Let the French Pay for UNESCO
There’s no reason to waive U.S. laws to bankroll a wasteful, anti-American U.N. agency.

UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France


If the U.S. waives its own laws in order to resume bankrolling UNESCO, there will be no more bar to the Palestinians’ seeking full member-state credentials at every other U.N. specialized agency.

More than ever before, the U.N. would have every reason to regard U.S. money as an entitlement, guaranteed to gush in regardless of behavior. The implications of this go well beyond the further undermining of the beleaguered state of Israel at the U.N. Far from buying more influence for the U.S., $233.8 million for UNESCO would signal that U.S. leaders are so desperate to remain “engaged” that they will overturn their own laws, abandon principle, and undercut their interests and those of their allies for the privilege of sitting at a table where they can pay the biggest share of the tab for the privilege of being outvoted. That presents real risks, not only within the comfortable confines of the U.N., but on the ground — where countries from China and Russia to Iran and North Korea are now sizing up the 21st century’s new global order.

As for the “vital” role of UNESCO: Forget about it. America pulled out of the organization entirely from 1984 to 2002, in protest over UNESCO’s corrupt and anti-American ways. Both America and UNESCO survived.

If UNESCO’s officials, in their lavish Paris headquarters, need the money, why not tell them to go lobby the French? France was among the member states that voted in 2011 to admit the Palestinians. The Gauls’ dues cover a mere 6.1 percent of UNESCO’s core budget, or about $20 million, compared with the 22 percent the U.S. was paying. Surely, if France appreciates UNESCO’s contributions to world peace (and French jobs) so much, the Quai d’Orsay could scrounge up a few more euros?

For that matter, even the recently admitted authorities of “Palestine” could surely manage a little more than their 2012 assessed dues of $13,060. Perhaps Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas could dip into his mad money for the cause? Maybe Yasser Arafat’s widow, Suha, could be persuaded to chip in?

— Claudia Rosett is journalist-in-residence at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and heads its Investigative Reporting Project.