I don’t think we have commented on President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in protest of that outfit’s anti-Israel bias. My comment is: Great call.
President Trump is following in the footsteps of President Reagan. He took the U.S. out of UNESCO in 1984 because it was too susceptible to Soviet influence and overly critical of Israel. There was also the matter of UNESCO’s legendary corruption.
Under President George W. Bush, the U.S. rejoined in 2002, after UNESCO instituted some reforms. In 2011, we substantially cut funding to UNESCO after the organization granted the Palestinian Authority full membership. President Obama asked Congress to restore funding, but instead we will now be pulling out.
The editors of National Review document UNESCO’s anti-Israel bias:
In 2012, UNESCO declared the Church of the Nativity to be a World Heritage Site in Danger, ignoring the objections of the U.S., Israel, and the three churches that preside over it. That was a victory for the Palestinians, who claim Bethlehem as their own and say that Israel endangers the site. The next year, the organization’s executive board issued six condemnations of Israel (and honored Che Guevara, the Communist mercenary). It announced in 2016 that the Temple Mount had no connection to Judaism, referring to it only as the “Al-Aqsa Mosque”: The Wailing Wall became the “Buraq Plaza,” and Israel the “occupying power” in Jerusalem.
UNESCO’s stated mission is to promote peace and security, but in practice it is just another international institution giving shelter to the world’s ugliest ideas.
The State Department says it hopes UNESCO will reform itself so the U.S. can rejoin. Reform of its stance on Israel is highly unlikely, though. As the National Review editors say, opposing Israel seems to be in the organization’s genes.