In an emotional—and largely symbolic—move, the United Nations cultural organization known as UNESCO overwhelmingly voted to grant membership to the Palestinians, despite opposition from the United States and Israel. Now the United States says it will cancel a $60 million payment due in November to the U.N. body. Membership dues paid by the U.S. account for about a fifth of UNESCO’s annual budget. The U.S. is also threatening to veto any Palestinian effort to be recognized by the U.N. Security Council as an independent state. "By going to UNESCO, this was a way both of gauging where the public opinion is among the various governments and, more importantly, symbolically for the world, showing that this is a moment of recognition that the 20-year-old U.S.-controlled so-called 'peace process' simply hasn’t worked," said Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies. [includes rush transcript]moreless
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