Is Obama Plotting to Waive Sanctions on the Palestinian Authority and UNESCO?

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


First up, the attempt to sanction the Palestinian Authority was sabotaged and blocked in Congress by Obama Inc.

A series of hard-hitting amendments that would have severely penalized the Palestinian Authority, along with several states and international bodies, for the successful bid last week to upgrade the PA’s status to a “nonmember observer state” at the UN failed to pass in the Senate Tuesday. One of the defeated amendments would have closed down the PLO’s office in Washington.

The amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act, the Pentagon budget bill, were removed before a voice vote that approved over 120 other amendments on Tuesday night.

According to Capitol Hill observers familiar with the amendments, they were removed due to pressure from the White House.

And now UNESCO and Obama are plotting ways to get back together again.

Two laws passed by Congress in the early 1990s block American funding to any U.N. body that admits the Palestinians to full membership before they fulfill their promise of direct negotiations with Israel. The aim of these laws, which worked well under three previous presidents, is to prevent the Palestinians from exploiting the U.N. as an avenue to acquiring on paper the statehood they have not yet qualified for in practice.

But last year, perhaps banking on hints that the Obama administration was exploring ways around these laws, UNESCO’s members went ahead anyway. Cheering as they massively outvoted the U.S., they admitted the Palestinian Authority to full membership. That immediately cost them U.S. contributions of more than $78 million per year, or 22 percent of UNESCO’s core budget.

In theory, UNESCO, by treating “Palestine” as a member state, opened the door for the Palestinian Authority to join a number of other U.N. agencies. But at the U.N., for all the impassioned rhetoric, a credible threat of losing hard cash makes a lot of folks think twice. If there is an obvious reason why the Palestinians have not so far pressed ahead with joining other U.N. agencies, it is that the U.S. withdrawal of funding to UNESCO made other agencies wary of welcoming the Palestinians — and lo! the Palestinians got the message.

In Paris, President Barack Obama’s ambassador to UNESCO is a former congressional staffer, David Killion, who played a part in bringing the U.S. back into UNESCO nine years ago. Following the UNESCO vote last year to admit the Palestinians, Killion came close to apologizing for the U.S. position. He pledged that the U.S. would keep trying to “find ways to support and strengthen the important work” of UNESCO.

In February, the U.S. State Department released a budget proposal that ignored the defunding of UNESCO required by U.S. law, and proposed $79 million for UNESCO in fiscal year 2013. A footnote, in fine print, informed readers that the State Department “intends to work with Congress to seek legislation that would provide authority to waive restrictions on paying the U.S. assessed contributions to UNESCO.”

Meanwhile, in Washington, UNESCO has been busy in the back corridors. Following the cutoff of U.S. funding, Bokova handpicked a UNESCO staffer named George Papagiannis to serve in the newly created role of her Washington go-between. Papagiannis, a former communications director for Representative Nancy Pelosi, is well versed in the byways of the Hill.

Peter Yeo is a former congressional staffer who now serves as executive director of the Better World Campaign, which is an advocacy arm of Ted Turner’s well-heeled and well-connected U.N. Foundation. In a phone interview this week, Yeo repeated the view that a waiver for UNESCO is likely to go through in “a big omnibus spending bill,” because “this is a strategy that’s been outlined by the president.”

Because “It’s Too Big To Read” is a strategy that works well enough, at least until people are alerted early enough about what is really in there.

But if UNESCO is funded once again, then any lingering claims that Obama is remotely Pro-Israel will go by the wayside.

  • YerushalaimShelanu!

    see video of former US Ambassador to the UN Bolton saying that Obama could have prevented Palestinian vote in the UN__ __ http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/

    • objectivefactsmatter

      It's obvious to all informed patriots of the USA and of Western civilization that 0'Bama is doing everything he can to advance Sunni Islam while appeasing the Shia. 0'Bama is very, very stupid, but he knows he can't come out and speak about his agenda in public. Of course he must pretend to be "pro-Israel" when he might be quoted.

      Give me a break people. The first thing he was taught as a communist infiltrator was how to lie. I'm sure the Saudi king also sent along plenty of training materials for the long jihad.

      Go ahead and ask me what facts I use to back up that statement.

  • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

    In no uncertain terms, Barack HUSSEIN Obama has never, ever been remotely pro-Israel, even if parsing the meaning of 'is' is utilized.

