Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.
In response to a recent post concerning UNESCO activities in Geneva concerning Syria and Libya, a Kahntensions friend related another dimension of recent UNESCO activities. A colleague had stated that a direct consequence of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was that “$40-60 million were not available to help children.”
Clearly the individual did not recall that after UNESCO admitted the Palestinian Authority, the U.S. Government stopped providing its share of funding to UNESCO. The $80 million that the U.S. gave UNESCO was automatically cut off as per legislation signed into law in 1990 by President Bush and again in 1994 by President Clinton which prohibited the United States from funding any agency that recognized a Palestinian state.
The fact that UNESCO admitted Palestine did reduce the UNESCO budget by approximately 18%, but the UN agency could have cut programs that did not affect children to compensate for the loss of U.S. funding. Implicit in its action, was that Israel was to blame wherefore in fact it was the Palestinians –last fall—who backed away from continuing negotiations with Israel. What is most troubling is that perhaps the blame for the cuts should be placed on the Palestinians for pushing for UNESCO membership—no doubt with the encouragement of many of the 107 nations who supported it—knowing that the direct consequences of their gaining membership would be a dramatic reduction in UNESCO’s ability to carry out its mission.
At the end of the day, it was just another way to blame Israel and the Jews.