Graham helps kick off AIPAC with UN funding cut threat

Greg Nash

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) helped kick off a prominent pro-Israel lobbying group’s annual event in Washington on Sunday by threatening to cut funding to the United Nations.

{mosads}”All the money that goes in to support the State Department comes through my committee,” Graham said kicking off the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) opening session, according to Bloomberg.

“I’m gonna put the United Nations on notice,” said Graham, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, adding that he would go after its funding if the organization “marginalized” Israel, the news service added.

Lawmakers have protested the Palestinian Authority’s bid to join the International Criminal Court, which is investigating possible war crimes committed by Israel in Gaza last year. The U.N. has said the Palestinians will become a member in April.

Graham and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) kicked off the first session on Sunday, multiple outlets reported, to illustrate the bipartisan congressional support for Israel, despite controversy over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Tuesday address to Congress, which came at the invitation of Republicans without White House input.

“The circumstances surrounding the invitation [to Netanyahu] were not what they should have been. We all understand that. But don’t lose focus. The bad guy is Iran,” Cardin said to applause, Bloomberg reported.

“Many journalists have written the story that this is a relationship in crisis,” AIPAC CEO Howard Kohr said, according to Bloomberg. “This is not a crisis. Frankly, it’s up to us to not let it become a crisis.”

U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power and national security adviser Susan Rice are slated to speak at the event, though President Obama, Vice President Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry will not. Obama, Biden and Kerry will also not be present at Netanyahu’s address Tuesday.

Other major speakers at the event include House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.).

Tags Ben Cardin John Kerry Lindsey Graham Mitch McConnell Robert Menendez Samantha Power

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