According to the American Foreign Policy news site, the White House is planning to pull out of UNESCO in an attempt to save money and due to the UN body’s anti-Israel bias. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reportedly made the decision, which allows America to remain as an observer state in the organization, a few weeks ago.

UNESCO and Jerusalem

UNESCO and Jerusalem Photo Credit: Serge Attal/FLASH90

The United States is planning to formally pull out of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) due to the body’s anti-Israel bias and in an attempt to save money, the American Foreign Policy news site reported late Wednesday night. According to the report, the move, which is expected to be announced as early as next week, would allow the US to remain as an observer state in the organization that it helped establish after World War II.

Over the past few years, the Paris-based agency has adopted several controversial resolutions regarding political issues related to the conflict in the Middle East. UNESCO has recently renounced the Jewish connection to the Western Wall, rejected Israel’s sovereignty in Jerusalem and formally declared the Cave of the Patriarchs a Palestinian site.

The Foreign Policy report stated that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made the decision about withdrawing from the UN body a few weeks ago. During the meeting between French President Emmanuel Macron and US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the 2017 session of the UN General Assembly, Tillerson stated that the White House is debating whether to pull out of the agency. Macron, according to sources, tried to convince Trump to support the French candidate running for the UNESCO director-general position.

On Wednesday, for the first time since 2011, the votes on two anti-Israel resolutions were unanimously postponed by UNESCO for half a year. “The achievement today is the result of difficult, exhausting and frustrating diplomatic work,” stated Israeli UNESCO Ambassador Carmel Shama-Hacohen.