Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Consequences of Israel Addiction

And when America and Israel stand alone against the antagonism of every other nation on the planet, will that satisfy the Reichwing freakazoids' craving for suicidal exceptionalism?

Edward Teller at Firedoglake:

This was an historic day at the United Nations. The United Nations Educational Scientific Cultural Organization, one of the most important bodies on the planet, voted to give the Palestinian State full membership in the body. BBC:

This is the first UN agency the Palestinians have sought to join since submitting their bid for recognition to the Security Council in September.

The UN Security Council will vote next month on whether to grant the Palestinians full UN membership.

Widespread applause greeted the result of Monday’s vote in the chamber – of 173 countries taking part, 107 were in favour, 14 voted against and 52 abstained.

The New York Times:

The step will cost the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization one-quarter of its yearly budget — the 22 percent contributed by the United States (about $70 million) plus another 3 percent contributed by Israel.

Unless that shortfall is made up by other nations, Unesco will have to begin closing offices and laying off staff.

Cheers filled the hall at Unesco’s headquarters here after the vote, with one delegate shouting “Long live Palestine!” in French. The Palestinian foreign minister, Riad al-Malki, praised the organization, saying that “this vote will help erase a tiny part of the injustice done to the Palestinian people” and will help protect world heritage sites in Israeli-occupied territory.

In a long speech that was met with applause, Mr. Malki said that “this membership will be the best step toward peace and stability,” insisting that the Palestinian request for membership in Unesco was “linked in no way to our request to join the United Nations.”

The Obama administration, which values its membership in Unesco, tried unsuccessfully to keep the vote from taking place, while Irina Bokova, the American-supported director-general of the organization, traveled to Washington to meet with congressional leaders and ask them to alter the law.

Legislation dating from 1990 and 1994 mandates a complete cutoff of American financing to any United Nations agency that accepts the Palestinians as a full member. State Department lawyers judged that there was no leeway in the legislation, and no possibility of a waiver, so the United States contribution for 2011 and future years will not be paid.

Addressing Unesco’s general conference after the vote, the American ambassador to the organization, David T. Killion, said that the United States “remains deeply committed to Unesco,” which he called a “vital organization.” But he repeatedly called the vote on Monday “premature” and said the United States would seek other means to support the agency, though he did not offer specifics.

Victoria Nuland, a spokeswoman for the State Department, said an expected November payment of $60 million to the agency would not be made.

David Dayen:

The fallout from the entry of Palestine into UNESCO continues. In addition to the US, bound by statute, removing their funds for UNESCO, Canada canceled its voluntary funding. The organization’s budget is probably close to 1/4 smaller than it was just a few days ago. And that can’t help but impact UNESCO’s work around the world.
What’s more, Israel has responded, not by targeting the member states that voted for Palestine’s entry, but by thumbing their nose at Palestine:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for the accelerated construction of some 2,000 housing units in areas in the West Bank and around Jerusalem, an official statement said on Tuesday.

The statement came after Netanyahu called a special cabinet session to discuss the granting of full membership to the Palestinians by UNESCO, the U.N. cultural agency, a move opposed by Israel and the United States.

A senior government official said after the meeting that the cabinet had also decided to halt money transfers to the Palestinians Authority as a temporary measure until a final decision was made.

“You can’t demand from the Israeli public to continue to show restraint when the Palestinian leadership continues to slam the door in their face,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

I think he has that the other way around. The door is being slammed in the Palestinian’s face, and has been for over 60 years. Faced with no hope and continued statelessness, the Palestinian Authority embarked on the only leverage they had left. And the result has been more anger and provocation. These are vengeful actions that reflect a pattern of abuse. Juan Cole adds:

As for the fall-out for the United States, an informed reader wrote to remind me that if the Palestinians are welcomed into other UN bodies, the US could well lose substantial influence and have its interests adversely affected. He notes that the International Telecommunication Union allocates radio spectrum usage globally, “including the spectrum reserved for military and commercial use.” The World Health Organization is clearly important to the US for combating epidemics. The World Meteorological Organization is a matrix of information about weather that has agricultural and military implications. The World Intellectual Property Organization recognizes patents and copyrights worldwide.

These sorts of UN organizations, which are, whether Americans want to recognize it or not, important to the United States, could be forced to expel the US and cease sharing information with it if it does not pay its dues. Congress in the 1990s, under the influence of the Israel lobbies, passed a law forbidding the US government from giving money to bodies that recognize Palestine.

If Israel wants to go down the road of an apartheid state, and the attendant global outcry that is sure to follow, they’re doing a good job, and the US is cheering them as they follow that path.

Steve Benen:

For many on the right, I don’t think there’s much doubt that Israel is, in fact, America’s ally uber alles.

Consider a recent anecdote that flew largely under the radar. In September, Mitt Romney appeared on a right-wing radio show to discuss the Palestinian bid for United Nations statehood recognition. The Republican candidate said the United States should “reconsider our relationship” with any country that voted with Palestinians at the U.N.

In practical terms, that means Romney, who stands a reasonably good chance of getting elected president next year, would “reconsider” the United States’ relationship with a variety of longstanding U.S. allies — France, India, South Africa — because of their vote on a U.N. resolution recognizing Palestinians.

This did not cause a controversy — but Obama’s hug for the prime minister of Turkey generates complaints from conservatives.

America’s ally uber alles? Apparently so.

This is fucking stupid. We've gone from George Washington's urging to avoid all foreign entanglements to betting our entire national future on a nation run by suicidal fanatics despised by 95 percent of the world.

The only rational path left to us is to get Bibi into a small room, throw the motherfucker up against the wall and say:

"Alright, asshole, now that we've proven we are the very last friend you have in the universe, this is what you're gonna do. You're gonna dismantle every settlement outside the 1967 border, you're gonna imprison every settler who so much as makes a face at the prospect, you're gonna lift the embargo on Gaza, and you're gonna sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act and submit to inspections.

"You're gonna do all that with a smile on your face or we're gonna cancel your unlimited line of credit on the U.S. Treasury and never give you another dime."

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