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U.S. Makes UNESCO Pay for Admitting Palestinians

Posted on Oct 31, 2011

Israeli Ambassador Nimrod Barkan huffed and puffed after his country’s Palestinian colony was admitted into the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Monday. Washington, bound by law, promised to cut off all U.S. funding for the organization, whose mission “is to contribute to the building of peace.”

(More on UNESCO and its mission here.)

This decision is quite separate from the issue of whether Palestine will be recognized as an independent member state by the United Nations, an issue that is yet to be decided. President Barack Obama and the conservative government of Israel are vehemently opposed to any international recognition.

Part of UNESCO’s work is to identify and protect World Heritage Sites, of which there ought to be many in the occupied territories, which include the birthplace of Jesus Christ.

UNESCO will lose $60 million, or nearly a quarter of its funding, because U.S. legislation from the 1990s “mandates a complete cutoff of American financing to any United Nations agency that accepts the Palestinians as a full member,” reports The New York Times.

President Obama had this to say at his Sept. 21 address to the General Assembly:

Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the United Nations—if it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now. Ultimately, it is the Israelis and the Palestinians who must live side by side. Ultimately, it is the Israelis and the Palestinians—not us—who must reach agreement on the issues that divide them: on borders and on security, on refugees and Jerusalem.

Even if you take that argument for granted—that peace will not be found in the global center of diplomacy, but through the direct negotiations that have gone nowhere for decades—it’s an argument that the Palestinians would not find peace in the United Nations, not an argument that joining the U.N. would leave the Palestinians any worse off than they are now. And for now, they have UNESCO.

—Peter Z. Scheer

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By truthbug, November 2, 2011 at 8:28 am Link to this comment

I never cease to be amazed by how universally and how tightly US laws, regulations, and policy towards the Palestinians suits Israel, and how efficiently and magnanimously US political, financial, and military aid also suits Israel’s interests, which are opposed to those of the Palestinians.  How has such an awesome system come about?  I myself think it’s because of the hard working industriousness by Jews in general, but mostly, by the broad consensus of support for Israel by the American Jewish Community.  It’s these Jews who fervently believe in the rightfulness of their cause, and although comprising a minuscule part of the US population, wield enormous - and dominating - political advantage.  Yes, there are many excellent critics of Israel who are Jews, and there are also non Jews - particularly, a relatively small group of Christian right-wingers - who work for the Israeli cause,  but it’s my feeling that true credit belongs to the American Jewish Community.  It’s impossible for me to understand how the formidable propaganda launched in favor of Israel could ever achieve such awesome success, without the preponderant support of the American Jewish Community.  Think for a second, what would US policy be if the American Jewish Community united and stood up for Truth and Justice on this issue?  Thus, for what it’s worth, you Jews among us have indeed achieved your dream of survival of the Jewish State, for now.  I only wonder, should we look from a long term Biblical perspective, whether your God will some day find this effort to be just one more transgression against Him, and if so, respond with just one more cycle of punishment.

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By PatrickHenry, November 1, 2011 at 12:22 pm Link to this comment

Nothing new here.

Time for the UN to move away from the US, maybe the Hague.

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By CenterOfMass, November 1, 2011 at 11:18 am Link to this comment

“Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the United Nations—if it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now.”

My gosh! He’s right!  They need to do something different!  Maybe the Palestinians should be ADMITTED into the UN for a change?

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By jeandavid, November 1, 2011 at 10:44 am Link to this comment

Do not encourage jumping in front of trains. It can cause locomotive engineers PTSD. They, by and large, do not like hitting people. And at the speeds passenger trains operate, even in the USA, it can take a mile or more to stop a train. The rule is, if you see something, you will hit it.

If you must commit suicide, at least do it in a way that does not harm others.

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By Marian Griffith, November 1, 2011 at 10:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

—-Why isn’t the USA booted out of the UN by the rest of the world?—-

The USA hates the UN, but they would veto any move to get them kicked out of it.

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By FRTothus, November 1, 2011 at 9:49 am Link to this comment

Such moves by the self-appointed masters of the universe should come as no surprise to anyone.  Haiti was punished for voting “the wrong way”, so were the Palestinians in Gaza, as were the Venezuelans, the Vietnamese, the Chileans, the Iranians, the Cubans, the Nicaraguans, ...the list is almost endless.

“[The ruling elites] know who their enemies are, and their enemies are the people, the people at home and the people abroad. Their enemies are anybody who wants more social justice, anybody who wants to use the surplus value of society for social needs rather than for individual class greed, that’s their enemy.”

“With unfailing consistency, U.S. intervention has been on the side of the rich and powerful of various nations at the expense of the poor and needy. Rather than strengthening democracies, U.S. leaders have overthrown numerous democratically elected governments or other populist regimes in dozens of countries ... whenever these nations give evidence of putting the interests of their people ahead of the interests of multinational corporate interests.”
(Michael Parenti)

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By Robespierre115, November 1, 2011 at 9:30 am Link to this comment

Whoever cast the deciding vote to give Obama the Nobel should jump in front of a train now.

