(CNSNews.com) – Critics of the Trump administration continued to vent outrage on social media over the holiday weekend for its vote earlier this month against a U.N. resolution condemning the “glorification of Nazism” – but were mostly silent about the fact the Obama and Bush administration both did the same thing each year.
Not only has the U.S. government opposed the Russian-sponsored resolution every year since it was first introduced in 2005, but this year the Trump administration went further, offering oral amendments that sought to remove free speech concerns from the text, thereby enabling it to vote to condemn Nazism.
The U.S. amendments were shot down in the U.N. committee dealing with human rights, however, garnering the support only of the U.S., Israel and Ukraine, while 81 countries opposed it and 73 abstained.
(Russia’s delegation called the proposed amendments “openly provocative because they aim to drastically alter the essence and nature of this initiative.”)
Then the committee passed by Russia’s text, by a vote of 125-2 (the U.S. and Ukraine), with 51 abstentions. The full General Assembly will formalize that vote next month.
Since 2005 the U.S. has voted against the measure each year, joined at times by one or two other countries, among them Canada, Ukraine, Palau and the Marshall Islands.
As her predecessors have done, U.S. representative Ambassador Kelley Currie explained before the vote the administration’s view that the annual Russian resolution was deeply flawed.
“This resolution is a cynical exercise, born from a political controversy decades removed from the defeat of the Nazis,” she told the gathering. “This resolution is an annual power play by one nation over its sovereign neighbors. It attempts to exert a sphere of influence over a region and strives to criminalize free speech and expression without any genuine effort to effectively combat actual Nazism, discrimination, or anti-Semitism.”
Critics say Russia has long sought to tarnish its opponents in former Soviet countries – particularly the Baltics and in recent years, Ukraine – by labeling them Nazis or neo-Nazis.
A longstanding U.S. criticism of the annual Russian text has been its failure to differentiate between offensive expressions and offensive actions.
“The United States is disgusted by the glorification and promotion of Nazi ideology,” Currie said. “We fought a war against it, and we will continue fighting it in the hearts and minds of those who hate. The solution to hate is not censorship – it is the freedom for goodness and justice to triumph over evil and persecution.”
On Twitter, however, critics piled on, with some implying that this year’s “no” vote was somehow a reflection of President Trump’s worldview.
“Horrific yet clarifying from this Admin.,” tweeted Linda Sarsour, the Palestinian-American activist and co-organizer of last January’s Washington’s Women’s March.
U.S. Muslim human rights activist Qasim Rashid linked to a news story on the U.S. vote and commented, “This devolving of our freedom from Nazi extremism is how white supremacy advances & creates more terrorism.”
Another Twitter user wondered if the U.S. and Ukraine voted not “because they are Nazi countries? Probably, yes.”
From many others came comments like, “what have we become?”, “America looks bad” and “who would ever think the U.S. would approve of Nazism?”
In one scathing pushback, U.N. Watch executive director Hillel Neuer challenged Sarsour: “Everything about your tweet is a lie,” he tweeted. “Facts: 1. Resolution sponsor is Russia. 2. Nothing to do with fighting Nazis or antisemitism. 3. It’s power play to discredit Russia's neighbors. 4. U.S. always voted No – since 2005. 5. You’re a total fraud.”
Sarsour told an Islamic audience in Illinois in July that there were “fascists and white supremacists and Islamophobes reigning in the White House.”
Time magazine has named her one of its 100 most influential people in 2017.