Wednesday, June 3, 2020 -
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Keep the funding ban on UNESCO

The Palestinian Authority’s circumvention of direct negotiations with Israel via the PA’s attempt to secure unilateral recognition of an independent state from the UN has so far failed — with one exception: UNESCO recognized “Palestine.”

Automatically, under US law, contributions from the US to UNESCO ceased.

That cessation of funding went a long way to convincing other UN bodies not to respond to the irresponsible attempt by the Palestinian Authority to avoid making peace with Israel.

Even more, three months later, Israel and the Palestinians began talks under the aegis of Jordan. These talks continue.

It should seem obvious that talking is better than either shooting or grandstanding. Yet, inexplicably, the Obama administration wants to ask Congress to waive its ban on funding UNESCO.

“The Department of State intends to work with Congress to seek legislation that would provide authority to waive restrictions on paying the US assessed contributions to UNESCO,” says a footnote in the budget that the White House submitted to Congress this month.

The administration’s logic escapes us. The ban is achieving its goal: pushing the Palestinians back to talks, sending the message that delegitimation of Israel is counterproductive, and exposing the UN for its negative impact on peace.

We agree with the chair of the US House of Representative Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R. Fla.), who says:

“Any effort to walk back this funding cutoff will pave the way for the Palestinian leadership’s unilateral statehood scheme to drive on, and sends a disastrous message that the US will fund UNbodies no matter what irresponsible decisions they make.”

To those who say the that it is wrong to punish the good work of the UN Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) —  well, that punishment is entirely self-generated. It can vanish in a moment. All UNESCO needs to do is to withdraw its recognition of a unilaterally declared Palestine. Poof. UNESCO’s funding from Congress will magically reappear.

Copyright © 2012 by the Intermountain Jewish News


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Rabbi Hillel Goldberg
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Shana R. Goldberg
Assistant Publisher