US Jewish groups have cast the decisions by the US and Israel to withdraw from UNESCO as the inevitable consequence of the uncompromising anti-Israeli bias at the UN’s global organization for science, culture and education.
The US announced its decision last Thursday, followed hours later by Israel’s confirmation that it too was pulling out of the agency. Neither decision will take effect until November 2018, and UNESCO’s newly-elected Director General, Audrey Azoulay, has made clear that she will try and persuade both countries to remain inside the agency. “At this time of crisis, I think we need more than ever to work on the UNESCO organization, to support, strengthen the organization and to make changes – not to leave it,” Azoulay said on Friday, following her election victory.
US Jewish groups argued on Sunday that a reversal of the decisions were dependent upon a fundamental shift in focus at UNESCO. “In recent years, despite the best efforts of outgoing Director General Irina Bokova, UNESCO has strayed from its mission to preserve history and has allowed itself to become politicized, demonstrating a continuing and disturbing bias against Israel,” World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder said in a statement.
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