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Trump Admin Pulls US out of UNESCO Citing Anti-Israel Bias


The US State Department has announced the United States will withdraw from the United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) after a series of decisions by the UN body displayed what the Trump administration sees as clear hostility toward Israel.

Washington cut off funding under the Obama administration in 2011 because UNESCO admitted the Palestinians as full members, and the UN body retaliated by taking away the US vote in UNESCO decisions.

In May of this year, UNESCO voted on Israel's Independence Day to approve a resolution rejecting any legal or historical claims by Israel to the city of Jerusalem, a move strongly condemned by the Israeli government.  

Then in July, UNESCO declared the city of Hebron in biblical Judea, the final resting place of the Jewish patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to be a Palestinian World Heritage site.

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert released a statement Thursday that said the U.S. had "notified UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova of the U.S. decision to withdraw from the organization and to seek to establish a permanent observer mission to UNESCO."

"This decision was not taken lightly and reflects U.S. concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform of the organization and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO," the statement read.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) applauded the move by the Trump administration.

"We appreciate that the United States has taken a stand against efforts to delegitimize and isolate our ally, Israel. We hope that UNESCO will respond to this action by changing course and stopping its unconscionable bias against Israel," AIPAC stated.


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