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By ardee, November 1, 2011 at 8:25 am Link to this comment

The excellent and necessary work done by UNESCO should not be subject to the ever changing face of political alliances.

I wish Mr. Scheer had elaborated when he noted that :
Washington, bound by law, promised to cut off all U.S. funding for the organization, whose mission “is to contribute to the building of peace.” By what law are we bound to do the wrong thing?

Israel is a serious blockage to peace in the Middle East. Their alliance with US foreign policy issues may have once been necessary to our interests in that area but is such no longer. We should rid ourselves of this alliance in fact.

Barack Hussein Obama is unfit to be President, is an incompetent and is in way over his head.

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By California Ray, November 1, 2011 at 7:18 am Link to this comment

Provided that His Bearded Bruteness stops casting votes ‘n’ vetos in the Security Council, it is perfectly appropriate for Uncle Sam to stop funding the UN.

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By RAE, November 1, 2011 at 7:14 am Link to this comment

The US must be saving truckloads of cash by not only this shameful, adolescent knee-jerk response but from their non-payment of past due subscription fees to the UN in general.

“The United States owes $1.2 billion to the United Nations, more than a quarter of the payments owed the world body by all member states…” Druge Retort, Oct 15, 2011.

If I owed such outstanding debts to some organization I sure would be prevented from participating until I paid up. Why isn’t the USA booted out of the UN by the rest of the world?

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By jeandavid, November 1, 2011 at 6:12 am Link to this comment

Negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians will never arrive at a just solution of the problem of Israeli colonization of Palestine. Negotiations between equals might achieve something, but the idea that negotiations between a conqueror and the defeated can arrive at justice is insane.

This is just another example of our corrupt stupid government supporting the Israeli terrorists agains their neighbor. As such, we are hopelessly condemned as moral cripples, in no position to give advice to anyone. The US government is an embarassment.

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By Rodney, November 1, 2011 at 4:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Israel is the new South Africa all supported by the U
S of America.We demand freedom for everyone in the
Middle East except the Palestinians. We demand
nothing from Israel. The only funds that should have
been cut are the three billion in aid we give every
year to Israel. We also should cut off all funding
sent to Israel sent by American charities and
institutions then Israel and its’s would know what it
is to suffer. That would force Israel come to the
bargaining table in good faith. But as long as U S
dollars are allow to flow freely into Israel we
support a system of oppression and apartheid as bad
as Iran, Syria, and Iraq under Saddam Hussein.

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By dsmith, November 1, 2011 at 3:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Interesting that the spokesperson for the State Dept. is a lady named Victoria Nuland, who just happens to be the wife of neocon/zionist Robert Kagan.

Kagan is one of those chicken hawks who never served a day in the military but was gung ho for our military to invade Iraq. Now he is pushing the AIPAC agenda of getting our big dumb nation to attack Iran, which would be yet another proxy war we would have fought for Israel.

Juan Cole, at Informed Comment, has an excellent article about how crucial our support to UNESCO is, in that it helps poorer countries in critical ways. But then, the neocons like Kagan and Nuland don’t care about clean water for villages, they put the interest of Israel above all else.

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By thecrow, November 1, 2011 at 3:53 am Link to this comment

Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government.

- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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By Oceanna, November 1, 2011 at 3:19 am Link to this comment

It’s a good article, its presentation of facts speak volumes.

The US fronting 25% of the UNESCO contributions obviously is an attempt at
disproportionate control.  What a fine act of power UNESCO is assuming in
rejecting the US monies in favor of admitting the Palestinians!

I would hope the US/Israeli axis becomes increasingly less relevant to the rest of
the world.

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By EmileZ, November 1, 2011 at 2:40 am Link to this comment

Moi aussi (I am trying to be sophisticated), that means: Me Too as in me also.

Democracy (capital or small “d”) has nothing to do with U.S. policy regarding Israel and its holy right to immorally and illegaly occupy Palestinian territories or all the horror that accompianies such an illegal and immoral occupation any more than it does Israel’s aparthied-like (some say it is much worse) treatment of palestinians within its shitty walls.

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By Druthers, November 1, 2011 at 2:38 am Link to this comment

Everything in the US is for sale, so our “rulers,” since we no longer have representatives, think the rest of the world can be bought as well.
Smaller is better and this goes for a lot more than UNESCO.
The emperor has no clothes but continues to kick the world around with his boots.

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By PatrickHenry, November 1, 2011 at 2:09 am Link to this comment

Another act of selective democracy in action.

Anyone else but me tired of the pro-Israel legislation this smells of?

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