US withdraws from UNESCO citing anti-Israel bias
Washington: The United States announced on Thursday it was withdrawing from UNESCO, the UN’s cultural and educational agency, complaining about how it is run and about what Washington described as bias against Israel.
THE United States and Israel announced on Thursday that they will withdraw from the United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organization( UNESCO ), accusing the body of an “anti-Israel bias.”
US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said that Washington would establish an “observer mission” to replace its representation at the Paris-based agency.
The United States was angered in 2011 when UNESCO members granted Palestine full membership of the body, despite opposition from its ally Israel and had cancelled its budget contributions to the United nations educartion and cultural body.
United States President
Donald Trump’s administration is also reviewing many of its multilateral commitments, pursuing what he calls an “America First” foreign policy.
Nauert said the State Department had notified UNESCO’s outgoing DirectorGeneral Irina Bokova of their decision earlier Thursday.
“This decision was not taken lightly, and reflects the
United States’s concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organization, and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO,” she said in a statement.
Subsequently, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel will withdraw from the UN’s cultural and education body after the United States decision to do the same.
“The Prime Minister instructed the foreign ministry to prepare Israel’s withdrawal from the organisation alongside the United States,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement.
Netanyahu welcomed the decision by President Trump and said, “This is a courageous and moral decision because UNESCO has become the theatre of the absurd and instead of preserving history it distorts it.”