Posted by Tina
Effective December 31, 2017 the United States will no longer be a contributing member of UNESCO, the UN body associated with educational, scientific and cultural issues. The US will continue as a “non-member observer state.” Concerns about institutional bias against Israel, the need for reforms and, as was the case with NATO, “mounting arrears” in funding were behind the decision to withdraw:
A fight over who will next run the organization highlighted the Trump administration’s concerns: one leading candidate, Qatar’s Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari, has been openly accused of antisemitism by Jewish and Israeli groups.
“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,” the State Department said.
“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 U.S. 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.”
Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, expressed “profound regret” in response to the US decision. I’ll bet…it’s tough to lose one of the few who actually meets it’s financial obligation. Bokova ignored the antisemitism issue in her remarks but it looms large given the supposed charter of the UN to promote peace and understanding among nations. According to the article in the Jerusalem Post, “In recent months, UNESCO members have pushed the body to recognize Jerusalem as a holy site exclusive to Muslims, without recognizing its Jewish roots.”
Prejudice and the re-writing of history cannot be tolerated by the United States of America, not within our own country and certainly not at the UN. This is a bold positive move by President Trump and Ambassador Nikki Haley.