Aside from all the drama between President Trump and Rex Tillerson, the State Department has managed to make a number of curious decisions under the secretary of state’s watch while remaining dangerously undermanned. Now and citing an “anti-Israel bias,” the U.S. will withdraw from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
According to the State Department, the U.S. will seek to become a permanent observer to the organization, encourages collaboration between countries through culture, education, and science. “This decision was not taken lightly, and reflects U.S. concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organization, and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO,” said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert.
However, this is not the first time that the U.S. has so officially disagreed with UNESCO. The U.S. withdrew from the organization during the Cold War under President Reagan, and the Obama administration slashed its funding to the U.N. organization after it admitted Palestine as a member.
In 2016, UNESCO referred to a religious monument in Jerusalem as a “Muslim holy site” despite the location having significance to Judaism as well.
Following the move, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova expressed regret at the withdrawal in a statement and said that the goals of the American people were aligned with the organization’s efforts. “Universality is critical to UNESCO’s mission to strengthen international peace and security in the face of hatred and violence, to defend human rights and dignity,” she wrote.
(Via The Hill)