The United States has withdrawn from Unesco over what it claims is the organisation’s “continuing anti-Israel bias” – a move that has just been followed by Israel itself. The US State Department recently announced its intention to withdraw from the UN’s cultural, scientific and educational organisation and become a permanent observer instead.... The US has withdrawn from the organisation once before, during the Reagan administration. Former President Ronald Regan pulled the country from Unesco in 1984, claiming the body was biased in favour of the Soviet Union.
President George W Bush rejoined the organisation in 2002, but the US pulled its funding less than 10 years later after the organisation accepted Palestine as a member... the decision to withdraw from Unesco may also have been a financial one: the US owed more than $500m in arrears to the organisation and was at risk of losing it voting rights, according to Unesco documents. According to Foreign Policy, Mr Tillerson simply wanted to stem outgoings.