First Lady Jill Biden is hosting a celebration at the White House Tuesday evening to mark the re-entry of the U.S. into the antisemitic, anti-Israel United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which it left in 2019.
She is doing so as President Joe Biden is flying to Israel to express solidarity with Israel as it wages a war of self-defense against the Palestinian terror group Hamas, which launched a massive attack on Israel on October 7, killing over 1,400 Israelis thus far.
Last year, Congress passed a bill allowing the U.S. to rejoin UNESCO and pay back dues.
As Breitbart News noted late last year:
Section 7070 on page 1582 of the bill allows the president to waive section 414 of Public Law 101–246 of 1990, which bars U.S. funding for any United Nations organization that gives the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) the same status as member states; and section 410 of Public Law 103-236, which bars U.S. funding for the United Nations or any affiliated organization that grants state membership to something that is not a state.
These provisions were triggered in 2011, when the Obama administration was reluctantly forced to cut funding to UNESCO after it admitted Palestine as a member state. In 2019, following years of anti-Israel resolutions and outright antisemitism, including the denial of any Jewish connection to the city of Jerusalem, the U.S. and Israel both left the organization, with the U.S. still withholding some $550 million in payments at the time.
However, the omnibus lets the U.S. rejoin UNESCO — and pay hundreds of millions of dollars in withheld funds — if the president decides that “to do so would enable the United States to counter Chinese influence or to promote other national interests of the United States,” a meaningless and open-ended provision. The provision is void if any other United Nations agency admits “Palestine” without a formal peace agreement with Israel.
Israel did not oppose the U.S. rejoining UNESCO, but has not rejoined, though it participates in UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.