Israel Hails US Withdrawal from UNESCO as 'New Day at UN'

Geneva Matthews
October 15, 2017

The United States indicated to the Director General its desire to remain engaged with UNESCO as a non-member observer state in order to contribute US views, perspectives and expertise on some of the important issues undertaken by the organization, including the protection of world heritage, advocating for press freedoms, and promoting scientific collaboration and education.

The United States says it will withdraw from UNESCO at the end of 2018 in what could be interpreted as a move to push the body to make fundamental changes being demanded by Washington.

Russia's foreign ministry said Friday Israel's decision to prepare to pull out of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization follows "the bad example of the USA". It was a decision the administration was required to make, based on a law, passed in the 1990s, that bars the us from funding any United Nations group that allows for Palestinian membership. The United States will remain a full member of UNESCO until that time.

The Trump administration's planned departure from UNESCO comes as the president has withdrawn - or threatened to withdraw - from multiple global agreements, including the Paris climate accords. The United States only officially rejoined almost two decades later, in 2002, under George W. Bush, who, at the same time, happened to be selling the U.N. on taking action in Iraq. Also on October 12, China told Egypt that it will withdraw its candidate for the UNESCO director-general position and endorse Egypt's candidate. The organization's absurd and shameful resolutions against Israel have consequences. "This is all the more true today, when the rise of violent extremism and terrorism calls for new long-term responses for peace and security, to counter racism and anti-Semitism, to fight ignorance and discrimination". "It's not just about money, it's promoting ideals that are vital to countries like the United States, such as education and culture", a UNESCO-based diplomat said, warning that others could follow.

The United States hasn't actually been a voting member since 2013, and it stopped funding it's share (22% or $80 million) the organization around that time.

As for the broader impact, Gupta said, the already-diminishing respect for the United States in the community of nations will diminish even further. However States which are not members of the United Nations can be admitted to UNESCO upon recommendation of the Executive Board, by a two-thirds majority vote of the General Conference.

Political experts believe that the represents almost a quarter of UNESCO's may change their stance on the Palestine issue, as the United States, one of the world's superpowers, has joined hands with Israel for extending moral support.

The organisation has been struggling financially for a while because of the U.S. not paying its membership dues (at approximately US$70 million per year, they represented almost a quarter of UNESCO's operating budget). Basically, the USA wants to withdraw from UNESCO to support Israel, and also to cut costs they incurred by supporting Israel six years ago. The US's accumulated debt to UNESCO is over US$500 million now, and its withdrawal means its repayment of that debt will halt.

In 2012, the United States was peeved at a decision not to expel Syria from UNESCO's human rights committee after the civil war began.

Other reports by VideoGamingPros

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