U.S. withdraws from UNESCO, the U.N.’s cultural organization, citing anti-Israel bias

U.S. withdraws from UNESCO, the U.N.’s cultural organization, citing anti-Israel bias, by Eli Rosenberg.

The United States will withdraw from UNESCO at the end of next year, the State Department said Thursday, to stop accumulating unpaid dues and make a stand on what it said is anti-Israel bias at the U.N.’s educational, science and cultural organization.

In notifying UNESCO of the decision Thursday morning, the State Department said it would like to remain involved as a nonmember observer state. That will allow the United States to engage in debates and activities, though it will lose its right to vote on issues. …

The most immediate impact is that the U.S. will halt the arrears it has run up since it stopped funding the organization in 2011 to protest UNESCO’s admission of Palestine as a full member. By the end of this calendar year, the unpaid U.S. bill will amount to $550 million. …

The United States helped found the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization after World War II, but has been at odds with it in recent years. State Department officials cited a 2012 decision not to expel Syria from its human rights committee after the civil war in that country began, and repeated resolutions that refer to Israel as an occupying power.

Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., said the last straw was when UNESCO this summer designated the old city of Hebron in the West Bank, with its Tomb of the Patriarchs, a Palestinian World Heritage site.

Calling UNESCO’s politicization a “chronic embarrassment,” Haley added, “Just as we said in 1984 when President Reagan withdrew from UNESCO, U.S. taxpayers should no longer be on the hook to pay for policies that are hostile to our values and make a mockery of justice and common sense.”

Yeah. About time. There are 50 Muslim nations at the UN, outnumbering the Western nations.

hat-tip Stephen Neil