A non-state called “Palestine” joins UNESCO 11

A non-entity called “Palestine” has been admitted as a member of UNESCO.

The US promptly stopped funding the UN agency, as it was bound to do by law. But with what degree of reluctance in the minds of Obama and his foreign affairs appointees?

Claudia Rosett, always the best commentator on the nefarious goings-on of the UN and its agencies, wrote this at Canada Free Press:

If the U.S. has one big lever right now within the many organizations of the United Nations system, it is the threat to cut the money with which U.S. taxpayers pay the biggest share of the U.N.’s bills. Yet despite a U.S. threat to cut funding, the assembly of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) voted Monday to grant full membership to the Palestinian Authority. What happened?

The answer may be that the U.N. has little reason to take U.S. threats seriously. That might sound odd, since UNESCO’s decision to seat the Palestinians has indeed choked off U.S. funding for the Paris-based organization. At least for now.

Under U.S. law, the U.S. must deny funding to any part of the U.N. system that grants membership to the Palestinians — at least until they achieve viable statehood by way of negotiating in good faith with Israel. On Monday, following the UNESCO vote, a State Department spokeswoman confirmed that a $60 million U.S. payment for UNESCO, planned for this month, will not be made. Overall, U.S. dues account for 22% of UNESCO’s budget, plus the U.S. throws in millions in voluntary contributions on top. A U.S. cutoff should mean that UNESCO will lose about $80 million per year.

But while money talks, so do U.S. diplomats. For the U.S., the UNESCO vote was a debacle, with the assembled states voting 107 to 14 in favor of admitting the Palestinians, and 52 states abstaining. That would have been the moment for the U.S. ambassador to read UNESCO’s assembly the riot act and announce that the U.S. was pulling out, as it did in 1984, under President Ronald Reagan; returning only in 2003, under President George W. Bush.

Instead, the U.S. diplomatic message to UNESCO has been one of apology, regrets and fawning statements of support for a U.N. body that has just slapped the U.S. in the chops. U.S officials have even been hinting that they are looking for some kind of workaround, to get the money flowing again.

State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland described UNESCO’s admission of “Palestine” as “regrettable” and premature.” But she went on to say the U.S. “will maintain its membership and commitment to UNESCO.” Most telling, she added that the administration would “consult with Congress to ensure that U.S. interests and influence are preserved.”

Why might the administration now wish to consult with Congress? Congress appropriates the money that the U.S. gives to the U.N., and Congress has the power, should it choose, to change the laws now cutting off funds for UNESCO, and for any other U.N. organizations the Palestinians might now seek to join.

In Paris, America’s ambassador to UNESCO, David Killion, had even sweeter words for UNESCO. … Sounding more like an envoy of UNESCO than of the U.S., Killion …  came close to issuing an outright apology: “We sincerely regret that the strenuous and well-intentioned efforts of many delegations to avoid this result fell short.” [And he]  concluded by hinting that UNESCO might not suffer quite as much as expected: “We pledge to continue our efforts to find ways to support and strengthen the important work of this vital organization.”

As for the “strenuous efforts” of the U.S. administration to head off UNESCO’s admission of the Palestinians, American moves in the run up to the Oct. 31 vote included topping up UNESCO’s coffers. On Oct. 18, with the vote already looming, and the Palestinians fielding a clear majority at the impending assembly, the U.S. tipped $1.77 million in voluntary, extra-budgetary funding into UNESCO’s till. …

And, as UNESCO’s delegates prepared on Monday to cast their votes, U.S. Under Secretary of Education Martha Kanter addressed the assembly. She did not bother to mention that Palestinian TV, schools and summer camps still indoctrinate Palestinian children in hatred of Israel, nor did she note that the Palestinian Authority’s logo shows a map on which Israel has been obliterated. She was there to tell the delegates that … “This General Conference is an opportunity for us to renew our commitment, because the world needs a strong UNESCO.”

Does it? A truth that seems lost on the current U.S. administration is that UNESCO’s assembly of member states, with its jubilant nose-thumbing vote against American policy and interests, is no anomaly. It is a pretty accurate reflection of the General Assembly of the United Nations, which is substantially mirrored in voting and governing bodies throughout the U.N. system.

