Today the Trump administration announced the United States will leave UNESCO, the United Nations development agency, over the organization’s alleged “anti-Israel bias.”
Leaving UNESCO might seem like typical Trump isolationism, but the U.S.’s beef with the organization goes back to previous administrations. After UNESCO accepted Palestinians as full members in 2011, the New York Times reported that the Obama administration axed its funding. With no funds forthcoming, the U.S. lost its vote in the agency in 2013.
The State Department briefly outlined its reasoning in a press release: “This decision was not taken lightly, and reflects U.S. concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organization, and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO.”
The Israel controversy re-ignited this summer after UNESCO named Hebron’s city center a Palestinian World Heritage Site.