Visit ArabTopics.com

US Pulls Out Of UNESCO Claiming ‘Anti-Israel Bias’

The United States is pulling out of UNESCO because of what Washington sees as its anti-Israel bias and a need for “fundamental reform” of the U.N. cultural agency.

While the Trump administration had been preparing for a likely withdrawal for months, the announcement by the State Department on Thursday rocked UNESCO’s Paris headquarters, where a heated election to choose a new director is under way.

The outgoing UNESCO chief expressed her “profound regret” at the decision and tried to defend the reputation of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, best known for its World Heritage program to protect cultural sites and traditions.

The U.S. stopped funding UNESCO after it voted to include Palestine as a member in 2011, but the State Department has maintained a UNESCO office and sought to weigh on policy behind the scenes. The U.S. now owes about $550 million in back payments.

In a statement, the State Department said the decision will take effect Dec. 31, 2018, and that the U.S. will seek a “permanent observer” status instead. It cited U.S. belief in “the need for fundamental reform in the organization.”

Several diplomats who were to have been posted to the mission this summer were told that their positions were on hold and advised to seek other jobs. In addition, the Trump administration’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year contains no provision for the possibility that UNESCO funding restrictions might be lifted.

The lack of staffing and funding plans for UNESCO by the U.S. have been accompanied by repeated denunciations of UNESCO by senior U.S. officials, including U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.

U.S. officials said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made the decision and that it was not discussed with other countries but was the result of an internal U.S. government deliberation.

The officials, who were not authorized to be publicly named discussing the issue, said the U.S. is notably angry over UNESCO resolutions denying Jewish connections to holy sites and references to Israel as an occupying power.

Many saw the 2011 UNESCO vote to include Palestine as evidence of long-running, ingrained anti-Israel bias within the United Nations, where Israel and its allies are far outnumbered by Arab countries and their supporters.

UNESCO’s outgoing director-general, Irina Bokova of Bulgaria, called the U.S. departure a loss for “the United Nations family” and for multilateralism. She said the U.S. and UNESCO matter to each other more than ever now to better fight “the rise of violent extremism and terrorism.”

She defended UNESCO’s reputation, noting its efforts to support Holocaust education and train teachers to fight anti-Semitism — and that that the Statue of Liberty is among the many World Heritage sites protected by the U.N. agency. UNESCO also works to improve education for girls in poor countries and in scientific fields and to defend media freedom, among other activities.

Other UNESCO members did not immediately comment on the U.S. departure.

It’s not the first time the U.S. pulled out of UNESCO: Washington did the same thing in the 1980s because it viewed the agency as mismanaged, corrupt and used to advance Soviet interests. The U.S. rejoined in 2003.

Top photo | A view of the Church of the Nativity, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, a UNESCO’s World Heritage site since 2012. (AP/Nasser Shiyoukhi)

The post US Pulls Out Of UNESCO Claiming ‘Anti-Israel Bias’ appeared first on MintPress News.

Source: 
MintPress

Support this site

News Sources

Source Items
The Real News 155
Scrutinised Minds 12
Need To Know News 525
FEE 1349
Marine Le Pen 92
Francois Asselineau 25
Opassande 50
HAX on 5July 220
Henrik Alexandersson 343
Mohamed Omar 133
Professors Blog 10
Arg Blatte Talar 34
Angry Foreigner 14
Fritte Fritzson 11
Teologiska rummet 27
Filosofiska rummet 37
Vetenskapsradion Historia 52
Snedtänkt (Kalle Lind) 131
Les Crises 773
Richard Falk 49
Ian Sinclair 42
SpinWatch 27
Counter Currents 2498
Kafila 228
Gail Malone 23
Transnational Foundation 191
Rick Falkvinge 55
The Duran 3855
Vanessa Beeley 65
Nina Kouprianova 9
MintPress 2510
Paul Craig Roberts 583
News Junkie Post 37
Nomi Prins 15
Kurt Nimmo 191
Strategic Culture 1658
Sir Ken Robinson 13
Stephan Kinsella 31
Liberty Blitzkrieg 656
Sami Bedouin 59
Consortium News 1551
21 Century Wire 2168
Burning Blogger 226
Stephen Gowans 45
David D. Friedman 100
Anarchist Standard 16
The BRICS Post 1236
Tom Dispatch 268
Levant Report 17
The Saker 2292
The Barnes Review 387
John Friend 278
Psyche Truth 137
Jonathan Cook 112
New Eastern Outlook 2223
School Sucks Project 1052
Giza Death Star 1066
Andrew Gavin Marshall 15
Red Ice Radio 516
GMWatch 1249
Robert Faurisson 108
Espionage History Archive 33
Jay's Analysis 495
Le 4ème singe 64
Jacob Cohen 147
Agora Vox 5504
Cercle Des Volontaires 355
Panamza 993
Fairewinds 93
Project Censored 499
Spy Culture 252
Conspiracy Archive 49
Crystal Clark 11
Timothy Kelly 287
PINAC 1388
The Conscious Resistance 399
Independent Science News 53
The Anti Media 3814
Positive News 727
Brandon Martinez 30
Steven Chovanec 47
Lionel 224
The Mind renewed 185
Natural Society 2391
Yanis Varoufakis 581
Tragedy & Hope 104
Dr. Tim Ball 52
Web of Debt 107
Porkins Policy Review 246
Conspiracy Watch 174
Eva Bartlett 485
Libyan War Truth 240
DeadLine Live 1859
Kevin Ryan 56
BSNEWS 1759
Aaron Franz 149
Traces of Reality 166
Revelations Radio News 101
Dr. Bruce Levine 89
Peter B Collins 1057
Faux Capitalism 198
Dissident Voice 7891
Climate Audit 201
Donna Laframboise 232
Judith Curry 964
Geneva Business Insider 40
Media Monarchy 1505
Newsbud 2139
Syria Report 70
Human Rights Investigation 83
Intifada (Voice of Palestine) 1685
Down With Tyranny 7906
Laura Wells Solutions 15
Video Rebel's Blog 393
Revisionist Review 462
Aletho News 14403
ضد العولمة 27
Penny for your thoughts 2188
Northerntruthseeker 1657
كساريات 37
Color Revolutions and Geopolitics 27
Stop Nato 4394
AntiWar.com Blog 2170
AntiWar.com Original Content 5024
Corbett Report 1764
Stop Imperialism 491
Land Destroyer 986
Webster Tarpley Website 679

Compiled Feeds

Public Lists

Title Visibility
Funny Public