Citing “anti-Israel bias,” the U.S. State Department announced its decision to withdraw from UNESCO at the end of 2018.
Sen. Marco Rubio backs the move.
“As ISIS commits genocide and destroys historical and cultural heritage sites throughout the Middle East, the majority of UNESCO’s member states have chosen instead to advance a discriminatory and counterproductive anti-Israel agenda,” Rubio said, “including the repeated passage of measures that deny any connection between Jews and Christians and the Temple Mount, the Western Wall, and other holy sites in Jerusalem.”
“Until UNESCO’s member states end their anti-Israel agenda,” Rubio added, “the Trump Administration is right to withdraw the United States from UNESCO and uphold U.S. laws that forbid American taxpayer money from going to this organization.”
In recent years, Sen. Rubio has pressed for disengagement from UNESCO, including urging the Barack Obama administration to withdraw taxpayer funding from the organization, and leading a letter to the U.N. Secretary General that objected to anti-Israel bias in UNESCO and elsewhere in the U.N.
Along with citing anti-Israel bias, the State Department outlined concerns with “mounting arrears at UNESCO, [and] the need for fundamental reform in the organization.”
In 2019 and beyond, the United States will be a non-member observer state relative to UNESCO.