The Obama administration said it would end funding for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (see UNESCO Palestine decision sets off U.S.-U.N. confrontation, Los Angeles Times, October 31, 2011).
Admittedly I have not been keeping up with politics very much these days but this item saddened me. So I am sending the following to my U.S. Representative and Senators:
I do not often write politicians and this message was not sent as a response to some organizational email blast. However, I was troubled to learn in the news that the United States will be withdrawing financial support for UNESCO as a result of the admission of Palestine to the organization. I understand that this withdrawal of financial support was triggered by U.S. law forbidding such payments to organizations that recognize Palestine as a state. First and foremost, I find any such law to be anti-democratic and archaic. If most of the world would like to recognize Palestine and include the Palestine people in the workings of an international organization whose mission is to "contribute to peace and security by promoting collaboration among the nations through education, science and culture," then it is wrong for the United States to pull support for this mission. This is even more misguided when you consider that UNESCO helps promote American values under an international umbrella in places where an American one might be resented or unwelcome. It is morally indefensible to undermine the good work of UNESCO all over the world and to use our funding of it as political leverage in the regional affairs of the middle east. Second, I believe that the United States should be supporting the rights of the disenfranchised people of Palestine and their right to participate in organizations such as UNESCO.Please work to repeal the laws that prevent the United States from fulfilling our moral and financial obligations to UNESCO and then support Palestine's entry into UNESCO.