US Loses Voting Rights at UNESCO—and Why Do We Care?

American influence in culture, science and education around the world took a high-profile blow Friday after the US automatically lost voting rights at UNESCO, after missing a crucial deadline to repay its debt to the world’s cultural agency.

The US hasn’t paid its dues to the Paris-based UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in protest over the decision by world governments to make Palestine a UNESCO member in 2011.  Israel suspended its dues at the same time.

Our contributions to that mendacious gang had amounted to more than 20% of its budget—some $80 million per year.  Now there’s much bleating and bodice ripping by the American Left.  For instance, Phyllis Magrab, US National Commissioner for UNESCO (and so with no axe to grind…), worried

We won’t be able to have the same clout.  In effect, we [won’t] have a full tool box.  We’re missing our hammer.

And Congressman Keith Ellison (D, MN) worried (a concern President Barack Obama might take to heart more broadly than just vis-à-vis UNESCO):

The United States must not voluntarily forfeit its leadership in the world community.

But.  We’ve not had much of a voice, for some years, in an organization that admitted, over our objections, non-existing countries (to borrow Israeli Ambassador to UNESCO, Nimrod Barkan’s phrase) like Palestine to full voting membership—or to any degree of membership at all.

And what’s the value of a hammer if we never use it?  The “tool” just takes up space and weighs us down.

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