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WILL U.S. CUT UN FUNDING AMID ONGOING ANTI-ISRAEL BIAS & UNRWA “FARCE”?
Volume X1, No. 3,981 • February 9, 2017 • February 9, 2017
US Funding of UN Disproportionate: Clifford D. May, Israel Hayom, Feb. 2, 2017 — This may come as a shock…
Trump and the UNRWA Farce: Sol Stern, Israel Behind the News, Feb. 8, 2017— After President Obama greased the wheels for the UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s settlements policy, then President-elect Trump tweeted that “things will be different after January 20th.”
When Will the UN Make the Palestinians Uphold Their Commitments?: Thane Rosenbaum, Algemeiner, Feb. 2, 2017— Welcome to Israel’s world of ethereal expectations — the standard of moral perfection to which it is routinely held, and the dizzying array of double standards to which it is casually subjected.
How the UN is Trying to Sneak its unCanadian ‘Values’ into Canadian Schools: Geoffrey Clarfield, National Post, Jan. 5, 2017 — Millennials are enamoured by the United Nations. Consider the young undergrad, Antonio Soriano who is the UNESCO Delegate for the Harvard National Model United Nations of 2017.
Is UNRWA Anti-Semitic? (Video): Dr. Asaf Romirowsky, CIJR, Dec. 14, 2016
Report: UNRWA Teachers Incite Terrorism & Antisemitism: UN Watch, Feb. 2, 2017
Report: UNRWA Employees Praise Hitler, Promote Anti-Semitism on Social Media: The Tower, Feb. 7, 2017
Has the Time Come for Amexit From the UN?: Kenneth L Marcus, Algemeiner, Jan. 23, 2017
Clifford D. May
Israel Hayom, Feb. 2, 2017
This may come as a shock: It's possible a committee of officials from the Defense, State and Justice departments, as well as the National Security Council, will conduct a review of the disproportionate funding the United States provides to the United Nations and come to the conclusion that American taxpayers should spend less on an organization that is inefficient, corrupt and inimical to American interests.
Nikki Haley, the newly confirmed U.S. ambassador to the U.N., hinted at this radical departure from tradition when she said on Jan. 18 that while she would oppose "slash and burn cuts" to the U.N., she did want to ensure that the U.S. "gets what it pays for." One week later, The New York Times reported that it had "obtained" (in other words, someone in the government had leaked) copies of a "draft" executive order (in other words, an unapproved working document) that would "clear the way to drastically reduce the United States' role in the United Nations and other international organizations."
A serious question: Is the Times correct to assert that paying less would mean playing a reduced role? The U.S. gets one vote on the Security Council, just as Russia and China do. The U.S. gets one vote in the General Assembly, just as Iran and Venezuela do. How much money it forks over won't change that. The Times warned that such cuts "could severely curtail the work of United Nations agencies, which rely on billions of dollars in annual United States contributions for missions that include caring for refugees."
A second serious question: Are there no other nations that could pick up the slack when it comes to funding efforts to care for refugees? No European nations, no members of the Arab League or the Organization of Islamic Cooperation? The British Guardian jumped into the controversy, reporting that "U.S. allies have reacted with a mix of alarm and skepticism." An unnamed "senior European diplomat" said: "It would potentially be brutal." No one should be so cynical as to think that unnamed senior European diplomats would throw such terms around lightly. Should the president sign the draft order, funding could be terminated to any international agency that contributes to systematic violations of human rights, is controlled by a state that sponsors terrorism, supports activities that circumvent U.S. sanctions against Iran or North Korea, gives full membership to the Palestinian Authority, or funds abortions.
Third serious question: Based on the results of the last election, why should such organizations and activities continue to be funded by Washington? The U.N. was founded, in the immediate aftermath of World War II, by statesmen with the best of intentions. Its charter sought to "reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small."
