Politics Trumps Strategy When It Comes to the U.N.
P.A. moves will also prompt withholding of crucial aid
Earlier this week, the Obama Administration was unusually boastful of halting funding to UNESCO—which was an unequivocal requirement of U.S. law—following the cultural group’s acceptance of the Palestinian Authority. In fact, it has little to be proud of. The United States may end up defunding many other U.N. groups that the P.A. seeks to join next, including even more important ones like the World Health Organization and the International Atomic Energy Agency. There will also likely be legislation to back the United States out of UNESCO altogether as well as to revoke the more than $550 million in annual U.S. aid to the P.A. All told, the P.A. gambit could turn out to be the catalyst for accomplishing the very thing that many conservatives have long sought for a host of reasons: severe U.S. retrenchment from the United Nations. (Israel announced it is withholding P.A. funds and amping up construction in disputed areas, starting with 2,000 new units in East Jerusalem, in response to the UNESCO move.)
Foreign Policy’s Josh Rogin has the must-read report. What is remarkable is that even the people spearheading these moves believe they are not in U.S. interests. Sen. Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and a notable voice on foreign affairs, said, “What you are going to do is eventually lose congressional support for our participation in the United Nations. That’s what’s at risk here. That would be a great loss.” And yet he is the one who will introduce the bill to have the United States remove itself from UNESCO! No longer giving aid to the P.A.? “I don’t think that’s in our near-term or long-term interest,” according to Graham. Yet politics dictate that he support it: “if the Palestinians continue to go to more organizations, such as the World Health Organization, well—it’s just going to be politically impossible for a guy like me to support a body who’s playing a destructive game with the peace process.” (In September, Anthony Cordesman Congress Cuts P.A. Aid; ‘Political Opportunism.’)
Plus Arab League/Syria communication breakdown, and more in the news
Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180
WAIT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO COMMENT?
Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.
I NEED TO BE HEARD! BUT I DONT WANT TO PAY.
Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.
We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.