The UN voting pattern on Israel is quite surprising.

In the latest UN General Assembly vote on Israel, we can observe:

  1. Israel and the US voted against
  2. US allies like UK, Germany, Japan, Australia, Canada abstained
  3. US allies like France, New Zealand, Belgium voted in favor
  4. The Pacific Islands like Fiji, Micronesia, Nauru, Marshall Islands voted against

The last observation surprises me the most. And this is not an isloated case - some of the Pacific Islands generally vote with Israel on issues concerning Israel. Why is that? I couldn't quite find the reason.

  • 1
    FWIW "In December 2017, the Marshall Islands was one of just nine countries (including the United States and Israel) to vote against a motion adopted by the United Nations General Assembly condemning the United States' recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel." Guatemala, Honduras, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and Togo were the others. Commented Oct 28, 2023 at 17:50
  • 1
    This paper addresses your observation: Introduction: Descent from Israel and Jewish Identities in the Pacific, Past and Present. The Jerusalem Post has an opinion article in considerable agreement with the paper's points. Commented Oct 28, 2023 at 17:57

1 Answer 1


Many small countries in the Pacific Ocean were US colonies/dependencies. To this day they continue to receive significant US aid and so can be significantly influenced/pressured by the US on various issues, including voting for Israel at the UN. (Indeed, Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, and Palau continue to be in "free association" with the US.)

Jonathan Schanzer (Jerusalem Post, 2023-07-23):

It is no secret that Israel is disproportionately singled out at the United Nations. Last year, the General Assembly approved 15 anti-Israel resolutions. That was two more than all of the other resolutions criticizing other countries, according to UN Watch. The United States, Israel’s longstanding ally, consistently opposes these measures, with very few exceptions. Joining the US is usually a handful of Pacific island nations. ...

Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, and Palau are among them. They are predominantly Christian countries, which may account for their political leanings. But it is their close ties with Washington that are the deciding factor.

On my visit to Palau, one senior official bluntly told me, “We vote with Israel because that’s what America does.” It’s that simple.

Raphael Ahren (2012):

Why did the Czechs, Palau and half-a-dozen others stand with Israel in the vote on ‘Palestine’? ...

there were eight countries that voted with Israel in the 138-9 diplomatic drubbing ...

Washington and Ottawa are Israel’s staunchest supporters in the international arena, so the no votes from the US and Canada came as no surprise. But they were joined by Panama and the Czech Republic, as well as four countries most people would have difficulty finding on a map: the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru and Palau. ...

These four remote island nations, combined, have a population of about 205,000 ...

The Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru and Palau have a long history of voting similarly to the US. In 2010, for example, Micronesia echoed Washington’s vote at the US 47 times and only contradicted it three times. Palau followed the US lead in 96.5% of all votes.

Some observers suggest that “checkbook diplomacy” is at work here, and that Israel or the US bought the tiny island states’ votes for cash.

The Marshall Islands and Micronesia are states “in free association” with the US and are set to receive $3.5 billion from Washington in the next 10 years ... “Palau is also in free association with the US, having received $18 million annually from the US until 2009.”

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