America’s best-that-money-can-buy legislators have passed into law the proposition that any international body that admits the state of Palestine as a full member shall immediately lose all US funding. In the past week this has meant US defunding of UNESCO leading to possible complete withdrawal from that organization if a bill proposed by Senator Lindsey Graham is successful. Graham defends the move to punish organizations for recognizing Palestine with “If the UN is going to be a body that buys into Palestinian statehood…then they suffer. It’s a decision they make.”
The Palestinians are likely to make a bid to join as many as sixteen other UN and non-UN international organizations, to include the World Bank, the IMF, the World Health Organization, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the International Criminal Court. They will likely receive overwhelming support from voting members, just as they did at UNESCO. Washington will be obliged to defund all those organizations and possibly cease participation in them, which will create, to say the least, an interesting situation all around.
One can reasonably argue that the United Nations is not worth the time, effort, and money that it consumes but there is a disturbing willingness on the part of Washington to abandon any pretense of an independent foreign policy where Israel is concerned. The US has absolutely no national interest that compels it to deny Palestinian statehood and is only making itself even more ridiculous and irrelevant internationally by punishing most of the world over an issue that should not even be in dispute. Many might welcome the withdrawal of America from the world’s stage since it has done little over the past ten years to deserve any respect, but unfortunately it won’t work that way. Barack and Hillary will still see themselves as international players and will no doubt continue to lead us down the well worn path to ruin blazed by the redoubtable George W. Bush.