UNESCO has suspended the United States and Israel´s voting rights, due to their refusal to pay their dues. The United States`share amounts to 22 % of UNESCO´s annual budget. Israel and the USA began refusing to pay as a response to a vote in 2011, that granted the Palestinian Authority full UNESCO membership.
nsnbc , – The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), has decided to suspend the voting rights of the United States and Israel after the two nations refused to provide a justification for their failure to pay their annual dues for two years, reports the International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC). Political analyst Christof Lehmann called the refusal to pay the contribution economic blackmail.
The two countries have withheld their dues since a vote at the UNESCO, two years ago, in which the Palestinian Authority was granted full membership in the organization. The decision to grant the Palestinian Authority full membership was adopted with a large majority and despite intensive lobbying and political pressure from the sides of Israel and the USA.
The suspension of the two UNESCO member´s voting rights is consistent with the organization’s policy, according to which members who have fallen behind with their payments for an extended period while refusing to set up a payment program have their voting rights suspended.
The decision to stop paying the annual dues is by many considered as bullying and blackmail from the sides of Israel and especially from the sides of the US administration of President Barak Obama. Before the United States refused to pay their dues in 2011, the USA supplied 22 % of UNESCO´s annual budget.
The loss of US funding is leading to large-scale job cuts at the UN agency, with up to 300 of the 1200 UNESCO staff members loosing their job as a consequence of the two nations’ refusal to pay, reports IMEMC. The United States decision to cut all funding for UNESCO is consistent with a bill, adopted by the US Congress, that prohibits funding for any organization, that recognizes the Palestinian State.
The suspension of the United States and Israel´s voting rights at the UNESCO comes against the backdrop of the ongoing, US-sponsored, direct talks between the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government.
Political analyst, and Middle East affairs expert Christof Lehmann, said to nsnbc International, that the suspension of the two nation’s voting rights comes at an appropriate time and a reminder of the fact that the United States cannot, under any circumstance, be perceived as an honest broker. Lehmann said:
“The Israeli and Zionist lobby has an all pervasive influence over the decisions of the US Senate and Congress. The fact that Congress adopted a law that prohibits the funding of any organization that recognizes the Palestinian state, even if it is a UN organization, shows with all clarity that the United States Middle East policy is a Zionist Middle East policy. Attempts to position the USA “as if” it called on Israel to negotiate in good faith are for public consumption and PR purposes only.
The decision to stop paying the UNESCO dues is a clear-cut case of US bullying and blackmail, which should not only result in the suspension of the United States voting right at the UNESCO, but in the suspension of all privileges the USA has as a permanent member of the Security Council.”
UNESCO Director General, Irina Bokova, has attempted to remedy the $240 million dollar loss but has, reportedly, not managed to raise more than $75 of the much needed $240 million.
There is a growing dissatisfaction with the United Nations system as a whole, with governmental and non-governmental organizations as well as experts criticizing the UN for deep systemic flaws, lack of democracy and bias in all of its agencies. Most prominently within the recent days, is a call for immediate and comprehensive reform of the Security Council by the Non-Aligned Movement.