US Presidents & Israel-related UNSCRs: The Historical Record, 1967-Present

by Lara Friedman

[Given the controversy provoked by the U.S. abstention on the UN Security Council resolution on Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories, we are referring readers to a memo and chart that contributor Lara Friedman prepared three months ago on the history U.S. yea votes and abstention at the Security Council resolutions critical of Israel.]

Back in April 2016, the New York Times published an oped I authored regarding President Obama and the United Nations Security Council. The genesis of that oped was the assertion – made repeatedly by policy experts and pundits, by journalists, by Jewish leaders, by members of Congress, etc – that no U.S. president has ever gone against Israel in the UN Security Council.

This argument has come up repeatedly during President Obama’s tenure in office. It has invariably been used in making the tendentious case that President Obama – if he were to support or permit passage of a UN Security Council resolution either critical of Israeli actions or policies or a resolution regarding Israeli-Palestinian peace opposed by Israel – he would be guilty of an unprecedented betrayal of the U.S.-Israel relationship.

Whether this assertion is accurate or inaccurate is not a matter of opinion. There is a clear historical record available for verifying the facts. The April 2016 oped was a result of an exhaustive review of that historical record — a review which found that every president since 1967 – except one – permitted passage of and/or supported numerous UN Security Council resolutions opposed by Israel. That one exception is President Obama, who as of this writing remains the only  U.S. president who during his time in office has not allowed the UN Security Council to pass a single resolution opposed by Israel.

Now, with the debate heating up over possible UN Security Council action on Israel-Palestine during President Obama’s final months in office, I am posting the full data laying out the record of every U.S. president since 1967 and Israel-related resolutions in the UN Security Council.

Republished, with permission, from Americans for Peace Now.

Lara Friedman

Lara Friedman is the president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP). With more than 25 years working in the Middle East foreign policy arena, Lara is a leading authority on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, with particular expertise on the Israeli-Arab conflict, Israeli settlements, Jerusalem, and the role of the U.S. Congress. She is published widely in the U.S. and international press and is regularly consulted by members of Congress and their staffs, by Washington-based diplomats, by policy-makers in capitals around the world, and by journalists in the U.S. and abroad. In addition to her work at FMEP, Lara is a non-resident fellow at the U.S./Middle East Project (USMEP). Prior to joining FMEP, Lara was the director of policy and government relations at Americans for Peace Now, and before that she was a U.S. Foreign Service Officer, serving in Jerusalem, Washington, Tunis and Beirut. She holds a B.A. from the University of Arizona and a Master’s degree from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service; in addition to English, Lara speaks French, Arabic, Spanish, (weak) Italian, and muddles through in Hebrew.



  1. Thanks to the indefatigable Lara- certainly I had not realized that there were some fair UNSC decisions on Israel’s behavior in US governments in the past. I noted especially those of 8 years ago when Obama was PEOTUS and said nothing, that the US abstained from the condemnation of the Gaza massacres while PM Olmert reacted furiously as Israel rejected the accusations.

  2. Bibi didn’t have to do all that much to get 100 percent obedience from Obama on vetoing toothless UN resolutions censuring Israel on its war crimes and other violations of international law. All Bibi had to do was continue to give Obama the cold shoulder, get Congress to suck up to him and his Likuds, and encourage the West Bank Zionist lunatics to continue what looked like a competition with the GOP to see who could come up with the most outrageous anti-Obama insults. And, o yes, crank up the Holocaust 2.0 rhetoric another notch for good measure. The longer Israelis refused to acknowledge the mounting favours, both political and material, Obama has showered upon Israel, the more he kept piling them on. Indeed, it was almost the only thing Obama could do without provoking a new avalanche of insults from the Washington peanut gallery. All in all, it was a most telling performance — not that we needed much telling after 40 years of illegal occupation — which only added to the image of the Israeli administration as a bunch of thugs.

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