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U.S. pulls out of United Nations cultural body, citing 'anti-Israel' bias

U.S. pulls out of United Nations cultural body, citing 'anti-Israel' bias

"At the time when the fight against violent extremism calls for renewed investment in education, in dialogue among cultures to prevent hatred, it is deeply regrettable that the United States should withdraw from the United Nations agency leading these issues", she stated. Under the Reagan Administration, the U.S. quit UNESCO in 1984, at the time accusing the agency of a pro- Soviet Union bias.

Trump pulled United States out of UNESCO.

"Today is a new day at the U.N., where there is price to pay for discrimination against Israel", Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon said.

The AP quotes a State Department source.

Earlier this year, UNESCO triggered Israel's anger after it listed Hebron, a city in the occupied West Bank, as a world heritage site in the "State of Palestine".

Unesco, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization popularly known for its designation of world heritage sites, is a global development agency with missions that include promoting sex education, literacy, clean water and equality for women.

The relationship is now set to end December 31, 2018, and the United States will remain a full member of UNESCO until then.

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Israel has been irked by resolutions that diminish its historical connection to the Holy Land and have instead named ancient Jewish sites as Palestinian heritage sites.

The organisation, which employs around 2,000 people worldwide, majority based in Paris, has struggled for relevance as it becomes increasingly hobbled by regional rivalries and a lack of money.

Many saw the 2011 UNESCO vote to include Palestine as evidence of long-running, ingrained anti-Israel bias within the United Nations, where Israel and its allies are far outnumbered by Arab countries and their supporters.

UNESCO is in the process of selecting a new chief, whose priority will be to revive its fortunes. The officials, who were not authorized to be publicly named discussing the issue, said the US was notably angry over UNESCO resolutions denying Jewish connections to holy sites and references to Israel as an occupying power.

"The absence of the United States or any large country with a lot of power is a loss".

She paid tribute to what she said had been a meaningful relationship between UNESCO and the U.S., saying: "since 2011, we have deepened the partnership between the United States and UNESCO, which has never been so meaningful". "Since 2011 they have practically not been paying to the budget of this organisation". Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari of Qatar and Audrey Azoulay of France - both former culture ministers - had 18 votes apiece in the battle to replace Ms. Bokova. Other members of the council said his withdrawal would help to pool votes for the remaining candidates, which would mean fewer chances for more tied results as witnessed in the previous two rounds.


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