As of January 1, 2019, America is no longer participating in UNESCO, The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. It completes the process begun in October of 2017.
The move reflects Washington’s anger at the organization’s anti-U.S. and anti-Israel bias. More than that, it demonstrates the growing American concern that the United Nations has become a tool of anti-free, anti-Western governments. Washington’s former U.N. Ambassador, Nikki Haley notes:
“Nowhere has the U.N.’s failure been more consistent and more outrageous than in its bias against our close ally Israel.”
It’s actually the second time the U.S. left the organization. in 1984, America withdrew from UNESCO due to its bias in favor of the Soviet Union. At the time, the State Department explained that the decision was made because...
“UNESCO has extraneously politicized virtually every subject it deals with, has exhibited hostility toward the basic institutions of a free society, especially a free market and a free press, and has demonstrated unrestrained budgetary expansion.”
Another key factor in the recent decision: For decades, budget-conscious U.S. elected officials have demanded withdrawal due to UNESCO’s fiscal corruption and wasteful spending.
Concerns over UNESCO’s anti-Israel bias were recently highlighted when, in December, the world body failed to pass a resolution condemning Hamas, a terrorist organization. The resolution actually received a majority of votes (87 for, 57 against) However, in a move far too typical of the manner in which anti-freedom, anti-human rights governments have hijacked the U.N., it didn’t pass because the General Assembly, in a separate vote, changed the rules on how large a majority was needed for passage. This maneuver occurred less than a half hour before the actual vote. America though a simple majority would be needed to pass the resolution.
In 2009, Richard Schifter, former U.S. representative to the United Nations Human Rights Commission during the 1980s, addressed a conference at the Fordham University Law School, describing how the world body was “hijacked” by anti-democratic nations with a particular animosity to the West in general, and Israel in particular.
The Times of Israel summarized his comments:
“Schifter offered a comprehensive description of how much of the positive work of the UN General Assembly ended around 1970 as a result of ‘the extraordinarily clever maneuvering of the totalitarians represented at the UN and the failure of the democracies to match their clever manipulations.’ And the individual he cited as being most responsible for this reversal was Cuban leader Fidel Castro who, according to Schifter, appointed a highly skilled group of diplomats to help build “a network of institutions that would operate in opposition to the United States.”
The reality of the U.N.’s anti-Semitism can be seen in a singular statistic: Since 2009, UNESCO has passed 71 resolutions condemning Israel and only two resolutions condemning all other countries combined.
Former deputy national-security adviser Eliot Abrams, writing in National Review, outlines one way the bias manifests: “For more than 20 years, the U.N. Human Rights Council has had a dedicated “Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.” (Needless to say, there’s no U.N. Special Rapporteur for the condition of Tibetans or Cubans; only Palestinians.)”
Over the years, some U.N. officials have ignored their functional duties and abused their position to engage in anti-American activities. A 2005 U.N. Watch report described a salient example:
“Jean Ziegler, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the right to food, is abusing his mandate to further his extreme anti-American political agenda at the expense of addressing the world’s food emergencies…During the first four years of his mandate, Jean Ziegler publicly criticized the United States on 34 occasions. Yet he never spoke out for the hungry or criticized any party in 15 of 17 countries deemed by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization to have a man-made food emergency. And of the 2 food emergency countries that he did criticize, he only did so once with respect to one (Ethiopia) and three times with respect to the other (Sudan). (Food emergencies ignored: Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Eritrea, Guinea, Haiti, Liberia, Russian Federation (Chechnya), Sierra Leone, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda)”
Frank Vernuccio serves as editor-in-chief of the New York Analysis of Policy and Government.