How’s that for turnaround time? — US cuts off funding for UNESCO

Israel/Palestine
on 75 Comments

Update: Check out this must see video of the AP’s Matt Lee grilling State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland over the US UNESCO vote. Sami Kishawi has a full transcript on his blog Sixteen Minutes to Palestine.

Haaretz:

The Obama administration has decided to cut off funding for UNESCO because it approved a Palestinian bid for full membership.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says Monday’s vote triggers a long-standing congressional restriction on funding to UN bodies that recognize Palestine as a state before an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal is reached . . .

Nuland went on to say the U.S. would refrain from making a $60 million payment it planned to make in November.

But she said the U.S. would maintain membership in the body.

About Adam Horowitz

Adam Horowitz is Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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75 Responses

  1. Dan Crowther
    October 31, 2011, 3:03 pm

    hahaha! I was literally in the process of sending a link to the haaretz article on this……

    The Obama Administration: Monument to Efficiency

    • Dan Crowther
      October 31, 2011, 9:14 pm

      He is like the American Hitchens, he really looks just like him – and “engaging in a polemic to boot;” I think Christopher would be proud.
      (please spare any “hitchens is a…..” comments)

      And just look at the comments on youtube……everyone knows this lady and the government she represents(mine, fuck! {sigh}) are full of shit. If this is the reaction to UNESCO!?!……

  2. pabelmont
    October 31, 2011, 3:05 pm

    USA: Palestine is not merely a prisoner, but must be kept in “solitary” — cannot talk to the other children — until the jailer (Israel) is pleased to say it is OK. Someone naughty (UNESCO) made a hole in the wall and now Palestine, still a prisoner, is talking to the other children. Tsk, tsk. BAD UNESCO! BAD KITTY!

    • Real Jew
      October 31, 2011, 3:22 pm

      Lol, that pretty much sums it up pabelmont. I’d only add: Can you imagine how the other countries of the world views this sort of behavior from the US? A country who claims to be an ‘honest broker’. Who claims to want peace and prosperity for the Pals yet the moment the pals attempt to better their situation the US is quick to condemn and punish them for it. The US is flying full speed ahead in becoming the most hated country in the world, second only to Israel (of course)

    • dumvitaestspesest
      October 31, 2011, 3:26 pm

      :))))Tsk, Tsk. Here is more: “Instead of giving those 60 milion $$$ to UNESCO, we will proudly suport Hasbara. It looks like those “poor souls” are losing their “edge”.
      Question: For 60 milions $$$ , how many new, busy bees hasbarists can you get???
      The answer: An awful a lot. Thousands and thousands of them.

  3. Whizdom
    October 31, 2011, 3:16 pm

    Simple fix. Abstain from UNSC vote on Palestinian membership in UN, and both provisions in law are obviated on recognition of Palestinian admission to UN as a member state.

    • pabelmont
      October 31, 2011, 3:58 pm

      Not simple under the USA’s oligarchic (money elections) system for the USA to “buck” the AIPAC party-line. Simple in principle, impossible as matter of political fact.

      • Hostage
        October 31, 2011, 4:46 pm

        The cost to other members of UNESCO will only be about $300,000 per member state if current programs can’t simply be scaled back (as they normally are during economic recessions).

        There was no guarantee that the US would pay the $60 million anyway. Congress has a super committee that has to find 1.2 trillion in cuts and UNESCO is one of the favorite targets for making political gestures. The United States dropped out of UNESCO altogether in 1984 in order to blackmail the UN organization into repealing the General Assembly’s resolution that equated Zionism with racism. It stayed out of the organization for over a decade and no plausible public explanation was ever provided. Even the experts were scratching their heads trying to make sense out of the policy. See for example Hans N. Weiler, Withdrawing from Unesco: A Decision in Search of an Argument, Comparative Education Review Vol. 30, No. 1 (Feb., 1986), pp. 132-139 link to jstor.org

  4. mikeo
    October 31, 2011, 3:25 pm

    Victoria Nuland is quoted as saying:

    “But she said the U.S. would maintain membership in the body. “The UNESCO General Conference’s action does not diminish our determination to work with UNESCO to advance U.S. national interests. Therefore, we will maintain our membership in UNESCO and our commitment to UNESCO,” the State Department said. ”

    But if you don’t pay your UNESCO dues then you are not eligible to vote so it’s a pretty toothless membership that the US will be left with.

