IMPORTANT: I urge all my readers to make as generous a gift as you can to UNESCO to express your disgust with Obama administration policy toward the organization. Support UNESCO when Obama deserts it. I must say the organization makes it difficult to contribute. You can only donate to three specific programs at this link and you have to register to do so. I’ve found links to specific programs (and the children’s program here) within UNESCO to which you may donate. But I haven’t found any way to do so directly to the overall organization. If any readers know how to do this please let me know.
Reporter Matt Lee sticks it to State Department spokesflack Victoria Nuland (who is married to neocon analyst Robert Kagan) as she argues that U.S. opposition to the Palestinian bid for UNESCO membership and our immediate defunding of that body arises from our concern for a “rise in tension” it would cause. After Lee repeatedly asks her what “tension” the vote creates except Israeli anger, she ends the interchange charging him with mounting a “polemic.” In other words, she has just tacitly conceded that the only reason we oppose UNESCO membership is because it pisses off the Israelis.
Once or twice during the questioning a frozen smile creeps across her face–or I should say flickers on her lips. It’s not really a facial smile, but rather an almost involuntary grimace that mimics a smile. Really scary. A mirror into the mind–though a jumbled, obtuse one it must be.
Among the other sophistries she tried to pass off were a claim that the membership bid would deflect from the goal of creating a Palestinian state; that the U.S. continues to support creating such a state; and that it continues to support UNESCO.
Of course, if you continue as a member of such a body after turning off 22% of its budget, you’re not going to be considered a member in good standing and your influence will decline dramatically. This of course will hurt U.S. interests and the greater values that we’re promoting by belonging. To say you support an organization after shutting off the spigot is a mite hypocritical.
Important to note that all the U.S. could muster in the vote was 12 other countries opposing the membership bid. Twelve. Over 100 countries defied us and Israel. As Matt Lee says in the video, this should be telling us something. 100 other countries think the main tension caused in this conflict is by Israel, not Palestine. Twelve agree with us.
Also, the U.S. claim that it supports a Palestinian state when it has now taken three decisively hostile votes against such a state within the UN framework (veto of the anti-settlement resolution, threatening a veto of a Security Council statehood resolution, and defunding UNESCO) are dramatic contradictions of our statements. I’ve always believed that to know a politician’s true values you watch the way he votes, not what he says. The same is true in international affairs. We’ve flown our true colors today despite the white lies offered by Victoria Nuland.
U.S. policy is seriously off-track. It is totally skewed toward Israel at a time when the rest of the world is moving in a diametrically opposite direction. Though Obama has prided himself on a return to multilateralism in the aftermath of the fiasco of Bush era foreign policy, we are moving precisely in the direction of unilateralism in our relations with the Palestinians and Arab states supporting it. We’ve seen the disaster that is unilateralism. How can we return to it? This is becoming a slow motion train wreck. You see the train coming. You see the eyes of the engineer and the brake handle right in front of him which he can’t or won’t grasp. What’s going wrong? Can’t he see disaster ahead?
Now the fun begins in earnest. The Congressional chicken hawks will be screaming for us to cut off the PA and Israel will be considering sanctions as well. Guys, I’ve got a few brief words for you: IT WON’T WORK! Palestine has been financially destitute before. Sure, it will hurt. But the truth is that Israel has stifled the Palestinian economy, which might stand on its own without Israeli interference. So the blame has always been upon Israel for a relatively stagnant economy. The blame will still be on Israel, and now the U.S., when they shut off the tap. Let’s be sure to show the world the pictures of the babies doing without medical care and proper nutrition from this anticipated aid cutoff. Let’s show the world pictures of former UNESCO programs cancelled or curtailed due to U.S. obtuseness in enforcing a 20 year old law which violates stated U.S. policy recognizing a two state solution.