A fourth serious question: Can anyone seriously argue that the U.N. is achieving these goals? Among the recently elected members of the U.N. Human Rights Council are China, Cuba, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. The U.N. has never taken any serious action against genocide, as occurred in Cambodia, Rwanda, the Balkans, Sudan and Syria, nor against states that support terrorism, including Iran. Demonizing and delegitimizing Israel appears to be its main occupation.
Since the 1990s, there have been serious allegations of U.N. peacekeepers sexually abusing women and girls in the Central African Republic, Bosnia, Liberia, Cambodia, and other countries. Studies have identified U.N. peacekeepers as the source of the cholera outbreak that killed more than 8,000 people in Haiti a few years ago. Reports of mismanagement, corruption and fraud throughout the organization have been numerous. Calls for reform and transparency have been unavailing. Does this really sound like a good investment for ordinary taxpayers?
Which raises a fifth serious question: How much are we paying? According to estimates by Heritage Foundation scholar Brett D. Schaefer, the U.S. shells out "approximately $8 billion a year in mandatory payments and voluntary contributions to the United Nations and its affiliated organizations." That's more than is contributed to the U.N. by 183 of the U.N.'s 193 members combined. There's also this: Under U.N. rules, the 129 member states that contribute less than 1.3% can pass budgets over the objections of the U.S. and other nations that contribute much more. Schaefer writes: "This explains why so many member states are blase about increases in the U.N. budget. The financial impact on them is miniscule and undermines incentives for them to fulfill their oversight role."
It is telling that not one of the articles I've read in the major media lamenting the possibility of cuts by the U.S. to the U.N. bothers to mention how much the U.N. spends or how much the U.S. pays. A piece in the Times does note that the U.S. provides the lion's share of the funding for U.N. peacekeeping operations, adding: "At least one of these, the operation in southern Lebanon, directly serves Israeli interests by protecting the country's northern border, though the draft order characterizes the funding cuts as serving Israeli interests."…[To Read the full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Israel Behind the News, Feb. 8, 2017
After President Obama greased the wheels for the UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s settlements policy, then President-elect Trump tweeted that “things will be different after January 20th.” I didn’t vote for Trump, but for the sake of restoring some sanity to America’s Middle East policies, I fervently hope he fulfils that promise.
To make a real difference, our next president needs to understand how the United Nations’ hostility to the Jewish state is rooted in perverse institutions that have been abetted by previous US administrations. The most glaring example of this is the inaptly named United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). With its US$1.3 billion budget (30% of which comes from US taxpayers), this agency actually perpetuates the refugee problem it was created to solve, while promoting Palestinian rejectionism and Jew hatred. Trump will soon have the means to drain the UNRWA swamp. If he does so, he would increase the chances of peace between Palestinians and Israelis.
The United Nations created UNRWA with the noblest of intentions. By the time an armistice agreement ended the first Arab-Israeli war in 1949, roughly 700,000 Palestinians had fled (or were driven) from the territories governed by the new State of Israel. The prevailing view at the time was that refugee problems produced by war were best solved through resettlement in the countries to which the refugees had fled. In the aftermath of World War II, 7 million ethnic Germans in Central and Eastern Europe were the victims of brutal ethnic cleansing campaigns approved by the victorious allied powers. On the Indian subcontinent another 3 million people were uprooted in the violent creation of India and Pakistan. These destitute refugees had to make do in their new host countries with virtually no outside aid. Yet, within a decade, there was no longer a refugee problem in Europe or Asia.
Unfortunately, the surrounding Arab countries that launched a war of conquest against the Jewish state – Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq – refused to accept any responsibility for the welfare of their Palestinian brothers who were the big losers in the conflict. That’s when the UN – led by the United States – generously stepped in. The 1949 General Assembly resolution establishing UNRWA called for “the alleviation of the conditions of starvation and distress among the Palestine refugees.” Yet the resolution also stated that “constructive measures should be undertaken at an early date with a view to the termination of international assistance for relief.” In other words, the new refugee agency’s mission was to be temporary.