    USA – cutting off its nose to spite its face for Israel since 1948 ;)

    • RoHa
      October 31, 2011, 8:35 pm

      “our determination to work with UNESCO to advance U.S. national interests.”

      I though UNESCO was there to educate the impoverished, improve the status of women, and that sort of thing. Silly me.

      • eGuard
        November 1, 2011, 4:23 am

        Well spotted RoHa. Together with AP’s poiting to: US: “it’s undermining our shared goals”. – Matt: “who’s shared goal is that?”.

  5. dumvitaestspesest
    October 31, 2011, 3:53 pm

    “before an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal is reached . .”

    According to the Radio Erewan , wars are permanently gone from our globe. Instead ,we only have “struggles for Peace.” As a result of those “struggles for peace” , a stone upon a stone won’t be left in one piece all over our tired mother Earth.

    • Charon
      October 31, 2011, 4:34 pm

      Judging by the aftermath of Iraq and Libya, it’s more like “struggles for pieces” generally of the black gold variety

      • Les
        October 31, 2011, 5:01 pm

        And both Israel and the US continue to struggle to obtain the “piece treaty” Israel expects the Palestinians to deliver.

      • Charon
        November 1, 2011, 2:19 am

        And a couple things in the ‘piece process’ never discussed are Gaza’s natural gas field and the trillion dollar dead sea minerals. The latter being mentioned decades ago by the Red Shield bankers themselves, one of the real reasons they funded the Aliyahs and paid for the Balfour declaration. Jewish self-determination was the last thing those Sabbateans wanted.

      • dumvitaestspesest
        October 31, 2011, 5:06 pm

        I’m taking more about an” official version”. The one that is sold to the public to swallow.
        Unofficially it is ,as always been through the ages, the struggle for money and power, power and money.
        History just repeats itself. History is a good teacher, but we are awful students.

      • Charon
        November 1, 2011, 2:21 am

        dumvitaestspesest, that’s a perfect reason to put history behind us. Nobody ever learns from it. Israel is a model example.

        IMO, history is history and should be treated as such. The US should resume trade with Cuba and resume international relations with Iran unconditionally. Eff whatever history we have, all parties would benefit

      • dumvitaestspesest
        November 1, 2011, 10:59 am

        You can not “put history behind us”. It is just impossible.
        And even, let’s say, all of a sudden,, we all would suffer from some kind of a global amnesia, and our memory would erase all of our past ,the situation would not change too much.
        The battle between good and evil would still continue as it is inside of us all.

  6. Chaos4700
    October 31, 2011, 3:57 pm

    Can we just have Israel cast our votes at the UN? Then we wouldn’t have to waste money on a bobblehead ambassador, and Israelis could waste more of our money on an anti-rocket system that doesn’t really work.

    • annie
      October 31, 2011, 4:02 pm

      we could save on airfare.

      • Chaos4700
        October 31, 2011, 4:18 pm

        Theoretically we could already be doing that, the UN is in New York and Ms. Rice could just take a train or catch a bus or something. :)

      • annie
        October 31, 2011, 4:26 pm

        oh, you’re probably right.

      • Charon
        October 31, 2011, 4:30 pm

        She probably still flies. And first class

      • dumvitaestspesest
        October 31, 2011, 4:35 pm

        or walk, and miss the meeting:).

      • Am_America
        October 31, 2011, 4:43 pm

        The UNESCO vote was in Paris.

      • Chaos4700
        October 31, 2011, 7:43 pm

        …and Ambassador Rice is in New York, where the UN Assembly is housed. Are you really so incredibly ill-informed?

    • Am_America
      October 31, 2011, 4:19 pm

      you don’t really care that you are completely lying about Iron Dome do you?

      • Shingo
        October 31, 2011, 4:32 pm

        Seeing as Iron Dome is nothing bit a failure, I fail to see how those are lies.

