Every single country in the world except for the United States and Israel voted for the United States to end the embargo on Cuba.

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My question is, why Israel? Many of the nations on this list are allies of the US, but why does only Israel support the embargo? What does Israel hope to get from this?


3 Answers 3


Many countries consider themselves allies of the US, but few take foreign policy stances just because the US says so. (The US also does not always vote the same way as its allies.) The vast majority of the world consider the US embargo to be an act of revenge driven by the interests of Cuban Americans, and others who had property confiscated at the time of the revolution, and consider it completely unjustified as a matter of foreign policy, so they vote against it.

Israel as a country is absolutely indebted to the US. The US is virtually the only country not condemning at least some of its actions in Palestine, and continuing to supply it with extensive military and civil aid without conditions. Without continued support from the US Israel (or at least its present policies) would be in severe trouble.

Israel therefore, when asked to take an action that doesn't really inconvenience it much, votes with the United States. It isn't in a position to disagree with the US on foreign policy.

  • 18
    "driven by the interests of Cuban Americans", can you elaborate on that? I (and many others, I think) aren't that familiar with US-Cuban relations (at least on a human level) to know what interests you mean. A simple link to an (opinion) article would suffice.
    – JJJ
    Commented Apr 22, 2019 at 18:49
  • 17
    Cuban Americans are largely (not exclusively) wealthy Cubans who fled the Cuban revolution, or their descendants. They want to be restored to the positions of power and wealth they had before, especially to have the property that was confiscated from them after they fled returned. Commented Apr 22, 2019 at 19:24
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    I see, but I'm still not sure how the embargo helps with that. If you think it's too complicated to answer here, perhaps there will be a different question dedicated to that later on.
    – JJJ
    Commented Apr 22, 2019 at 19:29
  • 11
    Cuban Americans are largely (not exclusively) wealthy Cubans who fled the Cuban revolution. False. And, as another answer stated, Israel has other strong reasons to vote against the current Cuban regime. Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 15:15
  • 9
    Cuban Americans represent 0.58% of the US population, and only slightly more of the US government. That's smaller than Jews, Muslims, and various other small groups. It's much smaller than the number of Puerto Ricans (who admittedly can't vote in general elections). I won't say that Cuban-American lobbying has no effect, because some research has found statistically significant effects. But I think it's likely not enough to explain US policy by itself. I think that opposition to the Soviet Union, and latter Communist countries in general, might have been a larger contributor.
    – Obie 2.0
    Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 17:10

I'm not even sure in what year that vote you mention was taken, because it's a UN tradition by now

The UN General Assembly has, since 1992, passed a resolution every year condemning the ongoing impact of the embargo and declaring it in violation of the Charter of the United Nations and of international law. In 2014, out of the 193-nation assembly, 188 countries voted for the nonbinding resolution, the United States and Israel voted against and the Pacific Island nations Palau, Marshall Islands and Micronesia abstained.

Israel has also been on the receiving end of numerous resolutions at the UN. In the Security Council, the US has vetoed numerous such resolutions.

It's not surprising to see Israel reciprocate how it can on an issue the US cares about.

  • 6
    The image is dated 2017 Commented Apr 22, 2019 at 15:44

Other answers focus on the US-Israeli relationship, but there is also no love lost between Cuba and Israel. Cuba sent troops to fight Israel in the Yom Kippur War after breaking relations the previous month; neither side chose to restore formal relations. Cuba continued supporting Palestinian guerrillas (like the PLO) until the collapse of the Soviet bloc.

One source, though it's readily found with Google.

  • Sources would improve this answer.
    – Evargalo
    Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 15:07
  • 2
    This so far the most logical answer Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 16:56
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    It's somewhat logical, but I doubt it's the real answer you would get if an Israeli diplomat was explaining things honestly. Israel has much more to gain from staying in lockstep with the US than continuing to hold a grudge against Cuba for events from more than 30 years ago
    – llama
    Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 18:17
  • 2
    @llama The real answer is no doubt more complex and I don't pretend to present the absolute answer, but you are wrong that it's merely a grudge. Cuba supplied the PLO until 1991, when the money dried up, and Raul Castro was the man in charge of the Cuban Army during the Yom Kippur War; he only stepped down as Presdent last year and still serves as First Secretary.
    – gormadoc
    Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 18:31
  • 7
    For comparison, the Koreas and the US have held a grudge since 1953. Spain has held a grudge against the UK over Gibraltar since 1953. Saudi Arabia is still nursing Wahhabism, which emerged in 1930, to stick it to non-fundamentalist and non-Sunni Muslims. Disputes last a long time with nations devoted to continual revolution and/or territorial integrity, especially family-run autocracies completely convinced of their own political theories.
    – gormadoc
    Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 18:42

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