Flash forward 66 years. The original 700,000 Palestinians leaving Israel have now been magically transformed into a mini-state of 5.6 million “refugees” registered with UNRWA. The “temporary” UN agency has been transformed into a bloated international bureaucracy with a staff of 30,000, almost all of whom are Palestinian refugees themselves. Less than 5% of UNRWA’s clients ever lived in Israel, but the agency’s regulations state that all patrilineal descendants of the original displaced persons shall retain their refugee rights in perpetuity. Nor does UNRWA seem to be troubled by the fact that 40% of its camp residents are citizens of Jordan and Lebanon, and shouldn’t even be considered refugees under accepted international law.
The unchecked growth of UNRWA is a classic case in international politics of the economic principle of “moral hazard”. By providing a social welfare safety net, the UN enables the Palestinian leadership to undermine efforts to solve the underlying conditions that created the refugee problem in the first place. Palestinian rejectionism is thus rendered risk-free. In turn, UNRWA nurtures Palestinian extremism, yet never is held accountable by the agency’s donor nations.
The original sin was the world body’s unprecedented decision to create a single agency dedicated to dealing exclusively with one national group of refugees. Only the Palestinians who left Israel, a mere trickle of the post-World War II refugee flood, were designated as specially approved victims deserving of aid and support by the international community. To paraphrase Marx, this misguided policy created an historic tragedy, with elements of farce. It’s not only the billions of dollars and millions of lives that have been wasted over the past half century in the squalid refugee camps. It’s also that the easily solvable problem of the 1948 refugees was allowed to fester and then become the single greatest obstacle (no, President Obama, it’s not Jewish settlements on the West Bank) to a peaceful solution of the Israel-Palestine conflict.
In the 59 UNRWA refugee camps on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, a daily drama of redemption and return is played out. The Palestinian Nakba narrative (i.e. the 1948 “catastrophe”) and the myth of eventual “return” are nourished under the approving eyes of UNRWA teachers and social workers. Generations of Palestinian children have learned in UNRWA schools that their totally innocent forbearers were driven out of their homes by the conquering Zionists. Yet they are also told never to lose hope, because the day is not far off when they will be returning in victory to their ancestral homes in Jaffa, Haifa, Acre, and the other places throughout the Jewish state where their people lived in peace and harmony.
An extraordinary documentary produced by Israeli journalist David Bedein graphically illustrates how this destructive culture of the Nakba is actively promoted in the UNRWA camps. In the video, children at an UNRWA summer camp can be seen chanting that they will soon be returning to the villages from which their ancestors were driven by the Jews. They sing martyrdom songs and praise suicide bombers. An UNRWA teacher promises a classroom of children as young as ten: “We will return to our villages with power and honour. With God’s help and our own strength we will wage war. And with education and Jihad we will return.” Speaking to the camera, a teenage Palestinian girl announces: “I dream that we will return to our land and with God’s help Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] will achieve that goal and we will not be disappointed.”…
[To Read the full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Algemeiner, Feb. 2, 2017
Welcome to Israel’s world of ethereal expectations — the standard of moral perfection to which it is routinely held, and the dizzying array of double standards to which it is casually subjected. This is all the more tragically absurd when compared with the zero standards by which the world judges the Palestinians. When it comes to holding Palestinians accountable for their misdeeds or noncompliance, the international community merely shrugs and offers them the proverbial “Palestinian pass.”
Take, for instance, the miserably misguided UN Security Council Resolution 2334. Setting aside its many contradictions from UN Security Council 242, which for decades stood as the basis upon which the exchange of land for peace would end the Middle East conflict, this new resolution directly indicts Israeli settlements as a “major obstacle” to the two-state solution. The resolution claims that these settlements have “no legal validity,” but it also has something to say about terrorism and violence.