      • Am_America
        October 31, 2011, 4:42 pm

        “Nothing bit (sic) a failure?

        Iron Dome scored 90 per cent plus kill rate in recent combat firings

        link to janes.com

      • Chaos4700
        October 31, 2011, 7:42 pm

        Yeah, the web site for the PR guys who are peddling the “defense” system would say that.

      • RoHa
        October 31, 2011, 8:37 pm

        So Israel can just ignore any rockets fired at it from, say, Gaza. They will all be stopped.

      • Shingo
        October 31, 2011, 9:56 pm

        Iron Dome scored 90 per cent plus kill rate in recent combat firings

        90% of what? The rockets that were targetted. That doesn’t maje teh system 90% effective in stopping rockets.

        Even Israle admit the system is useless against a simultenous attack.

      • Hostage
        November 3, 2011, 5:52 am

        Iron Dome scored 90 per cent plus kill rate in recent combat firings

        No, in recent days its success rate is in the crapper. Haaretz reports a success rate of about 15 percent:

        In the past few days about 30 rockets have been fired into Israel. The two Iron Dome batteries intercepted between four and five rockets, a success rate of about 15 percent. By anyone’s standards this is a very low rate, and it certainly contradicts the great promises by the Defense Ministry, the system’s manufacturer Rafael and the project’s head administrator, Yossi Drucker.

      • Shingo
        November 3, 2011, 6:02 am

        You rock Hostage.

      • ToivoS
        October 31, 2011, 6:07 pm

        These antimissile missiles do not work. Ever since Gulf War I the military has been claiming that they do work, but subsequent analysis of the data always seems to show that in fact the tests failed. Am_, if you can provide us with a reference to an independent test that shows Iron Dome does in fact work, I will be willing to change my mind.

        Claims by either the Israeli or American military are not sufficient evidence.

      • Shingo
        October 31, 2011, 9:57 pm

        Ever since Gulf War I the military has been claiming that they do work

        Excatly. Remember teh hype about the Patriot missiles? That turned out to be a hoax.

      • Hostage
        November 1, 2011, 1:45 am

        These antimissile missiles do not work. Ever since Gulf War I the military has been claiming that they do work, but subsequent analysis of the data always seems to show that in fact the tests failed.

        The press magnified the military significance of SCUD missiles, armed with only conventional warheads, way out of proportion to the actual threat they posed. They were more of a psychological or propaganda weapon. The Patriot missile batteries were designed for air base defense against enemy bombers and turbojet cruise missiles, not against ballistic missiles. The US only withdrew from the ABM treaty years later, in June of 2002. So there was nothing in our arsenal during the 1990s to counter the threat. The Russians advised that the SCUD design was inherently poor and prone to breakup on re-entry anyway. So, the US armed forces used the Patriots and deliberately led the enemy to believe it was more successful than it actually had been. It was laughable when the idiots in Congress got wind of the ruse and decided to hold hearings on the performance of the Patriot, since it was designed and procured in the ABM treaty era.

      • Charon
        November 1, 2011, 2:25 am

        Mad Max: Iron Dome starring Mel “sugar tats” Gibson

        and Jim Caviezel as Jesus

    • Kathleen
      November 1, 2011, 6:41 pm

      Such a good point! Why waste the money on Nuland or anyone else just relaying Israel’s demands

  7. Charon
    October 31, 2011, 4:28 pm

    This is goonish behavior equivalent to blackmail. When is somebody going to organize a (non-violent) mass million+ march to liberate capitol hill when congress is in session? I’m game.

  8. dumvitaestspesest
    October 31, 2011, 5:29 pm

    Wow, it looks like the US officials all chant in unison.
    What makes them sing in such an amazing harmony??
    The sound of shekels??

