US and Israel withdraw from UNESCO


The United States and Israel announced that they are quitting UNESCO after Washington accused the UN’s cultural agency of anti-Israeli bias.

The withdrawal of the United States, which is meant to provide a fifth of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s funding, is a major blow for the Paris-based organization, founded after the Second World War to help protect cultural and natural heritage around the world.

UNESCO is best known for designating World Heritage Sites such as the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria and the Grand Canyon National Park.

Washington has already been withholding its funding for UNESCO since 2011, when the body gave full-member status to the Palestinians. The United States and Israel were among just 14 of 194 members that voted against admitting the Palestinians.