Both the United States and Israel have withdrawn from UNESCO, described by outgoing U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley as one of “the most corrupt and politically biased UN agencies,” Fox News reported Tuesday.
Both countries had notified UNESCO, the UN’s cultural and scientific agency, of their intent to withdraw in October.
“UNESCO is a body that continually rewrites history, including by erasing the Jewish connection to Jerusalem,” Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said.
“Israel will not be a member of an organization whose goal is to deliberately act against us, and that has become a tool manipulated by Israel’s enemies.”
Israel and the U.S. stopped paying dues to UNESCO in 2011, losing their voting rights in the organization.
In November 2017, Audrey Azoulay, France’s former culture minister, was confirmed as the new director-general of UNESCO, making her the first Jewish head of the agency. Azoulay had campaigned for the U.S. and Israel to remain members over the past year.
David Kornbluth, who served as Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO from 2005 to 2009, described the anti-Israel atmosphere in the agency when he was there.
“It’s very very uncomfortable to be there as ambassador and you see all these people sort of enjoying their quasi-antisemitic discussions. It’s really unpleasant. And you have to fight it and you have to negotiate against it, and sometimes you’re more successful than others,” he told the Algemeiner.
In recent years, UNESCO has been making headlines due to their chronic anti-Israel bias. In October 2016, Israel suspended ties with the organization, following a resolution that criticized Israel’s actions in and around Jerusalem’s holiest site and denied Jewish ties to the region’s holy sites.
In October 2017, Israel announced preparations to withdraw from the organization all together, just hours after the United States said it would leave UNESCO over “continuing anti-Israel bias.” Earlier in the year, UNESCO had declared the Old Town of Hebron and the Cave of the Patriarchs as a Palestinian World Heritage Site, as well as passing a series of resolutions that denied Israeli claims to Jerusalem as Israel celebrated its 69th Independence Day.
[Photo: Guilhem Vellut / WikiCommons ]