US confirms its withdraw at end of 2017 from UNESCO; Requests to remain observer state; US State Department: This decision was not taken lightly, and reflects US concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organization, and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO, Oct. 12, 2017.
The United States announced its withdraw from UNESCO on Thursday given the organization’s anti-Israel bias and efforts.
The U.S. State Department confirmed the United States’ withdrawal to the press after it officially notified the United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organization of its departure Thursday.
It stated “This decision was not taken lightly, and reflects US concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organization, and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO.”
The withdraw will take effect at the end of 2017.
The United States announced that it would like to remain a “non-member state” as to in “contribute U.S. views, perspectives and expertise on some of the important issues undertaken by the organization, including the protection of world heritage, advocating for press freedoms, and promoting scientific collaboration and education.”
UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova responded to the United States withdrawal, stating “I wish to express profound regret at the decision of the United States of America to withdraw from UNESCO. 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.”
UNESCO has passed numerous anti-Israel resolutions, majority denying Jewish heritage to religious sites and Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem. During his address to the United Nations General Assembly in September, Prime Minister Netanyahu called out the anti-Semitism and ongoing anti-Israel efforts in the UN.
He stated “Unfortunately, when it comes to UN decisions about Israel, that simple recognition is too often absent. It was absent last December when the Security Council passed an anti-Israel resolution that set back the cause of peace. It was absent last May, when the World Health Organization adopted – you have to listen to this: the World Health Organization adopted a Syrian-sponsored resolution that criticized Israel for health conditions on the Golan Heights.”
On the absurdity of UNESCO’s resolutions targeting Israel and Jewish history, he stated “So is there no limit to the UN’s absurdities when it comes to Israel? Well, apparently not, because in July, UNESCO declared the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron a Palestinian World Heritage site. That’s worse than fake news. That’s fake history. Mind you, it’s true that Abraham, the father of both Ishmael and Isaac, is buried there, but so too are Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca – Sarah is a Jewish name, by the way – and Leah, who just happen to be patriarchs and matriarchs of the Jewish people. You won’t read about that in the latest UNESCO report.”
Specifically on anti-Semitism at the United Nations, he stated “for too long the epicenter of global anti-Semitism has been right here at the UN. And while it may take many years, I am absolutely confident that the revolution in Israel’s ties with individual nations will ultimately be reflected in this hall of nations. I say that because there is also a marked change in the position of some of our key friends.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu directly thanked the United States for defending Israel, thanking President Trump and United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley’s during his speech.