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The Washington Budget Train Wreck Has Nothing On the U.N.

The good folks at the U.N., the people with their hands on the money spigot and the never-ending demand for more U.S. tax dollars are hard at work in the hours leading up to the Christmas recess. Budget gurus at Turtle Bay could take on Washington money managers any day.  Particularly since they are busy spending your hard-earned cash on such events as a New York City bash known as "Durban III" next September. And guess what, this includes inviting Iranian President Ahmadinejad to lecture Americans about ending racism and intolerance.

The U.N. budget process goes like this. First, the U.N. majority dreams up new ways to spend U.S. taxpayer dollars on conferences which are antithetical to American values. Durban III is a perfect example. 

The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) invented the idea of celebrating the 10th anniversary of the anti-semitic jamboree held in Durban, South Africa in 2001. U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, a native of Durban herself, threw the full weight of her office behind the concept.

The idea blossomed into the suggestion that a meeting of world leaders take place on September 21, 2011 in New York. All heads of state and government will come together to embrace limits on free speech in the name of fighting “Islamophobia” and to declare Israel a racist state which should be isolated and disassembled like apartheid South Africa.

Ergo, the production in U.N. backrooms of resolution “A/C.3/65/L.60.”

At the next step in U.N. policy-making, U.N. staffers are charged with determining whether the proposed resolution has financial implications. Any such implications are required to be declared up front, so that the vote for or against the substantive resolution takes the dollars into account. In the case of “L.60,” however, the rules just happened to be thrown out the window.

The secretariat did not produce the “program budget implications,” known as the PBI, fast enough for the likes of Islamic states. Rather than wait for the PBI, the vote went ahead oblivious to the costs. The United States voted against the decision to hold Durban III, along with such countries as Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia, and most of the countries that had known Nazism at very close range: Germany, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland and Romania. They were outvoted, however, 121 for, 19 against and 35 abstentions.

U.N. sausage-making, however, does not end there. Once a resolution is adopted – and in the case of Durban III, the PBI produced after the fact – the money folks in another committee examine the costs and recommend to the General Assembly where to find those dollars and cents.

In practice, the U.N.’s budget committee recommends one of two things. Either the costs should be “absorbed” in the existing budget – a polite way of saying “no new money and if you do this, you have to drop something else.” Or they say, sure, we can count on U.S., European Union and Japanese bankers rolling over, so let’s add the new dollars to the budget and spend money from a practically inexhaustible “contingency fund.”

Which brings us to December 17, 2010. The PBI on Durban III, or the cost of handing Ahmadinejad and company a global megaphone to spew anti-American and anti-Jewish vitriol, has finally made it into the public domain.

So here is what it is going to cost YOU...

The secretariat started by low-balling the charges, excluding all kinds of “regular” support that current staff can provide. Then the secretariat announced that celebrating the 10th anniversary of the 2001 Durban hate-fest will cost $322,500. Of that “$116,100 would be absorbed” by the existing budget – read, no new money – and $206,400 “would represent a charge against the contingency fund.”

Yemen, speaking on behalf of the “G-77” or the bloc of 130 developing nations, was understandably enthusiastic. Another quarter of a million dollars in fun money. Yemeni representative Waleed Alshahari blamed the U.N. secretariat for not producing the budget implications earlier and suggested the glitch be resolved “in the future.” Israel, the United States and Japan noted that the rule of procedure requiring costs be transparent and produced up front, had not been followed. The EU sat silently staring into space.

Everybody knows how the game will be played out. In the next few days, there will be a vote in the budget committee. The U.S. and Israel will vote against. They may be joined by some European Union countries that might just decide to translate their vote against holding Durban III into a vote against paying for it. 

EU states, though, most often start trembling at the thought that ‘putting their money where their mouth is’ might harm the UN’s image. The resolution will then be adopted by an overwhelming majority who couldn’t care less how they spend other people’s money. The package will go to the General Assembly plenary body next week, whereupon the decisions to hold Durban III and to pay for it will be rubber-stamped.

Then the Obama administration will pay up.

In other words, in September the world’s demagogues (and as many frightened Europeans as they can gather) will line up just days after the 10th anniversary of 9/11 to declare -- in the middle of New York City -- that Muslims are the primary victims of intolerance, that Israel is the chief racist and that America must somehow be to blame for the violent anti-democratic tendencies of a few poor lost souls. And under the U.N. budget scheme, American taxpayers will be paying 22% of all the costs.

By the way, President Obama is invited to the big bash. But in marked contrast to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who announced weeks ago that Canada would take no part in Durban III, the president of the United States has remained deafeningly silent and still not declined to attend.

Anne Bayefsky is a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute and director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust.

Anne Bayefsky is director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust. Follow her on Twitter @AnneBayefsky.

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