Right now the U.S. is also shelling out more than $400 million for a $1.9 billion renovation of the U.N.’s headquarters in Manhattan, kitting out U.N. delegates and staff with state of the art equipment and comforts. All this translates into a lavish entitlement system, in which U.N. member states, and the U.N. organizations they largely control, are accustomed to using one hand to poke America in the eye, while holding out the other hand for more U.S. tax dollars.

With UNESCO membership a done deal, the Palestinians are shopping for other U.N. organizations to join. A UNESCO seat confers automatic access to a number of other U.N.-affiliated organizations, including the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva and the U.N. Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in Vienna. Palestinian officials have also been floating mentions of applying to the World Health Oragnization (WHO), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the World Bank and beyond. …

The UN must be destroyed.

  • I can’t see there ever being peace in that area until Isreal withdraws to 1948 borders. And even then I would say it would take three times as long as the period from 1948 till Israel does withdraw to the legal borders, for there to be the beginnings of any end to the war.

    Cheers! richgriese.net

    • Andrew M

      Really? You mean that the Islamic mandate of jihad and Jew-hatred has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that Israel must remain in constant fear of having its children shot down by missiles in their elementary schools? Nor that Israel shows amazing restraint by actually warning the residents of an area when it needs to make a military strike there?

    • Liz

      Israel doesn’t have any “illegal” borders – except in the minds of their enemies.  And as Pat Condell has pointed out, giving away their land to the Palestinians isn’t going to solve the problem, because the problem is not land, its the Jew-hatred of the damn muslims.

      • The UN and international law does  not recognize any borders moved during a time of war. The 1948 borders are still internationally the legal borders between Israel and Palestine.

        Cheers! richgriese.net

        • Don L

          Oh man.  Your like the idiot arguing for god by using god as the evidence.  The UN…get a life if not a brain!

    • Jillian Becker

      Rich Griese – 

      Please see our post FYI , front page today. 

      I hope it makes it clear that the 1948 armistice lines are not Israel’s “legal borders”, and that the root cause of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the wish of the Arabs, not for a Palestinian state, but for the elimination of the State of Israel. Only if Israel is wiped off the map will they stop their war, waged continually with rocket attacks and terrorism, and their illegal diplomatic moves in the disgusting United Nations.  

      The dispute is not about borders. It is not about the size of Israel. It is about Israel’s existence. The Arabs have some 21 states, and do not really care whether or not they get another. They hate the Jews – as Muslims always have under the orders of their Prophet – and cannot bear the humiliation of having lost  a series of wars they started against the one tiny Jewish state.       

      • RE the creation of Israel, I agree, it was a bad idea, and is the cause either intentionally or unintentionally of the subsequent problems. Due to some hostility and harassment from some anon commenters on this site, I would prefer to end public participation here. If anyone wants to continue on the topic, feel fee to email me personally. I cannot insert my email address here, because when I attempt to it converts the text to a Disqus addressing feature, but you can find me email on my site.

        Cheers! richgriese.net

        • Jillian Becker

          With whom are you agreeing that it was a “bad idea”?  With the Arabs and Muslims, presumably. Lining up on that side, are you? 

          Not only do you support the insupportable, but you simply do not know enough to be worth debating on this issue, here or anywhere else.  

  • Deladyn

    My grandfather owned an apt bldg on the east river near the Queensboro Bridge and  UN bldg.  He had made his money as a rum runner and speakeasy owner during prohibition.
    On X-Mas evening 1953, I along with a cousin, we were both about 7, held up the UN.  We had both gotten plastic rifles as gifts. We wandered away from the apt on an adventure.  I remeber being amazed by the bldg and the huge expanse of open space around it.
    We walked up to the entry doors on the north face…a guard was there.  He laughed as we told him to put his hands up.  Then, amazingly, he asked if we would like a tour.  We actually went into the  main auditorium and the translators rooms… 58 years later I can still visualize it.  And, it is it remains the only positive thought I have about this organization.
    Oh, back at grandpa’s apt bldg…they were frantic looking for us.  Our wonderful excursion ended with a scolding and spanking.  Hmmm, so even the favorable impression has some negative associated with it.

    Tear it down!

  • Liz

    Infuriating.  Our leaders seem to suffer from a masochism complex on a massive scale.  Pay scumbags to abuse and destroy us, while we apologize for any inconvenience we might cause them in the process.