Widespread Israeli praise for US decision on UNESCO,
The US decision to withdraw from UNESCO on Thursday was met with praise from coalition and opposition politicians alike, citing an anti-Israel bias.
Education and Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett, who heads the Israel UNESCO Commission, applauded the decision and noted that he began the process of Israel’s departure from the organization last year.
“UNESCO has turned itself into a political puppet of Israel-haters. I congratulate the US administration for standing by truth. Israel needs to join and withdraw too,” Bennett said. “As president of the Israel National Commission for UNESCO, I announced one year ago, on October 13, 2016, the suspension of all professional work with the organization. That decision was fully implemented.”
Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon took to Twitter to commend the US. “Today is a new day at the UN,’’ he wrote. “There is a price to pay for discrimination against Israel.’’
Earlier this year, UNESCO, the UN’s educational, scientific and cultural body, passed resolutions denying Israel and the Jewish people’s historic connection to the Temple Mount. The organization also declared Hebron’s Old City and the Tomb of the Patriarchs as endangered Palestinian sites.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman called the move “an important decision that shows the values and morals of our greatest ally, the US, to an antisemitic and politically slanted organization, which turned lying into its custom and lost its path and relevance.”
Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Avi Dichter also called UNESCO antisemitic.
“The Western world is beginning to understand that the truth is an option, too,” Dichter said. “The fate of UNESCO’s lies is to be thrown in the trashcan of history. The Jewish people’s connection to holy places, which UNESCO undermined, is stronger than 1,000 decisions.”
Kulanu MK Michael Oren also praised the US move in a Twitter post, writing that “by cutting ties with anti-Israel UNESCO that denied the Jewish ties to our two holiest cities [ Jerusalem and Hebron], the US sends a moral message to the world.”
Strategic Affairs and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan called for the US and Israel to withdraw funds from the UN Human Rights Commission because of its anti-Israel bias.
“The UN is turning itself into an anti-Israel delegitimization and BDS organization, and there is no reason American and Israeli taxpayers should foot the bill,” Erdan said.
Much of the opposition was equally enthusiastic about the US’s departure from the organization.
Labor chairman Avi Gabbay said, “UNESCO doesn’t deal with history; rather, it deals in twisting Jewish history and political symbolism.”
Zionist Union MK Tzipi Livni also expressed appreciation for the US decision: “This is a message to the world that there is a price for one-sided politicization and distorting history.”
Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid wrote a Facebook post saying the departure from UNESCO was “justifiable,” and called for Israel to do the same, before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he had instructed the Foreign Ministry to begin the process of withdrawing Israel from the organization as well.
UNESCO HEADQUARTERS in Paris. Shortly after the US’s announcement that it will leave the organization, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed the Foreign Ministry to begin the process of Israel withdrawing as well.