Resolution 2334 calls for “immediate steps to prevent all acts of violence against civilians, including acts of terror, as well as all acts of provocation.” Unfortunately, it castigates no particular party, as if terrorism is an Israeli preoccupation — as if Israeli children are being taught that Palestinian children are pigs and monkeys, instead of the other way around. The resolution specifically condemns Israel for its settlements; Palestinians, however, are blamed for nothing in particular. If one didn’t know better, or simply wished to remain in an alternate reality, he might believe that terrorism is Israel’s fault, too. No one should be surprised by this omission of responsibility. When it comes to the Palestinians, the international community always looks the other way. Even Resolution 242 instilled a legacy of focusing on Israeli withdrawal from territories, and treading more gently on what is expected of Arabs in return. Specifically, under Resolution 242, Israel must withdraw from territories, but there must also be a “termination of all claims or states of belligerency,” mutual recognition, and “the right to live in peace within secure boundaries.”
Whenever someone self-righteously points to UN resolutions and expresses moral outrage that Israel still “occupies” the West Bank, he is, unwittingly at best, and maliciously at worst, applying obligations against Israel unilaterally — while ignoring the mutually reinforcing obligations that these UN resolutions imposed on the Arab world. Where is the Palestinian “termination of all claims”? Surely the “right of return,” or the shrill, genocidal chanting of “from the river to the sea,” is not suggestive of a people who understand that Israel is under no duty to surrender any land unless Palestinians are faithful to the terms that apply to them.
Similarly, where is the mutual recognition of Israel in the PLO and Hamas charters? A determination to kill all Jews is not the kind of good faith that these resolutions contemplated. And, finally, when Israeli civilians are tormented by terrorism, and rockets from Gaza, how exactly is Israel’s “right to live in peace within secure boundaries” being honored? It’s not. And yet the world still calls for Israeli withdrawal. The hard gaze is always on the land; meanwhile, the joint exchange for peace, which is no less of an essential requirement, is treated as an illusory promise that no Palestinian is ever obligated to fulfill.
The day after passage of Resolution 2334, the Palestinian Authority celebrated the news with a cartoon on its Facebook page showing a bloody knife thrust into a map of Israel. Clearly, ending violence and incitement is not part of the Palestinian agenda. Indeed, through Palestinian eyes, Resolution 2334 was interpreted not as imposing an affirmative obligation on the Palestinians, but rather granting them an additional license to kill — as if they required any further motivation.
[To Read the full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
National Post, Jan. 5, 2017
Millennials are enamoured by the United Nations. Consider the young undergrad, Antonio Soriano who is the UNESCO Delegate for the Harvard National Model United Nations of 2017. He writes: “Dear Delegates, Welcome to Harvard National Model United Nations 2017! My name is Antonio Soriano, and it is my honour to serve as the Director of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)…UNESCO aims to establish peace that is built not only on political and economic agreements but also on humanity’s morality and the concept of intellectual solidarity…Don’t hesitate to email me with any question.”
So here is my question for Soriano, “How well does UNESCO do its job?” The answer is not very well. Despite its penchant for making bizarre announcements about Zionism, or things like its now defunct, “new world information order,” the core business of UNESCO is actually the conservation of natural and cultural sites around the world. Most UNESCO heritage sites do not have management plans, budgets and priorities. The rush to bestow a site in a developing country with the UNESCO cachet very often creates unsustainable mass tourism. The ancient temple complex of Angkor Wat is a case in point. This formerly isolated archaeological gem in the jungles of Cambodia is now surrounded by 300 hotels. The sheer volume of visitors is destroying the site itself. But this is not the concern of UN bureaucrats. It does not matter to them if their programs fail or succeed.
Consider the sad case of the majestic pre-Columbian ruins of Monte Alban in Mexico’s southwestern state of Oaxaca. The civil unrest of 2006 triggered looting and site destruction. Although the site has been on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1987, somehow it has not made it to UNESCO’s “endangered list.” One must ask why? Indifference, incompetence or what? Then there is the case of Toshiro Nakamura, a wealthy Japanese businessman who lobbied to have an old Japanese mine site turned into a UNESCO heritage site. Before the site was registered it attracted 15,000 visitors a year. The year after it was registered, this remote area of Japan was overwhelmed by one million tourists. Despite all this, every year the governments of Canada and the U.S. still continue to give millions of our taxpayers’ dollars to UNESCO.
