North America

US, Israel set to quit UNESCO

US officials say the United States is pulling out of UNESCO, after repeated criticism of resolutions by the UN cultural agency that Washington sees as anti-Israel.

While the US stopped funding UNESCO after it voted to include Palestine as a member in 2011, the State Department has maintained a UNESCO office at its Paris headquarters and sought to weigh in on policy behind the scenes.

The withdrawal was confirmed by US officials speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorised to be publicly named discussing the decision. It was not clear when the move would be formally announced.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later praised the US decision as “brave and moral” and said his country would soon quit as well.

The decision comes as the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation is voting to choose a new director this week, in tense balloting overshadowed by the agency’s funding troubles and divisions over Palestinian membership.

Many saw the v…

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