unesco united states
Source: The Guardian

The US is pulling out of the UN's cultural organisation UNESCO, accusing it of "anti-Israel" bias.

The State Department said it would establish an observer mission at the Paris-based organisation to replace its current representation.

UNESCO said the withdrawal was a loss to the "UN family" and to multilateralism.

The agency is known for designating world heritage sites such as Syria's Palmyra and the US Grand Canyon.

The country hopes to remain a non-member, observer state, in order to contribute US opinions and expertise on issues like press freedoms and protecting world heritage.

According to Reuters, the State Department said in a Thursday statement:

"This decision was not taken lightly and reflects US concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organization, and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO."

UNESCO was founded in the wake of the Second World War, with the aim of ensuring peace through the free flow of ideas and education.

Full announcement by the US Department of State:

"Universality is critical to UNESCO’s mission to strengthen international peace and security in the face of hatred and violence, to defend human rights and dignity," said Irina Bokova, UNESCO's Director-General.

Statement from UNESCO's Director-General:

In 2011, the United States had cancelled its substantial budget contribution to UNESCO in protest at a decision to grant the Palestinians full membership.

At the time, members voted by 107 votes to 14 to accept Palestine as a full member state to loud cheers from delegates in Paris. 

52 countries, including the UK, abstained.

Here is how social media reacted following the announcement


"United States going backwards..."

Some even apologised on Trump behalf...

Simply put...