The US – followed by Israel – has left UNESCO, citing a “pro-Palestinian bias” allegedly persisting within the agency. Recently, Washington has been eager to ditch any institutions and deals which supposedly harm its interests. The decision of the US took effect late Monday, closely followed by Tel Aviv, which kicked in on the first day of 2019.
The withdrawal of the US and Israel from UNESCO is hardly surprising, as both have had long-standing tensions with the agency. Washington’s move was made public in October 2017 when it announced the withdrawal, citing “concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organization, and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO.”