  9. DICKERSON3870
    October 31, 2011, 5:42 pm

    RE: “The Obama administration has decided to cut off
    funding for UNESCO because it approved a Palestinian bid for full membership.” ~ Haaretz

    SEE: My Father My Lord (Hofshat Kaits), 2007, NR, 73 minutes
    When young Menahem (Ilan Griff) innocently questions his family’s ultra-Orthodox faith, his father (Assi Dayan) falls back on the dogma he teaches as a respected rabbi, but his answers fail to satisfy his inquisitive, sensitive son. Will the rabbi’s strict adherence to doctrine bring harm to his family? Directed by David Volach, this lyrical Israeli drama also stars Sharon Hacohen-Bar as Menahem’s devoted mother.
    Language: Hebrew (English subtitles)
    Netflix Availability: Streaming and DVD (Streaming until 11/1/11*)
    NETFLIX LISTING – link to movies.netflix.com
    * 3:00 AM EDST on 11/1/11

  10. Rusty Pipes
    October 31, 2011, 5:52 pm

    It looks more like the Executive Branch is recognizing prior restrictions mandated by the Legislative Branch. This move will have a severe impact on the US’s influence in the UN — one of the few arenas in which the Executive Branch could take action on I/P without congressional interference. Of course, by threatening a veto at the Security Council, the Obama administration is squandering what little independence it had.

    Nuland expressed concern that the funding cut could have damaging implications for the U.S. By not paying its dues, the U.S. could severely restrict and reduce its ability to influence UNESCO, and act within it.

    “We are very concerned about it, which is why we didn’t want it to happen in the first place and why we’re concerned about this move being replicated in other UN agencies,” said Nuland.

    The cut in funding could impact the voting rights of the U.S., since under UNESCO’s constitution any member state that gets more than two years in arrears in its contribution does not have the right to vote in the general conference. According to Nuland, the actual arrearage status of the U.S. will begin in January.

    J Street urged the U.S. not to cut funding, saying disengagement from UNESCO would weaken the country’s international standing. “In addition to undermining our own national interests, it would also deprive Israel of its most vocal and powerful advocate in a key UN organ,” said Dylan Williams, J Street’s Director of Government Affairs.

  11. justicewillprevail
    October 31, 2011, 7:03 pm

    What makes the US think we want dirty money? I would rather have less money but retain some semblance of dignity and honour, thankyou. The bullying and blackmail marks the US/Israel as cheap shot gangsters who want to punish poor people for having the gall not to be intimidated and forced to bend their knee to the gun-toting dictators.

  12. kursato
    October 31, 2011, 7:11 pm

    So if you don’t align yourself with US you will pay the price

    • James
      October 31, 2011, 9:38 pm

      another way to look at it is this : if you don’t align yourself with israel, you will pay a price.. that seems to be the thinking of the 13 that voted no…

  13. mikeo
    October 31, 2011, 7:18 pm

    Matt Lee is a fucking LEGEND!

    You have to love this guy…

    DOG with a BONE

    • annie
      October 31, 2011, 7:42 pm

      wow, very impressive

      • annie
        October 31, 2011, 7:43 pm

        what’s this “Embedding disabled by request”..means we can’t front page it.

    • James
      October 31, 2011, 9:35 pm

      awesome! that guy is awesome.. thanks mikeo for sharing this..

      • annie
        October 31, 2011, 9:54 pm

        does anyone know what the blue star is in the flag directly to the right of nuland? what flag is that? the pale blue star is filled with 13 little white stars and surrounded by navy blue. i don’t think i have ever seen this star before, or noticed this star.

      • James
        October 31, 2011, 11:17 pm

        i don’t know annie.. i am a canuck! it looks like some sort of american flag..

      • annie
        October 31, 2011, 11:56 pm

        yeah, it must be some sort of american flag if it’s standing there next her her. but i still do not recognize it. weird

      • Hostage
        November 1, 2011, 12:53 am

        does anyone know what the blue star is in the flag directly to the right of nuland?

        That’s an example of the Great Seal of the United States on the flag: The design of the obverse of the Seal, which is the U.S. coat of arms, can be shown on coins, postage stamps, passports, monuments and flags, and in many other ways. link to publications.usa.gov

      • annie
        November 1, 2011, 1:15 am

        thank you hostage.

        the constellation of stars symbolizes the new Nation taking its place among the sovereign powers.

    • Kathleen
      November 1, 2011, 6:42 pm

      That is the link up above. Or did Adam put this up when you posted this

  14. Kathleen
    October 31, 2011, 7:26 pm

    “But she said the U.S. would maintain membership in the body.”

