Palestinians Admitted to Unesco in Landslide Vote

Full Palestinian membership in the United Nations’ cultural body, Unesco, was approved today in a landslide vote that imperils U.S. funding for the group.

The Palestinian membership application for the Paris-based agency won 107 votes in favor, with 14 against and 52 abstentions. Palestine becomes the 195th member state in the group best known for its designation of ”œworld heritage” sites.

The vote at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization could lead to a cutoff of U.S. financial support, which totals about $80 million a year, or 22 percent of the operating budget.

”œThe vote to grant Palestinian membership in Unesco is no substitute for direct negotiations, but it is deeply damaging for Unesco,” U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said in a message posted on her Twitter feed.

Under U.S. law, the United States is prohibited from giving funds to the United Nations or any UN agency that grants the Palestine Liberation Organization the same standing as member states.

”œExisting U.S. law mandates that we cut off funding to any UN body that approves such a request,” U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Florida Republican and chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in an e-mailed statement today.

and this is how the US loses credibility

** US cuts Unesco funds over vote for Palestinian seat

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  • Bah humbug, UNESCO should vote US of A out, China will probably cover the rest, that is just meere pittance. Isolationism would be nice for the US, it could allow it to take a moment of reflection upon itself.
    Won’t happen, those drones have to kill, kill, kill, anywhere in the world. The US is truely becomming some sort of international parriah.

  • UNESCO‘s stated mission is “to contribute to the building of a culture of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information.”

    Have you ever before read such a transparently anti-US, anti-Israel rant?

    And what’s this Gender Equality initiative? It’s a UNESCO global priority 2008-2014.

    Yet who can’t clearly see UNESCO efforts towards economic, social and educational equality for women and girls is just a smokescreen hiding rabid Palestinian terrorism.

    Wake up America. Palestine’s intentions are clear. 1. Take over Israel. 2. Destabilize the USA.

    I know these things to be true because they were privately told to me by the Great Sasquatch whom I met in the woods one day while mushroom picking.

    It perfectly clear that the US is absolutely right in its decision to pulling funding contributions to this dangerous organization. Moreover, other member nations should quit UNESCO at once in support of the American stance on this important issue. After all the US already provides the world with more than enough educational, scientific, cultural and communications achievements – certainly these represent sources of inspiration far beyond the paltry efforts of UNESCO’s 195 member states.

  • Think about all those Dysney’s educational movies, retelling the ”true” mother goose stories, and all. Their theme parks all over the world, where Mormon looking personnel embark you on a tour of science and ALL their educational games featuring Mickey Mouse.
    Don’t they promote equality, Mickey friend with Goofy?
    And that is just one american NGO. (well corporations are NGO and people too). And Dysney is non-violent. And could easyly pay the whole UNESCO budget. As for them Eemeers of …. 60 million is just pocket change. And Education, science and culture these are just big holes in wich govt. sink in money. I talked with that sasquatch in the mountains of Sasquatchewan.

  • a chance to screw over Palestine.

    Israel to speed up settlement building in West Bank

    JERUSALEM | Tue Nov 1, 2011 11:53pm IST
    (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for the accelerated construction of some 2,000 housing units in areas in the West Bank and around Jerusalem, an official statement said on Tuesday.

    The statement came after Netanyahu called a special cabinet session to discuss the granting of full membership to the Palestinians by UNESCO, the U.N. cultural agency.

    A senior government official said after the meeting the cabinet had also decided to halt money transfers to the Palestinians Authority as a temporary measure until a final decision was made.

  • Wikileaks: Israel wanted to overcome diplomatic isolation at UNESCO

    A Wikileaks gem that I came across after the final dump of all the cables this summer is all the more shiny in light of today’s vote to make Palestine a member state at UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

    A cable dated 24 February 2010, marked unclassified but “sensitive,” summarizes a 21 February 2010 discussion between US Deputy Secretary Jacob J. Lew and Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon. During the meeting, according to the cable, Ayalon asked for US “assistance in placing an Israeli candidate as Assistant Director General for International Cooperation at UNESCO.”

