International Tantrums: From UN to UNESCO, When Governments Don’t Get Their Way……..


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“UNESCO has suspended the voting rights of the United States and Israel, two years after both countries stopped paying dues to the U.N.’s cultural arm in protest over its granting full membership to the Palestinians. The U.S. decision to cancel its funding in October 2011 was blamed on U.S. laws that prohibit funding to any U.N. agency that implies recognition of the Palestinians’ demands for their own state. Israel also pulled its funding, objecting to what it called unilateral attempts by the Palestinians to gain recognition of statehood…………….”

Ref. my Saturday posting on Saudi Arabia.
I pointed to my Saudi source that her government is not unique in that respect, in getting upset and walking out screaming when it doesn’t get its way. I suggested the Al Saud may have learned this from Western governments in recent years. I reminded her of past threats to stop funding the UN and the decision to stop funding UNESCO if it upsets Israel and hence AIPAC, which it apparently did when it granted the Palestinians member status. I especially reminded her of the UNESCO episode and how the Obama administration now regrets losing its vote and influence in that organization after withdrawing funding (which they now realize means Israel losing its influence as Susan Rice hinted).

I also reminded her of Western media and thinkers and pundits complaining that sometime the international organizations seem to take into account the rest of the world, all 5-6 billion of it, more than the Western governments that represent about 600 million. I reminded her of the famous French pop-philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy who said earlier this year that a “bunch of gangsters control the UN Security Council”, that was when China and Russia and others refused to vote for military action in Syria. She agreed with me that it is likely the princes have learned a lesson from that on how to have an international tantrum when they don’t get their way.

I forgot to tell her that the Obama administration withdrew its funding of UNESCO in 2011, only about one year before the 2012 general elections (elections in the USA not in Israel). At that time, it seemed like a good idea, electorally if not from a principled point of view.