The U.S. on Thursday announced its withdrawal from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), accusing it of “continuing anti-Israel bias.”
UNESCO is the first UN agency to have admitted Palestine as a full member in 2011. As required by law, the U.S. has stopped funding UNESCO since then. The U.S. withdrawal will take effect on December 31, 2018. Until then, it will remain a full member.
Israel has also decided to pull out of UNESCO, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. “The Prime Minister has instructed the Foreign Ministry to prepare Israel’s withdrawal from the organisation alongside the U.S.,” his office said in a statement.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson notified UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova of the decision. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said the U.S. would seek a permanent observer mission to UNESCO.