United States Quits UNESCO Over Anti-Israel Bias


The United States and Israel have quit UNESCO over what they call an ‘anti-Israel bias.’ The US is pulling out of the UN’s cultural organisation accusing the agency, known for designating world heritage sites such as Syria’s Palmyra and Stonehenge of a continued bias at the organisation.” Heather Nauert, a spokesperson for the US State Department, said, She noted that the US expressed a desire to “remain engaged” with the organisation in order to “contribute US views, perspectives and expertise.” Officials Say The move was rumoured yesterday and formally announced this morning.

The US helped found UNESCO in the wake of the Second World War, with the aim of ensuring peace through the free flow of ideas and education. President Ronald Regan pulled the country from Unesco in 1984, claiming the body was biased in favour of the Soviet Union.

This is not the first cultural organisation that Donald Trump has turned on

This is not the first cultural organisation that Donald Trump turned on. Recently the President attempted to close the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) the US equivalent to the UK’s Arts Council, but was vetoed.

The relationship is now set to end December 31, 2018. The US will remain a full member of UNESCO until then. From 2019 onward, the US intends to participate as an observer state but will no longer be a voting member of the organisation, according to the US Department of State.

UNESCO is the UN’s official cultural organisation

UNESCO’s projects are far-reaching for the cultural world. In addition to designating World Heritage sites, the organisation’s 1970 Convention was the first international instrument dedicated to the fight against illicit trafficking of cultural property. It stated that an institution could not acquire, loan, or borrow any ancient object that had been exported from its country of origin after 1970. Many restitution cases that have successfully forced the return of looted antiquities from US museums have hinged on this 1970 treaty.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO; or Organisation des Nations unies pour l’éducation, la science et la culture) is a specialised agency of the United Nations (UN) based in Paris. Its declared purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through educational, scientific, and cultural reforms to increase universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights along with fundamental freedom proclaimed in the United Nations Charter.

It is the successor of the League of Nations’ International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation. UNESCO has 195 member states and ten associate members.Most of its field offices are “cluster” offices covering three or more countries; national and regional offices also exist.

UNESCO pursues its objectives through five major programs: education, natural sciences, social/human sciences, culture and communication/information. Projects sponsored by UNESCO include literacy, technical, and teacher-training programmes, international science programmes, the promotion of independent media and freedom of the press, regional and cultural history projects, the promotion of cultural diversity, translations of world literature, international cooperation agreements on secure the world cultural and natural heritage (World Heritage Sites) and to preserve human rights, and attempts to bridge the worldwide digital divide. It is also a member of the United Nations Development Group.

UNESCO’s aim is “to contribute to the building of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information”. Other priorities of the organisation include attaining quality Education For All and lifelong learning, addressing emerging social and ethical challenges, fostering cultural diversity, a culture of peace and building inclusive knowledge societies through information and communication.

The broad goals and objectives of the international community – as set out in the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – underpin all UNESCO strategies and activities.


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