The most recent and high-profile failure of UNESCO has been in Syria and Iraq. It is the express goal of the Islamic State to destroy as much of the pre-Islamic architectural past as possible. ISIL’s most spectacular act of archaeological vandalism was when it destroyed the classical remains of Palmyra (a UNESCO World Heritage site) in Syria in October 2015. Its archaeological director, Khaled al Asaad, was recently beheaded by ISIL for refusing to show him where he had hidden pre-Islamic antiquities. Another high-profile UNESCO failure involves Jerusalem: Following lobbying by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, UNESCO now claims that there are no ancient Jewish monuments in Jerusalem.
Having failed to successfully and “sustainably” to protect the world’s wild places and architectural heritage, UNESCO has now entered a new field called “intangible cultural heritage.” This includes music and the field of ethnomusicology. If UNESCO takes over this field, we can be sure that in the spirit of political correctness not all music will be treated equally. Will King David’s Psalms, written in Jerusalem and still sung in the synagogues of Jerusalem and at the Western Wall (of the ancient Jewish Temple in Jerusalem) be labelled colonial, imperialist, historical and musicological fictions?
UNESCO has plans for Canada and other Western countries. It would like to put itself in charge of the education of our children, if we let it. This is not a “Model UN.” It is the UN muscling in on our schools and curriculum. If you go to the Canadian UNESCO website you will find ASPNET, its “associated schools project network.” These schools in various provinces in Canada are supposed to endorse UNESCO’s “values” and apparently adjust their curricula accordingly. On its website we read: “Build support and commitment to the values, work and principles of UNESCO from the school administration, the school district administration, the staff, the student body and parents…This includes designating a key contact for UNESCO activities at the school level, and where possible, at the student level.”
More than 80 schools across Canada have joined this network. They would like hundreds if not thousands more to join them. I am hoping that if any of the supporters of ASPNET read this article, they will do their homework and write to Soriano. However, they should, first of all, pull their schools out of the ASPNET network and share with Soriano the realities of UNESCO; it is just another useless and grossly inefficient UN organization. Canada’s $10-million-a-year UNESCO subsidy could be better spent within our own borders educating Canadian students about what really goes on at UNESCO, among other things. The UN is no model; nor should we encourage model UNs.
Is UNRWA Anti-Semitic? (Video): Dr. Asaf Romirowsky, CIJR, Dec. 14, 2016—Dr. Asaf Romirowsky is the Executive Director of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East
Report: UNRWA Teachers Incite Terrorism & Antisemitism: UN Watch, Feb. 2, 2017—Before a joint subcommittee hearing today of the U.S. Congress concerning the U.N., Israel, and the Palestinians, the director of the independent monitoring group UN Watch will testify and present a new report showing 40 alarming new cases of UNRWA school teachers in Gaza, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria whose Facebook pages incite to Jihadist terrorism and antisemitism, including by posting Holocaust-denying videos and pictures celebrating Hitler.
Report: UNRWA Employees Praise Hitler, Promote Anti-Semitism on Social Media: The Tower, Feb. 7, 2017—The United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA), which provides aid to Palestinian refugees, has frequently been criticized for employing teachers and utilizing textbooks that promote anti-Semitism, as well as the fact that the terror organization Hamas has sometimes used its schools to hide its weapons.
Has the Time Come for Amexit From the UN?: Kenneth L Marcus, Algemeiner, Jan. 23, 2017—As British Prime Minister Theresa May plans a Brexit from the EU, Americans may soon ask what kind of exit we want from another international institution.
Prof. Frederick Krantz, Director (Canadian Institute for Jewish Research)
Prof. Harold Waller (McGill University)
Prof. Ira Robinson, Associate Chairman (Department of Religion, Concordia University)
Baruch Cohen, Research Chairman (Canadian Institute for Jewish Research)
Rob Coles (Canadian Institute for Jewish Research)