSC resolution on Israel," Jonathan A. Greenblatt, a former Obama administration official who now heads the Anti-Defamation League, said in a statement. "This resolution will do little to renew peace efforts between Israel and the Palestinians. It will only encourage further Palestinian intransigence vis-à-vis direct negotiations with Israel in favor of unilateral, one-sided initiatives."

"The Obama administration repeatedly stated that a solution to the conflict cannot be imposed on the parties but must be achieved directly by the parties themselves," Greenblatt added. "It is deeply troubling that this biased resolution appears to be the final word of the administration on this issue."