U.N. Report on Israel

Trump's exercise of leverage strikes at the heart of the United Nations mandate #NYTLetters

A former United Nations official writes that President Trump’s anger at a study bodes ill for the relationship between the U.N. and the United States.

@nytopinion: Trump’s exercise of leverage strikes at the heart of the United Nations mandate #NYTLetters

To the Editor:

Re “Official Quits U.N. Post Over Report” (news article, March 18):

It was not surprising that President Trump was angered by the explosive new study by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia that likened Israeli occupation practices in Palestine to apartheid. But demanding that the study be withdrawn by the highly respected commission head, Rima Khalaf, led to her resignation, outraging Arabs and others at this blatant suppression of speech.

It is not easy for a United Nations secretary general to withstand serious American pressure, since Washington can slash its contributions to the system and, no less important, curtail the cooperation that is indispensable for him to carry out a host of actions that require the superpower’s support.

The exercise of such leverage strikes at the heart of the most elementary United Nations mandate — its independence and neutrality — but that reality seems particularly unavoidable under the new administration.


The writer was a United Nations communications director and spokesman for the United Nations mission in Iraq after the United States-led invasion in 2003.

U.N. Report on Israel