web analytics
September 2, 2014 / 7 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



Administration Reacts Swiftly To UNESCO Vote On Palestinian Membership


UNESCO-logo

WASHINGTON – The immediate consequence of UNESCO’s vote to grant the Palestinians membership is clear: A cutoff of American funding for the UN agency governing the protection of cultures and sharing of scientific knowledge, which stands to lose roughly a fifth of its budget.

What’s less certain is what effect the defunding, mandated by a U.S. law banning aid to UN bodies that recognize Palestinian statehood, would have on American – and, by extension, Israeli – influence worldwide.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization voted Monday at its General Conference in Paris to designate Palestine as a full member state. The vote at the agency’s Paris headquarters was 107 in favor to 14 opposed, with 52 abstentions.

France cast a surprise vote in favor, while Britain abstained and the United States, Israel and Germany were among the countries voting against. Cheers from the assembled delegates greeted the results.

UNESCO had been warned for weeks that a cutoff of American funding was inevitable if the agency granted full membership to the Palestinians. Among Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Congress, the Palestinian statehood push at the United Nations is seen as a way of circumventing Israel’s demand for a return to direct talks to negotiate a peace agreement.

“I expect the administration to enforce existing law and stop contributions to UNESCO and any other UN agency that enables the Palestinians to short-cut the peace process,” Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), the chairwoman of the foreign operations subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, said in a statement.

Granger had the backing of the committee’s senior Democrat, Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.).

“Consistent with current law, UNESCO’s action also has put at risk its funding from United States taxpayers, who provide more than one-fifth of UNESCO’s budget,” Lowey said in her statement. “UNESCO must understand that such irresponsible actions have serious consequences.”

Richard Stone and Malcolm Hoenlein, respectively the chairman and executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said in a statement, “We trust that the administration and Congress will take the appropriate action under U.S. law at the earliest possible time.”

The Obama administration, for its part, acted almost immediately. By Monday afternoon it was already announcing that funding would be cut off, and that UNESCO would not get about $60 million due on Nov. 1.

“Palestinian membership as a state in UNESCO triggers longstanding legislative restrictions which will compel the United States to refrain from making contributions to UNESCO,” said a statement from Victoria Nuland, the State Department spokeswoman.

Some supporters of the Obama administration’s multilateralism, however, expressed concern about the impact that the tough U.S. line on UNESCO would have on American influence.

“Here is this old law, first written in 1990 and updated in 1994, compelling a drastic measure that doesn’t fit the offense,” said Matt Duss, a policy analyst for the Center for American Progress.

Duss outlined what he said were gains that the Obama administration has made at the United Nations: intensifying international sanctions isolating Iran and increasing awareness of human rights abuses in that country.

“The re-engagement at the United Nations has been an important agenda item for the U.S.; it’s done a lot of good,” he said. “Part of that influence is to Israel’s benefit.”

Pulling funding from UNESCO also could jeopardize many non-controversial programs administered by the body, including tsunami early-warning systems and clean water efforts in poor countries.

Conservative critics, however, reject the assertion that taking a tough line with the UN harms American interests.

“Can someone explain to me why it is this is a problem for the United States? It’s a problem for UNESCO,” said Danielle Pletka, vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Administration Reacts Swiftly To UNESCO Vote On Palestinian Membership”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Police set up roadblocks throughout the Sharon region and beyond to track down terrorists believed to have infiltrated the area.
Arab Terrorist Attack Foiled Near Netanya
Latest News Stories
Cannabis Greenhouse

A farmer in the (legal) Tikkun Olan Cannabis farm near Tzfat. This is one of their greenhouses. The company is licensed by Israel’s Ministry of Health to grow, process and distribute the medicinal plant.

Police set up roadblocks throughout the Sharon region and beyond to track down terrorists believed to have infiltrated the area.

Israeli intelligence sparked a massive manhunt that foiled an Arab terror attack, caught two suspects and kept Israeli civilians safe.

Former PM Ehud Olmert at Tel Aviv District Court hears his sentence on May 13, 2014. (archive)

The ‘Talansky affair’ corruption trial of former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert re-opened today in Jerusalem.

Effective range of the Iranian Shahab-3 missile.

Iran has successfully tested a new defensive radar and missile system, its air force chief announced Monday.

Diplomatic relations with Israel are likely to remain in deep freeze for the next few years, Turkish PM Davutoglu signals.

Events on the other side of Israel’s northern border are heating up. The IDF is on high alert in the Golan Heights.

Germany and other western countries have begun providing weapons to Kurds in fight against the IS.

Sept. 1 is a spectacularly important day in Israel.

BDS will be claim victory, but the truth is that a logistics would be a major factor if SodaStream leaves Maaleh Adumim.

The body of 1st Sgt. Shachar Shalev was laid to rest this afternoon in the cemetery in Hipsin.

Palestinian Authority terrorists wounded a three-year-old girl and a bus driver in two separate rock throwing and firebombing attacks on Monday. Both victims suffered light injuries and were treated on the spot, without need for hospitalization. The girl was riding a bus in northern Jerusalem when the attackers smashed a glass window on the bus. […]

“He was part hippie, part yippie, part beatnik, and part New Age,” – Elli Wohlgelernter in a Jerusalem Post eulogy in 1994.

Palestinian Authority manipulation of the media makes it impossible for peace between PA Arabs and Israelis.

“I know that you spent your vacation doing things not according to what you planned,” the prime minister told students in southern Israel.

The recent war in Gaza is not expected to inflict any lasting damage on economic performance.

More Articles from Ron Kampeas
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

President Obama in an April 25 press conference seemed ready to take a break. “There may come a point at which there just needs to be a pause and both sides need to look at the alternatives,” he said.

Secretary of State Kerry and Prime Minister Netanyahu

Obama himself suggested that a break from the process may be necessary.

But Israel’s stance is not sufficiently consequential to set off a fight between friends, neoconservative scholars said.

Tensions between Russia and the West are mounting over the Russian military takeover of the Crimean Peninsula, with the United States and European countries threatening to impose sanctions.

Expansive outreach, of course, is nothing new for AIPAC. But in the wake of battles over Iran sanctions legislation that pitted the pro-Israel lobbying powerhouse against the White House, many congressional Democrats and liberals more generally, AIPAC’s traditional emphasis on Israel as a bipartisan issue has taken on added urgency.

Administration officials and Jewish groups sympathetic to Kerry’s initiative say there is a longer-term agenda in preempting attacks on the framework peace agreement the Obama administration is expected to propose soon.

“As we have since the beginning of the process, we continue to support Secretary Kerry’s diplomatic efforts to achieve a secure and lasting peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” AIPAC spokesman Marshall Wittman said in a statement to JTA.

WASHINGTON – Until recently, the rule of thumb in the pro-Israel community was that the bigger the academic group, the less likely it was to consider a boycott of Israeli colleagues.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/u-s-reacts-swiftly-to-unesco-vote-on-palestinians/2011/11/08/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: