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United States to quit UNESCO over anti-Israel bias

12 October 2017

The Trump administration announced Thursday that it would withdraw from UNESCO, the United Nations cultural organization, after years of the United States distancing itself because of what it saw as the group's "anti-Israel bias".

The Trump administration has been preparing for a likely withdrawal for months, and a decision was expected before the end of the year, according to U.S. officials. The decision "reflects USA concerns with mounting arrears" at the United Nations entity, as well as what she called "continuing anti-Israel bias".

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UNESCO's Director General Irina Bokova said that she deeply regret the decision of the United States of America to withdraw from the organisation.

The organization has voted through several decision that have enraged Israel, particularly resolutions that appear to downplay or omit the importance of holy sites in Jerusalem and West Bank to Judaism. "President George W. Bush rejoined the organization in 2002, claiming it had gotten its books in order and expunged some of its most virulent anti-Western and anti-Israel biases".

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A plan to withdraw from the global body was reportedly made several weeks ago, with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson informing French President Emmanuel Macron of America's imminent departure.

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United States to quit UNESCO over anti-Israel bias