The U.S. and Israel are on a roll that could take them right off planet Earth, according to a high-level Iranian official.
After #JCPOA, #NAFTA, #TPP, Climate Convention & ..., the Trump regime—along with the Israeli regime—today officially withdrew from #UNESCO. Is anything left for the Trump Administration and its client regime to withdraw from? Perhaps from planet Earth altogether?— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 1, 2019
Zari was additionally referring to U.S. withdrawals from the Iran nuclear deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Paris Climate Accord.
UNESCO: Anti-Israel and Burdensome
As the U.S. quit each of these agreements, Trump administration officials repeatedly cited either anti-Israel bias and/or an unfair burden on the U.S. The former was the case when the U.S. announced last October its decision to withdraw from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Israel quickly followed the lead of the U.S., with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling the U.S. withdrawal “brave” and “moral.” He also said, “UNESCO has become a theater of the absurd because, instead of preserving history, it distorts it.” On another occasion, Netanyahu tweeted, “Since 2009, UNESCO has passed 71 resolutions condemning Israel and only two resolutions condemning all other nations combined. This is simply outrageous.”
When the two nations’ withdrawals became official at the stroke of midnight on December 31, 2018, former U.S. Ambassador the United Nations Nikki Haley tweeted, “UNESCO is among the most corrupt and politically biased UN agencies. Today the U.S. withdrawal from this cesspool became official.”
In response to Zarif’s tweet, Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon tweeted, “Remember how @JZarif said in an interview with @LePoint on Dec. 19 that no one in Iran wants to annihilate Israel? Well, calling for #Israel (and the #UnitedStates) to withdraw ‘from planet Earth altogether’ sure sounds like calling for the demise of our countries.”
No Longer Fostering Peace
The U.S. helped form UNESCO in 1945 after World War II to foster peace; Israel became a member state in 1949. President Ronald Reagan was first to withdraw in 1984 over structural issues and bias toward the former Soviet Union.
Satisfied with UNESCO reforms, President George W. Bush returned in 2003. But the relationship again became rocky in recent years because of increased anti-Israel bias.
“The last straw was when UNESCO this summer designated the old city of Hebron in the West Bank – with its Tomb of the Patriarchs – a Palestinian World Heritage site,” The Washington Post quoted Haley as saying. When the two nations announced their withdrawals this time, she called UNESCO’s politicization a “chronic embarrassment.”
Similarly, The Times of Israel wrote, “Many saw the vote to include Palestine as evidence of long-running, ingrained anti-Israel bias within the United Nations, where Israel and its allies are far outnumbered by Arab countries and their supporters.”
The U.S. State Department said it will engage with UNESCO as a non-member “observer state” on “non-politicized” issues to protect World Heritage sites and press freedoms and to promote scientific collaboration and education.
But what does it mean to Israel?
On a pragmatic level, the millions of dollars Israel and the U.S. owe in dues are now canceled. This lifts a financial burden of both countries, but UNESCO already felt the budget cut in 2011.
On a symbolic level, the withdrawal “sends a strong message that we need to see fundamental reform in the organization, and it raises everyone’s awareness about continued anti-Israel bias,” according to an unnamed U.S. State Department official quoted in The Post this week.
Please pray with us that the world will heed the message that anti-Israel bias in the U.N. is growing and unacceptable. Also pray for:
- Protection of Jewish people worldwide as anti-Semitism has grown to its highest level since UNESCO was formed after WWII
- Protection of Israeli citizens and young people in the military who face the consequences of the unbalanced Arab influence in the U.N. and the growing tide of terrorism on Israel’s borders.
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