    The cable reads (scroll down to item 16):

    Ayalon said that Israel was working hard to overcome its diplomatic isolation. He flagged Israel’s having recently joined JUSCANZ [a consultative body to the UN Human Rights Council] in Geneva and its hope to join JUSCANZ and WEAG in New York so that it could present candidates for UN positions. Israel wanted to submit a candidate to be Assistant Delegate General for International Cooperation and Communication at UNESCO, and asked for U.S. intervention with new UNESCO Director General Bokova, who “owes you guys her life.”

    Whatever efforts the US may have made on Israel’s behalf, they were ultimately unsuccessful, as no Israeli diplomats were appointed in July 2010 by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova to any of the several assistant director-general positions at UNESCO.

    US pressure seems to not work all of the time

    Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Ayalon’s assertion that the former Bulgarian foreign minister owes the Americans “her life” may refer to Bokova’s narrow win of the UNESCO directorship vote. Egyptian Culture Minister Farouk Hosny was considered the favorite in the election.

    The New York Times reported in 2009:

    A race that began with nine candidates, with Mr. Hosny in the lead, was affected by charges against him that he was in favor of burning books by Israelis and keeping restrictions on Egypt’s carefully edited press — incompatible with a United Nations agency that is supposed to defend press freedom.

    An alliance of Unesco board members opposed to Mr. Hosny finally coalesced around Ms. Bokova, a former Bulgarian Foreign Minister and currently Bulgaria’s ambassador to France and Unesco, which is headquartered in Paris.

    If Israel intended to overcome diplomatic isolation at UNESCO, its plan isn’t going so well.

    Mondoweiss summarizes today’s vote from a roundup of different sources. Before today’s vote, there were 193 member states to UNESCO; of them, there were 107 votes in favor of admitting Palestine to the UN body, 52 abstentions and only 14 votes “no” (Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Israel, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Palau, Panama, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Sweden, United States of America, Vanuatu).

    As a result of the vote in overwhelming favor to admit Palestine to UNESCO, the United States has decided to collectively punish education, science and culture worldwide by withholding a $60 million payment to the body later this month.

    The Israeli daily Haaretz reports:

    The US Congress is also currently considering new legislation that would impose additional restrictions on American funding of the United Nations, threaten cutting aid to the Palestinian Authority, and slashing military assistance to key foreign countries in retaliation to their support for the Palestinian bid for full UN membership.

    Of course, the full impact of today’s vote and the US’ predictably insane reaction remain to be seen. But it’s hard to imagine that the US or Israel can do anything to spin this in their favor.

    Indeed, as this short video of today’s vote illustrates, there was resounding applause for certain countries voting in favor of admitting Palestine, a stone-cold silence for the US when it voted “no,” and only laughter when Israel voted “no.”

    The US is heading down a shameful path it has gone down once before. Like it was the last to defend apartheid South Africa, so it is with apartheid Israel. But even the biggest bully on the block can’t always get things to swing in Israel’s favor.

  • but the Arabs didn’t.
    There are a lot of good reasons for a State of Palestine but that’s not one of them.

    “When you live on cash, you understand the limits of the world around which you navigate each day.
    Credit leads into a desert with invisible boundaries.”
    – Anton Chekhov


    The 14 voting against included the US, Australia, Canada and Germany.

    Among the 107 nations in favour of Palestinian membership were Russia, China, India, France, Greece, Turkey and Brazil.

    More than 50 countries abstained, including three critical Security Council members – Portugal, Colombia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

  • and only 14 votes “no” (Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Israel, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Palau, Panama, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Sweden, United States of America, Vanuatu).

  • How Unesco countries voted on Palestinian membership

    Palestinian Authority granted full membership of UN cultural agency after 107 vote in favour, 14 against and 52 abstain, Tuesday 1 November 2011 13.05 EDT

    Breakdown of how Unesco countries voted on Palestinian membership

    194 member states

    173 votes cast

    81 required majority

    52 abstentions

    14 “no” votes

    107 “yes” votes


    Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Israel, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Palau, Panama, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Sweden, US, Vanuatu.


    Albania, Andorra, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Colombia, Cook Islands, Ivory Coast, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Fiji, Georgia, Haiti, Hungary, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kiribati, Latvia, Liberia, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, Nauru, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Poland, Portugal, South Korea, Moldova, Romania, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Switzerland, Thailand, Macedonia, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, UK, Zambia.


    Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Chad, Chile, China, Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Honduras, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Slovenia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.

    Absent (includes states that lost right to vote because membership fees were not paid):

    Antigua and Barbuda, Central African Republic, Comoros, Dominica, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Madagascar, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Mongolia, Niue, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tajikistan, East Timor, Turkmenistan.

  • and absolutely deluged the PMO’s office with outraged letters, memos and emails. We would have cc’d Sweet Baby Baird too except the “Contact” button on his website redirects you to Harper’s email! Same thing with all the other Ministers.

    Anyway the upshot is that Canada will not withdraw funding but we won’t increase it either, should UNESCO require additional cash to cover any shortfall created by the US pullout – an addon bit of save-face by Harper. In the event that an important UNESCO program were in jeopardy and needed additional funding, would the Harper government really respond with “Na na na na na. Told ya so?”


    Thankfully that’s not an international issue at the moment, thus leaving le Petit Despot pre-occupied with his own national cultural initiative – the dismantling of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

  • standing shoulder to shoulder with our brothers and sisters in Palau, Samoa and Vanuatu in this proud effort to slap down Palestinian attempts to weasel their way into legitimacy. But which of the 14 took the lead? Palau?

    If so, I, for one, am immensely pleased that the Palau population of twenty thousand souls has finally taken up their rightful leadership role in Israeli/Palestinian politics and look forward, with rising anticipation, to carrying out President Johnson Toribong’s other neat ideas for brokering peace in the Middle east.

    (Mind you, I like this guy Toribong. He declared the waters off Palau an international “shark sanctuary” (how kewl is that.) Importantly his tiny islands nation agreed to take in 17 Uyghurs wrongfully held at Guantanamo and made stateless upon their release.

  • Just send in the Palauians. Easy peasy.

    Semi seriously though, don’t fuss too much about any pending Iran invasion. The US hasn’t picked a fight with any nation that has an actual standing military for decades now. Iran would be a truly formidable opponent especially now that it all but owns Iraq, too.

    As for this report that the US is considering withholding military funding from countries that don’t vote with it, I declare “Hurrah!” Despite Le Petit Despot’s relentless efforts to turn us into US mini-mes many Canadians would feel very happy indeed if the US would quit dumping money into other country’s militaries. Fact is, whenever somebody gets a gun they’ll find some reason to shoot it. Whenever some country gets all outfitted and upgraded with neat military crap they’ll find some reason to either a)have an internal civil war or b)start a fight with their neighbor. Then here comes NATO with the US leading from behind.

    The following Canadian stats are stale dated but the facts are not. (For instance we gov has just let out multi-million dollar contracts for the building of lots of military vessels and other junk.)
    Military FUnding

    Question: How much does Canada spend on defence, and how much on contributing to international peace and security? I suggest that no one in Canada can answer that question properly, because so far our Canadian leaders (despite their rhetoric) are not really interested in peace. Canada talks about contributing to peace, but I challenge them to “Show me the money”. I would suggest the amount spent by Canada on peace pales in insignificance to the amount spent on “defence” and U.S. spawned wars around the world.

    Will spending more on the military increase Canadian security? No – not in the current mentality. Can the Department of National Defence spend military dollars more wisely? Definitely. While to my knowledge no one has attacked Canada since the United States in 1812, Canada does spend $12.3 billion annually on the military (2002/03 figure; probably more now; the whole United Nations budget is $12 billion including its agencies and is approximately the same as the Canadian military budget – which is an indictment of world funding of the U.N.). Canada is the sixth highest military spender within NATO and sixteenth highest in the world. Increases in military spending now would reward the waste and mismanagement. The last decade has witnessed billions of dollars misspent on big-ticket military programs with no clear purpose or benefit to Canada’s defence.

    For example,$750 million wasted on used British submarines with a well-known history of design flaws, $174 million on a satellite communication system that was never used, $65 million for pilot training that was never taken, $155 million annually on the cadet program, generous contracts to foreign corporations and generous raises for generals and admirals while privates suffered a wage freeze for eight years.