    Who said she determines who “maintains membership in the body” Generally if you do not pay your dues in most clubs or organizations they boot your ass out.

  15. kursato
    October 31, 2011, 7:33 pm

    Has anyone worked out what comes after the US withdraws funding from UNESCO?

    Try these UN Agencies that will allow Palestinian entry next:
    - World Intellectual Property Organization
    - International Civil Aviation Organization
    - International Postal Union
    - International Telecommunications Union
    - International Atomic Energy Agency (no more control of inspectors. . . Not enough money for inspections. Looks as if Iran is going to get away with whatever it wants to do. . . Thanks to US support for Israel)
    - World Health Organization

    Just to help out a recalcitrant Israel that continues with land theft.

    The US is going to hate painting itself into that corner. . .

    Is anyone else following the logic of the laws that the US has on the books to support Israel?

    • Chaos4700
      October 31, 2011, 7:42 pm

      Wow, I didn’t realize just how much Israel is making us fall on our own sword, here…

    • Hostage
      November 1, 2011, 12:15 am

      Just to help out a recalcitrant Israel that continues with land theft.

      The only reason the US never ratified the 1st Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions was to protect Israel and South Africa from the provisions regarding population transfer and apartheid in Article 85. Those provisions have long-since been declared part of customary international law and even our own Courts have allowed South Africans to file an apartheid suit under the Alien Tort Claims Statute. But the US still won’t ratify the protocol and population transfer isn’t mentioned in the 1996 War Crimes Act (thanks to the best Congress that money can buy).

      Is anyone else following the logic of the laws that the US has on the books to support Israel?

      Of course. I’ve been commenting about them for quite a while now.

  16. lobewyper
    October 31, 2011, 7:53 pm

    This funding withdrawal will bring more attention to The Lobby and its pernicious effects upon us.

  17. James
    October 31, 2011, 8:03 pm

    i suppose they figure giving the money to wall st. banks is a better idea…

    it is hard to hold any respect for the usa at this point, not that i had much before this vote…

  18. annie
    October 31, 2011, 8:49 pm

    i hope everyone checks out the ESSENTIAL UPDATE on the top of the article.

  19. justsayin
    October 31, 2011, 8:56 pm

    hasn’t the USA always been behind on payments in the areas like those that israel has agents in.

  20. Kathleen
    October 31, 2011, 9:15 pm

    AP’s Matt Lee was indeed “grilling” And Victoria Nuland was starting to sweat. Her upper lip and chin were almost dripping. She was raising her right eye brow so high it almost hit her hair line.

    “who shares this goal” Lee pounded

  21. DICKERSON3870
    October 31, 2011, 10:05 pm

    RE: “State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says Monday’s vote triggers a long-standing congressional restriction on funding to UN bodies that recognize Palestine as a state before an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal is reached . . .” ~ Haaretz

    TRANSLATION: We’re in campaign mode until 2013, and we can’t take a chance on alienating any of our major donors to the the DNC and/or the Obama reelection campaign.

    EXCERPTS FROM THE WIKIPEDIA ARTICLE ON (ISRAELI-AMERICAN) HAIM SABAN BEFORE IT WAS RECENTLY “SANITIZED” (now at the fullwiki.com):

    …Saban has been a generous and consistent donor to the United States Democratic Party according to his mandatory Federal Election Commission filings…
    …During the 2000 presidential election, Saban increased his rank to 5th among individual donors with a combined contribution of $1,250,500.[14] Matthew Yglesias wrote that “Saban was the largest overall contributor to the Democratic National Committee during the 2001–2002 cycle” and related the support from Saban to the fact that “the party leadership was backing the Iraq War and Terry McAuliffe was DNC chair.”[15] Saban’s donations during that 2001–2002 period exceeded $10 million, the largest donation the DNC has received from a single source up to that time

    SOURCE – link to thefullwiki.org
    P.S. FROM WIKIPEDIA: “…Saban contributed between $5 million to $10 million to the William J. Clinton Foundation.[19]…”

    ALSO SEE: Saban family tried to give [Rahm] Emanuel over 1/2 a million [for his mayoral campaign] – link to mondoweiss.net

    P.S. “Money is the mother’s milk of politics.” ~ Jesse “Big Daddy” Unruh, Speaker of the California Assembly from 1961 to 1968

  22. American
    October 31, 2011, 10:26 pm

    Evidently there were two laws pasted , one in the 80′s and one in the 90′s about not funding anything that admited Palestine to anything.
    We don’t have to guess who was behind thoses.
    I’ll try and track them down tomorrow.

