US withdraws from Unesco citing “Anti-Israel bias”

Image via UNESCO website

The United States announced Thursday its withdrawal from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco ) and mentioned as motives the need for reform and a supposed “anti-Israel bias” of the multilateral body.

“Department of State notified UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova of the US decision to withdraw from the organization and to seek to establish a permanent observer mission to UNESCO,” State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said.

“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,” he added.

The brief statement from the State Department offers no further explanation for these arguments.

Despite its withdrawal as a member, the US Government expressed its desire to establish a permanent mission as an “observer” country to that United Nations agency.

The United States Government also indicated to Bokova its desire to continue to collaborate as an Observer State and to “provide views, perspectives and expertise” on issues such as “World Heritage Protection, advocating for freedom of the press and promoting scientific collaboration and education”.