Published: Thu, October 12, 2017
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

United States to withdraw from UNESCO due to anti-Israel bias

United States to withdraw from UNESCO due to anti-Israel bias

"This decision was not taken lightly, and reflects USA concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organization, and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO", the State Department said in a Thursday statement cited by Reuters.

There has been no immediate comment from the USA government.

Unesco, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization known for its designation of world heritage sites, is a global development agency with missions that include promoting sex education, literacy, clean water and equality for women.

This decision was not taken lightly, and reflects USA concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organization, and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO.


UNESCO said the withdrawal was a loss to the "UN family" and to multilateralism. The U.S. will seek to have a "permanent observer" status instead.

The U.S. stopped funding UNESCO after the agency voted to include the Palestinian Authority as a member in 2011, but the State Department has maintained a UNESCO office at the agency's Paris headquarters and sought to weigh in on policy behind the scenes.

The Foreign Policy report stated that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made the decision about withdrawing from the United Nations body a few weeks ago. It was not clear when the move would be formally announced. The decision comes after a number of resolutions were criticised by UNESCO, which was termed as anti-Israel by the United States.

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