    Only 7% of Canadians want more scarce tax dollars to go to defence, while 72% want our resources to go to social programs like education and health care.

    Contributing to peace and international security:

    This is where I would spend my limited resources. Through service to the United Nations we will make Canada and the world more secure. In a recent survey of Canadians’ perceptions by Environics Research Group, almost one-third of Canadians believe “peacekeeping and peacefulness” is the greatest contribution Canada has to offer the world. Canadians are resisting Canada’s participation in the War on Terrorism and more military spending, which will come at the expense of social programs. Polls are
    telling the government that Canadians desire Canada to take an independent role from the United States, to seek non-military means to effect positive change in the world, and to protect Canadian sovereignty and social programs. Unfortunately, Canada has almost abandoned the United Nations Peacekeeping Missions in favour of U.S. led NATO “peacekeeping”.

    To be clear, our Canadian government political leaders and bureaucrats are illiterate when it comes to building peace. Their actions prove this. For example, if they understood what it takes to build peace at home and abroad they would be actively promoting Peace Education, Leadership for Peace, and a National Culture of Peace Program. They would have developed a peace website getting at least 40,000 visitors per month (that is what our web site gets, and the Government of Canada should be able to do better with all their resources). They would be sponsoring peace conferencing across Canada and around the world. They would be creating “Open Spaces to Open Minds to Peace”. They would not be misinforming Canadians with pacifying terms like “Missile Defence System” – it’s future is an Offensive Nuclear Missile System for pre-emptive strikes when it is in the U.S. national interest to launch – “let’s call a spade a spade”. Our government should be having those difficult conversations with the U.S. Administration to build a better relationship, and honour our differences. They would recognize that our most important ally in the defence of Canadian security is a stronger, more effective United Nations and be supporting that. They would be helping the United Nations to create a standing, rapid deployment Peacekeeping Force, and a visionary Peacebuilding Force. They would be prepared to support American “draft dodgers”, and being that “sanctuary from militarism” that Pierre Trudeau felt Canada should be (as versus simple-mindedly calling draft dodgers “cowards” as you read recently in the Calgary Herald).

    Simply, Canada (and the world for that matter) should not spend more on preparing for war than on preparing for peace.

  • Foreign Military Financing Account Summary


    (I wonder if it would unduly trouble these military funding types to learn that Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt are all in Africa. Mind you, even CNN talking heads persist in moving both Libya and Egypt off the continent.)

    “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in a final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed—those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending its money alone—it is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.”
    —Dwight Eisenhower, Speech (1953)

  • now if we can just find a place to cut another $2,920,000 from the budget, we can afford to give Israel their $3,000,000 official handout next year. Of course some folks estimate that Israel gets another 2 Billion in unofficial gifts, but maybe we can starve some children or let a few bridges collapse to fund that.

  • AP Interview: Ban warns Palestinians over agencies
    AP foreign, Thursday November 3 2011

    Associated Press= CANNES, France (AP) — Palestinian efforts to join U.N. agencies beyond its cultural arm are “not beneficial for anybody” and could lead to cuts in funding sure to affect millions of people, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon warned Thursday.

    In an Associated Press interview, the U.N. chief reiterated the world body’s support for a viable, independent Palestinian state — but lamented the Palestinian Authority’s efforts to join U.N. affiliates before the U.N. itself.

    Ban also expressed hope for greater participation of women and youths in Libya’s future government, and praised a new Arab League deal with Syria aiming to end President Bashar Assad’s bloody crackdown on protesters.

    Potential funding woes for U.N. agencies were high in Ban’s mind.

    The Palestinians have asked the Security Council to grant them full membership in the United Nations — but the United States, a stalwart Israeli ally, has vowed to veto the request. The Security Council committee on admissions will discuss a report on the Palestinian bid on November 11, but no vote is scheduled.

    Since their application in September, the Palestinians have sought to join other U.N. agencies in which the U.S. doesn’t have veto power on membership issues.

    U.S. law bars contributions to organizations that grant membership to territories that aren’t internationally recognized states. The United States and Canada are now cutting off funds for UNESCO, stripping it of about one-quarter of its total funding.

