The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recently made an announcement on Monday stating that the United States is ready to rejoin UNESCO in July. Four years ago, the United States and Israel left the organization. During this time, the United States alleged that UNESCO was acting biased against Israel. Rejoining the organization requires a vote by UNESCO member states, which, however, will pass quite easily.
A little about UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is a United Nations agency charged with enhancing international cooperation and peace by promoting educational, cultural and scientific causes.
According to UNESCO, the US State Department has “welcomed the way UNESCO has in recent years addressed emerging challenges, modernized its management, and reduced political tensions.”
Why did the United States leave UNESCO in the first place?
The story begins in the year 2011. It was in the year 2011 when the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization admitted Palestine as its member. Under the leadership of President Barack Obama, the incident led the United States to suspend funding to the agency, which was actually worth millions of dollars.
The United Nations does not recognize Palestine as a sovereign state. Palestine was admitted by UNESCO as a non-member observer state despite Israel’s objections in 2012. This meant that it had the right to participate in the proceedings of the General Assembly, however, it did not have the right to vote.
In 2013, Nimrod Barkan, Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO, told the Associated Press that the country supported the United States’ decision to suspend its funding. He said that he clearly “opposes the politicization of UNESCO, or any international organization, with the accession of a non-existent country like Palestine.”
The United States and Israel called the Palestine induction, along with UNESCO’s criticism of the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, some examples of anti-Israel bias. This led the United States to leave UNESCO.
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