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What happens when a journalist shows his claws

What happens when a journalist shows his claws

AP’s Matthew Lee grills State Department’s Victoria Nuland when the US decided to cut UNESCO funding. No claws retracted here.

November 2, 2011 5:07 by

The US pledges $70 million a year to UNESCO, the UN’s cultural agency. It was due to give $60 million this November, which it has now withheld as response to its disapproval of UNESCO granting Palestine full membership.

Only 14 countries, including the US, voted against the membership while 52 abstained and 107 votes for the rather symbolic approval of the Palestine membership.

What does Palestine gain from its full UNESCO membership? Having been on observer status since 1974, it gains more access to other UN agencies. It also now enables Palestine to register sites like the Church of Nativity in UNESCO’s World Heritage list.

Israel voted against the measure, as did the US, Canada and several European countries, including Germany. The UK abstained, while France voted in favour.

Discussing the US’ move to cancel its UNESCO funding, Phyllis Bennis, fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies said, “What we’re seeing there is really a classic example of the one percent, where most of our interests do not lie, controlling the 99 percent, the one percent being Israel and its supporters in the United States saying that the US should take an incredibly drastic position, ending its support of UNESCO, which of course eventually will mean the US will lose its vote in UNESCO, and potentially, similarly, in other UN agencies along the way.”

One of the videos about the US pulling its UNESCO funding is this five and a half minute clip of AP journalist Matthew Lee grilling US State Department Victoria Nuland about the decision to withhold the funds.

In her speech, Nuland said the Palestine vote was “regrettable, premature and undermines the prospect of getting where we want to go.”

And that’s what gets Lee started. Here’s the video link for your viewing pleasure.

Our favourite line from Lee?

“How exactly does it exacerbate the environment, if it changes nothing on the ground, unlike, say, construction of settlements? It changes nothing on the ground. It gives Palestine membership in UNESCO, which was a body that the US was so unconcerned about for many years that it just wasn’t even a member.”

It’s our love for reading between the lines that made us smile throughout watching this video. We’d have to say kudos to Nuland for holding her own but multiple pats on Lee’s back for even just creating that public statement that most people in the public eye know but only say in whispers. After all, isn’t that what real journalism is about?

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  1. Vincent Nunes on November 2, 2011 7:51 pm

    Kudos to Matthew Lee for asking the questions on everyone’s mind.

    One can’t have it both ways – either one wants the Palestinian state, or they don’t.

  2. smithy on November 3, 2011 8:46 am

    For a country that promotes democratic principles with every utterance, its hard to stomach the sickening hypocracy of a nation that then refuses to accept the majority decision. It’s once again a case of “we support democratic processes so long as the result is one we agree with”.

  3. MK on November 3, 2011 11:18 am

    Excellent job Lee!
    The problem with the US foreign policy is that it’s not a clear line and full of hypocracies!

  4. Andrew on November 4, 2011 10:07 am

    Think you’d be hard pressed to find any nation that doesn’t practice hypocrisy in their foreign policy.


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