More UNESCO fallout


We reported last week on the Obama administration’s bid to re-seek funding for UNESCO, despite the body’s full acceptance of "Palestine" as a member.

There were immediate repercussions in the form of an angry statement by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), the chairwoman of the House’s Foreign Affairs Committe, and now Adam Kredo the Washington Free Beacon has the scoop on her joint letter with Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) to Hillary Rodham Clinton, the secretary of state, expressing "unequivocal opposition" to such a bid.

It should be noted that Sherman is locked in a "more pro-Israel than thou" reelection bid against Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), now that they’re running in the same redrawn district.

Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.) also opposes the bid, but in the form of a more generous "I see your point, but still" kind of way. Below the jump is his statement.


I like UNESCO, I support UNESCO, and I fought to get the United States back into UNESCO. But I also believe that actions have consequences. We told the Palestinians that we were unalterably opposed to their effort to acquire the trappings of statehood at the UN instead of negotiating with Israel to achieve an actual state. We told the other members of UNESCO that U.S. law would compel us to withhold our funding if they voted to make Palestine a member of UNESCO without actually being a state.

Now both we and they have to live with the consequences, which, I will be the first to say, have set back our interests in UNESCO’s work, which supports American policy goals. Maybe all the nations that chose to follow the Palestinians over the cliff will come up with the money to replace our contribution. I tend to doubt it, but I would love to be surprised.

The real problem is that the Palestinians ignored our warnings and chose to short-circuit the negotiating process with Israel, and that so many nations, by their votes, encouraged them to do so. Until the Palestinians become a state by virtue of an agreement with Israel, or until they recognize the harm their membership has done to UNESCO, and the very laudable work it does, I will continue to insist that not one penny of our tax-payers’ money go to UNESCO. Actions have consequences.

I understand why the Administration is seeking the waiver. UNESCO does a lot of good, and in particular, a lot of good for us and the values we promote around the world. But I will not support a UNESCO waiver.

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