    The indictment is so long and cumbersome there is no space for it here, but suffice it to say -http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/11/06/obamas-second-term-plans-for-israel-if-re-elected-going-for-broke-addendum-to-stunning-video-exposing-islamist-in-chiefs-mendacity-re-israel-commentary-by-adina-kutnicki/

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel – http://www.adinakutnicki.com/about/

    • Mary Sue

      it's like so many here have said, "Obama has Israel's back so it knows where to put the knife"

  • JacksonPearson

    I'm surprised that Obama hasn't punished Israel more by making them sign up to Obama-Care! /S

  • Ezinwanne

    Quite frankly the unconditional support of Israel is getting ridiculous and pointless. It is time to demand that Israel behaves like the free and civilised democracy they claim to be. Presidents after Presidents from George H W Bush, to Jimmy Carter, to George W Bush,to Bill Clinton are all in agreement that the basis of peace should be Israel's return to pre-1967 boarders. Even those on the Centre-left of Israel politics agree with this including two ex-Prime Ministers Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barack. Fatah and Hamas are showing a willingness to accept this deal. The current UN vote to recognise Palestine as a Non-member observer State was based on this boundary. The only obstacle to peace right now is Bibi Netanyahu and his right wing cohorts in Israel and it is time Obama stands up to Israel. Israel need to be made to realise that time is running out and a Palestinian Statehood through the UN is a real possibility otherwise we wont make progress. America can not continue to claim to be the beacon light of Hope for the world while encouraging the Apatheid and Israeli Occupation of Palestinian lands.

    • Larry

      The only reason the fictitious nationality in the Levant would accept a return to the 1967 boundaries (never the official borders of Israel) is so that they can more effectively rocket and mortar the rest of Israel. They have been offered a State of their own time and time again and every time they have walked away and resorted to attacking Israel.
      Why do you think this would change? Their agenda is the total destruction of Israel and the genocide of the Israeli people.
      The classic statement about the "palestinians" never missing a chance is a true now as when it was made, and will continue to be true.
      Einstein's definition of insanity applies here as well.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "Quite frankly the unconditional support of Israel is getting ridiculous and pointless. It is time to demand that Israel behaves like the free and civilised democracy they claim to be."

      I demand that you learn how to use a keyboard. I demand it before you post silly statements.

      "The current UN vote to recognise Palestine as a Non-member observer State was based on this boundary."

      The "Palestinians" violate every last provision of every last agreement, yet get what they ask for and more from the UN as if they are the victims of the religious war they pursue. You are yet another delusional, misinformed individual.

      The UN must be de-funded and removed from this continent. You're welcome to go along for all I care.

      "The only obstacle to peace right now is.."

      You and your insane ideas that keep law and order from winning over religious lunatics and their anarchy known as jihad.

      "Fatah and Hamas are showing a willingness to accept this deal. "

      Google: hudna. Then again, you obviously have no connection with the fundamentals of any reality that would help you understand foreign policy analysis.

      "Israel need to be made to realise that time is running out and a Palestinian Statehood…"

      Is forever off the table and revealed to be a fraud.

      "otherwise we wont make progress."

      LOL. Your suggestions lead to progress for who? Are you a jihadi?

      "America can not continue to claim to be the beacon light of Hope for the world while encouraging the Apatheid and Israeli Occupation of Palestinian lands."

      Your conclusion is clearly false since your entire argument is false. Small wonder why you are labeled as delusional.

      There is no such thing as "Palestinian lands" in the sense that you use it. There is no sovereign associated with Hamas, Fatah and the fake Palestinian jihad movement posing as a "nationalist" movement. You probably didn't even wonder about any of that. Or you're another lying jihadi.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Israel will be attacked by all of it's peace loving neighbors soon enough, the stupidity of
    the claims of land and the 1967 borders that were in themselves a travesty of justice
    perpertraited against Jews. Surrounded by Godless murdering savages Israel will have
    to stand and defeat evil as it comes at them but will have the help of those who know
    justice when they see it. That leftist hacks in America are antisemites even if Jews makes
    the struggle all the more difficult but in the end Israel will prevail…………….William

  • objectivefactsmatter

    TRAITORS among us. Charge and prosecute them all, today.

  • http://twitter.com/ObserverNY @ObserverNY

    This is disturbing, to say the least. U.S. support of UNESCO is misguided in so many ways and is CENTRAL to Obama's implementation of the NWO. Agenda 21, our public schools (IB), our water ………. has anyone started a .gov petition on this yet? We ARE talking about existing Federal Law ……