The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday overwhelmingly passed a measure rejecting the Trump administration's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, which was repeatedly criticized as undermining the prospects for peace.
Despite blunt warnings of U.S. funding cuts, 128 countries voted in favor of the nonbinding resolution and only nine voted against it. Another 35 countries abstained.
"The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out in this assembly for the very act of exercising our right as a sovereign nation," said Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. "We will remember it when, once again, we are called up to make the world's largest contribution to the U.N., and we will remember it when many countries come calling on us to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit."
Haley had said the U.S. Embassy would be moved to Jerusalem regardless of the vote.
"No vote in the United Nations is going to make any difference on that," she said. "But this vote will make a difference in how Americans look at the U.N. and how we look at countries that disrespect us at the U.N. And this vote will be remembered."
Although the measure is nonbinding, it carries political resonance, particularly in the Middle East where the U.S. decision has sparked protests and been condemned by Arab governments. Underscoring the U.S. isolation on the issue, even many allies have publicly appealed to the administration to reverse its position and leave Jerusalem's status undecided until Israelis and Palestinians negotiate terms.
The list of countries whose representatives came to the podium included many adversaries that have squared off with the Trump Administration, including Venezuela, Syria, and North Korea. They all portrayed Trump's Dec. 6 decision to recognize Jerusalem and move the embassy as a boon for extremists and an obstacle to peace.