US withdraws from Unesco over ‘anti-Israel’ bias

The United States has reportedly withdrawn from Unesco over what is claims it’s the organisations’ 'continuing anti-Israel bias'

UNESCO headquarters in Paris, October 14, 2016. (Photo: AP)
UNESCO headquarters in Paris, October 14, 2016. (Photo: AP)

The State Department announced the intention to withdraw from the UN’s cultural, scientific and organisation, opting to become a permanent observer instead.

“This decision was not taken lightly, and reflects US concerns with mounting arrears at Unesco, the need for fundamental reform in the organisation, and continuing anti-Israel bias at Unesco”, said the State Department in a statement.

The US hopes to remain an observer state and non-member, so as to contribute their opinions and expertise on issues such as protecting world heritage and press freedoms, said the department.

Unesco was funded after the Second World War, with the aim of ensuring peace through the free-flowing of education and ideas.

The US has withdrawn once before, during the Reagan administration. Former president Ronald Reagan withdrew the US from Unesco in 1984, as he claimed that the organisation was in favour of the Soviet Union. The country then rejoined it in 2002, under George W Bush. The US stopped funding the organisation in 2011, when Palestine was accepted as a member.

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