02 November 2011

USA dumps Unesco

Yesterday, 107 member nations in UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, voted to admit Palestine as a member. UNESCO protects world heritage sites and leads global efforts to bring clean water to the poor. They even manage a tsunami early-warning system in the Pacific.

The U.S. was one of just 14 countries that voted “no” to Palestinian admission.

But within hours of the vote, the Obama Administration announced it would stop paying its $80 million in total yearly dues to UNESCO, which amounts to over 20 percent of UNESCO's total budget. Why? Because the vote triggered decades-old U.S. legislation that
requires that the U.S. stop paying any UN body that accepts Palestine as a member—even though official U.S. policy is to support a Palestinian state.

That has to change.

You see, the Israeli government and its right-wing supporters in the United States don't even want a symbolic recognition of the Palestinian's right to self-determination or participation on the world stage. That's what the law is really about. The Israelis have already announced that they are expediting the construction of even more settlements and withholding life-sustaining tax monies that belong to the Palestinian Authority as punishment for the vote.

The U.S. is endangering its status at the UN and impoverishing critical global program needs simply because Palestinian admission to UNESCO angered Israel.

Please write your U.S. representatives now. Tell them to waive the portion of the law that bars the president from making funding decisions based on the national interest, and to work towards repeal of the law.

If you live outside of the United States, send a message to the Obama administration that this policy is harmful for the whole world.

Don't let this go unanswered,

Cecilie Surasky, Deputy Director
Jewish Voice for Peace

from A Jewish Voice for Peace

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