  23. Mayhem
    October 31, 2011, 11:53 pm

    The US is just enacting legislation laid down by Congress – so why all the hullaballoo? There is nothing new here. If so many people hate what the US does then why be so willing to take its “dirty” money? Let the oil-drenched Arab states and their mates make up the shortfall and let’s get on with life.

    • Hostage
      November 1, 2011, 12:26 am

      If so many people hate what the US does then why be so willing to take its “dirty” money?

      Because the United States is interfering in the foreign relations of other states and it is trying to use its payment of its own assessments for the purpose of blackmail. These are treaty organizations. The privilege of membership is strictly conditioned upon the payment of assessments. The oil-drenched Arab states are paying theirs, so they are members in good standing.

    • Shingo
      November 1, 2011, 3:23 am

      The US is just enacting legislation laid down by Congress

      What happened to the law against sending aid to nuclear armed states who refuse to sign the NPT?

      There is nothing new here. If so many people hate what the US does then why be so willing to take its “dirty” money?

      That’s how those tyrants remain in power. The US funds them and maintains them in power and in return, they do Washington’s bidding.

  24. radii
    November 1, 2011, 1:08 am

    nothing screams you’re pathetic like the USA’s capitulation to israel:

    USA
    We’re So Lame
    We Know No Shame
    Hoo-Ra!

    • annie
      November 1, 2011, 1:29 am

      how ’bout

      we’re so lame
      u probaby know this song is about us
      we’re so lame
      i bet you think this song is about us
      don’t you? don’t you?

      you fooled us several years ago
      when we we’re still quite naive
      Well, you said that we made such a pretty pair
      And we said we’d never leave
      but you’ve used up all your credit now
      and i no longer believe
      I had some dreams they were clouds in my coffee
      Clouds in my coffee, and

      we’re so lame
      u probaby know this song is about us
      we’re so lame
      i bet you think this song is about us
      don’t you? don’t you?

  25. dumvitaestspesest
    November 1, 2011, 10:00 am

    From Mr. Norman Finkelstein’s website.:))
    “In response to UNESCO vote, Obama to replace Stars Spangled Banner with Hatikvah as national anthem!”
    “Obama Spotted at Halloween Parade Dressed as Star of David”.
    link to normanfinkelstein.com

  26. Erasmus
    November 4, 2011, 4:20 am

    Another evidence of US and GOP Double Standards – The Empire threatens little Nepal
    Nepal stands to lose millions of dollars in US aid if crack down on Tibetans’ movement continues, warns US lawmaker
    ….. Tibetan exiles were apprehended while demonstrating by performing prayers in the memory of the late monks who lost their lives during the free-Tibet movement. Nepal is the main route for Tibetans who seek to go into exile, but the country has increasingly cracked down on Tibetans’ movement and activities out of fear of upsetting its giant neighbor to the north, the report said.

    Representative Frank Wolf, who sits on the House Appropriations Committee that determines US funding, said he would try to block funding to Nepal unless it grants exit visas to Tibetans who seek refuge in the United States.
    “We’re not just going to cut them, we’re going to zero them out,” Wolf, a Republican from Virginia and outspoken critic of China, was quoted as saying by AFP
    “If they’re not willing to do it, then they don’t share our values and if they don’t share our values, we do not want to share our dollars,” he told a congressional hearing on Tibet.
    Wolf said he would propose the aid cutoff if Nepal’s record does not improve by the time the United States looks at foreign aid funding next year……

    04November 2011
    link to nepalnews.com

    Quod licet Iovi (Israel)- non licet bovi (Nepal)

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