What do Cuba, Myanmar, Syria, Iran, North Korea and Somalia have in common? All countries with terrible human rights records and on the US list of villain countries? Well, maybe, but that’s not the connection I was looking for. All of them are full members of UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Social, and Cultural Organization.
But now that UNESCO has voted (107 to 14 with 52 abstentions) the United States is cutting off funding. In the last decade the US has provided around 22% of the UNESCO budget. Now it’s not even going to pay this year’s dues.
I absolutely acknowledge that the Israel-Palestinian question is complex, exacerbated by having intransigent parties on both sides of the negotiating table. But US Presidents since Nixon have supported statehood for Palestine. It would somehow be reneging on our commitments to Israel to allow Palestinians a seat at the UNESCO table? Absolute nonsense!
There will never be peace in the Middle East until the Palestinian question is ultimately answered. Not allowing them to fully participate in UNESCO is a giant step backwards…in fact the polar opposite of what Education, Social, and Cultural should stand for.
When I was a child on Halloween we went around with little boxes raising money for UNESCO. And on this Halloween the US exercises its idiocy in this matter.
How ironic that it was under George W. Bush that the US rejoined UNESCO after a multi-year absence and it is under Obama that we’ve pulled our support.