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Under U.S. law, the Obama administration must cut off funding for UNESCO, as acknowledged by State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.
“The United States will refrain from making contributions to UNESCO,” Nuland said. This action stems from a provision of the U.S. code that states: “No funds authorized to be appropriated by this Act or any other Act shall be available for the United Nations or any specialized agency thereof which accords the Palestine Liberation Organization the same standing as member states.”
The Palestine Liberation Organization is technically the Palestinian entity that represents the Palestinians in the United Nations.
The U.S. cut-off of funding will blow a big hole in UNESCO’s budget since the U.S. has been paying 22% of its budget – approximately $80 million in annual funding. A $60 million payment to UNESCO due in November will be the first casualty of the cut-off.
UNESCO was fully advised in advance of its impulsive decision to admit Palestine as a member state that its gravy train would be in jeopardy. Nevertheless, after her vain attempt to justify the UNESCO vote to admit such a dysfunctional entity as a member of equal status with the United States, UNESCO Director-General Bokova childishly complained about the financial consequences. “I believe it is the responsibility of all of us to make sure that UNESCO does not suffer unduly,” she said, whining about losing funding from “our largest contributor, the United States.”
At a press conference at UN headquarters in New York that I attended, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon made the same point.
Their pleas should be ignored. UNESCO is reverting to the same kind of irresponsible behavior that led to a U.S. boycott for almost two decades until it was finally ended by President George W. Bush in 2003.
In November 2010, UNESCO had already foreshadowed its pro-Palestinian agenda by adopting several proposals by Arab states reclassifying Jewish historical landmarks as “Palestinian sites.” This attempt to use the UN’s cultural agency to blur or obliterate the Jewish people’s historical connection to their homeland reinforces Abbas’s oft-repeated refusal to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. A little more than a week ago, he proclaimed that “I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I will never recognize the Jewishness of the state, or a ‘Jewish state.’” Yet he points to the UN General Assembly partition resolution (Resolution 181), which explicitly recognizes a “Jewish State,” as a legal justification for his bid for Palestinian UN member state status.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, had it right when she said the UNESCO cut-off of funding should be just the beginning. “Congress must pass pending U.N. reform legislation to cut off funding to any U.N. entity that grants any upgraded status to ‘Palestine,’” said Rep. Ros-Lehtinen. “Such strong action is the only way to deter other U.N. bodies from following in UNESCO’s footsteps, and to prevent U.S. taxpayer dollars from paying for biased entities at the U.N.”
Rash actions must have significant consequences or the rash actions will simply multiply. The United Nations has been misusing American taxpayers’ money for too long. It is time to push back.
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