US, Israel to exit UNESCO over alleged anti-Israel bias
PARIS » The United States said Thursday that it is pulling out of UNESCO — the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization — because of what Washington sees as its antiIsrael bias and a need for “fundamental reform” in the agency. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel plans to follow suit.
While the Trump administration had been preparing for a likely withdrawal from UNESCO for months, the timing of the State Department’s statement Thursday was unexpected. The Paris-based agency is in the midst of a heated election to choose a new chief — with Qatar’s Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari in the lead as the Executive Board vote heads into a final ballot today.
The outgoing UNESCO directorgeneral, Irina Bokova, expressed her “profound regret” at the U.S. decision and tried to defend the reputation of the agency, best known for its World Heritage program to protect cultural sites and traditions.