    The Palestinian Authority plans to apply for membership in 16 other U.N. specialized agencies — even though Ban has repeatedly pressed Palestinians to wait for the U.N. Security Council decision.

    “I believe this is not beneficial for Palestine and not beneficial for anybody,” he said, noting that U.N. agencies need both financial and political support.

    “This will have implications for all the agencies of the United Nations,” Ban said. The UNESCO admission means Palestinians could automatically gain membership in the U.N. Industrial Development Organization, which aims to lower poverty and help the environment, and the World Intellectual Property Organization, he said.

    Ban said he was also concerned about the possible impact of lower funding for the U.N. trade organization, UNCTAD, if Palestinians gain membership there too.

    “When an organization is not properly functioning because of a lack of resources, you have to think about the millions and millions of people who are being impacted and affected,” he said.

    Ban said he was “asking and urging member states” to make up for the shortfall in funding for UNESCO and other agencies.

    One top Palestinian leader shot back at Ban, suggesting the U.N chief should lean on U.S. lawmakers.

    “I think it would be easier for Mr. Ban Ki-Moon to ask the Congress to change their laws,” Saeb Erekat said. “I don’t think Palestine’s admittance to any of these agencies will bring harm.”


  • nyt

    In another development, the Palestinian Authority said Thursday that Israel had carried out a threat to suspend the transfer of tax payments, totaling about $100 million, to the Palestinians to protest the Palestinians’ admission to Unesco, The A.P. reported.

    Israel collects customs and some income taxes on behalf of the Palestinians and transfers them monthly to the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. Palestinian officials said Israel had not made this month’s transfer, The A.P. reported. The money is usually sent during the first three days of the month.

  • “The Palestinian Holocaust”

    Sexual inequality is “The Mother of all Inequalities”.
    Liberate female sexuality and you will eliminate racism, homophobia, financial greed, and violence.

  • Posted: 11 December 2011 1044 hrs

    PARIS: The Palestinian flag will be hoisted Tuesday at UNESCO headquarters, over a month after its admission to the UN cultural agency sparked anger and reprisals from the United States and Israel.

    President Mahmud Abbas will travel to Paris to attend the event, which led Washington to pull funding to the UN organisation, and which is seen by many as a step on the Palestinians’ road to eventual UN membership.

    “President Abbas wants to show the importance he attaches to UNESCO,” said a Palestinian diplomat. “And this is the first time that the flag will be flown at the headquarters of a UN institution.”

    The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation says the flag-hoisting is a symbolic ceremony “to mark Palestine’s admission to the organisation” that takes place each time a new member joins.

    The Palestinians were admitted to the body in late October, when the UNESCO general assembly voted 107-14 to make Palestine its 195th member.

    The result angered the United States, Israel’s staunch ally, which says the Palestinians must first reach a peace agreement with Israel before they can become full members of an international organization.

    Washington immediately suspended its funding to the UN body, which selects and oversees World Heritage sites and also works in areas from literacy and media freedom to science and environmental issues.

    US President Barack Obama said he had frank and firm words with his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy, voicing US disappointment because Paris had supported the Palestinian UNESCO bid.

    The US cash freeze deprived UNESCO of 22 percent of its budget, leaving a hole of $65 million this year and a $143 million shortfall for 2012-2013.

    This forced its director general, Irina Bokova, to announce drastic savings, even though some countries pledged exceptional contributions, among them Indonesia with $10 million and Gabon with $2 million.

    Israel, for its part, took its own retaliatory measures, by deciding to accelerate settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank and freezing the transfer of funds to the Palestinian Authority.

    Every month, Israel transfers tens of millions of dollars in customs duties on Palestinian-bound goods that transit through Israeli ports, but it often freezes them as a punitive measure during disagreements.

    Faced with international criticism, Israel later lifted its freeze on the funds which represent a large chunk of the Palestinian Authority’s budget.

    UNESCO membership has had no impact on the Palestinians’ bid for full UN membership. They would need nine votes out of 15 in the Security Council, but the United States has made clear that it would veto the bid.

    Abbas, who reiterated on December 5 that he would push on with his campaign for UN membership, will meet Sarkozy after the UNESCO ceremony, then go on a tour that takes him to the capitals of Britain and Turkey.


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