The United States and Israel have officially withdrawn from the United Nation’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
In a statement, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley called UNESCO one of the “most corrupt and politically biased UN agencies.” Later in the tweet, she referred to the agency as a “cesspool.”
The United States and Israel have repeatedly clashed with UNESCO especially since 2011 when the UN agency ratified Palestine as a member state. As a result, the U.S. and Israel jointly stopped paying their membership dues.
Here’s more on the United States and Israel’s unified departure, via Fox News:
The Trump administration filed its notice to withdraw in October 2017 from UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), and the administration of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu followed suit.
Paris-based UNESCO, which supports various educational and cultural projects around the world, has been denounced by critics for criticizing Israel’s occupation of east Jerusalem, naming ancient Jewish sites as Palestinian heritage sites and granting full membership to Palestine in 2011.
The withdrawals are mainly procedural yet deliver a new blow to UNESCO, co-founded by the U.S. after World War II to foster peace. But they will not greatly impact UNESCO financially, since it has been dealing with a funding slash ever since 2011, when both Israel and the U.S. stopped paying dues after Palestine was voted in as a member state.
BizPac Review reports Israel Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon similarly criticized UNESCO and said to the Jerusalem Post: “UNESCO is a body that continually rewrites history, including by erasing the Jewish connection to Jerusalem.”
“Israel will not be a member of an organization whose goal is to deliberately act against us, and that has become a tool manipulated by Israel’s enemies,” Danon concluded.
According to the report, the United States has accrued more than $600 million in unpaid dues from when they stopped paying in 2011. Israel reportedly owes $10 million since they also did not pay over that same period.
BizPac Review also notes that in Haley’s last address to the UN she criticized the international group’s bias against Israel.
“Ladies and gentlemen, last Friday the General Assembly approved six resolutions condemning Israel in a single day. Six,” Haley said according to the report. “In an average year, the UN votes against Israel 20 times. Over the years, the UN has voted to condemn Israel over 500 times. That’s what an ordinary day at the UN looks like.”
This is not the first time the United States has pulled out of the agency before as TIME reports, “The Reagan administration did so in 1984 because it viewed the agency as mismanaged, corrupt and used to advance Soviet interests. The U.S. rejoined in 2003.”