US Cuts Off Funding to UNESCO Over Palestine

Political workaround unlikely to go anywhere
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 31, 2011 2:26 PM CDT
US Cuts Off Funding to UNESCO Over Palestine
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad al-Maliki, left, and Ambassador for Palestine at UNESCO Elias Sanbar, face the media at UNESCO's 36th General Conference, in Paris, Monday.   (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

The US has officially cut off all funding to the UN’s Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization over its acceptance of Palestine as a full member. The impact will be felt immediately, because the US had a $60 million dues payment due in November, the AP reports. The Obama administration’s hands are effectively tied by an existing law prohibiting the US from supporting a UN agency that accepts Palestine, though a State Department spokesman hinted that it might "work with Congress" to get around the law, Politico reports.

They're unlikely to get far there; pro-Israeli lawmakers issued a statement last week warning that "we cannot change this law." But the move could have major ramifications for US businesses. UNESCO runs the World Intellectual Property Organization, an organization that many companies rely on to settle international copyright disputes. The State Department has invited a number of those companies, including Apple, Google, Microsoft, the MPAA, and the RIAA to a meeting at Foggy Bottom today to discuss the issue. (More UNESCO stories.)

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