“This decision was not taken lightly, and reflects U.S. concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organization, and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO,” the State Department said in a statement.
The decision comes after a series of anti-Israel decisions by the body, including accepting Palestine as a permanent member in 2011 and most recently in July declaring the Tomb of the Patriarchs – considered the second holiest site in Judaism after the Temple Mount – to be a Palestinian world heritage site in danger.
Another UNESCO decision recently disavowed Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem.
Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Danny Danon hailed the move as a “turning point” for UNESCO:
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UNESCO has become a battlefield for Israel bashing and has disregarded its true role and purpose. Today’s decision is a turning point for UNESCO. The organization’s absurd and shameful resolutions against Israel have consequences. Today is a new day at the UN, where there is price to pay for discrimination against Israel.