Israel Won’t Oppose US Return to UNESCO, New Report Says
UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France. (Fred Romero/Pixabay)

Israel Won’t Oppose US Return to UNESCO, New Report Says

Israel will not oppose a US return to UNESCO, the United Nations UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Axios reported on Wednesday. The US left UNESCO in 2018, after announcing that it would leave a year prior over what the Trump administration called anti-Israel resolutions. Israel left at the same time. The US had actually not been providing funding to UNESCO since 2011, prevented from doing so under US law which made it illegal to fund the organization after it made Palestine a full member, the first UN agency to do so. According to Axios, the Biden administration had asked Israel several times in recent months not to oppose a US return to UNESCO. This agreement was necessary in order to encourage members of Congress to vote to waive the law that stopped the funding and to approve the allocation of $500 million to pay to UNESCO to wipe out its debt to the agency and rejoin it. The Biden administration wants to return to UNESCO to counter China’s growing influence over the agency’s agenda, Axios reported, citing unnamed Israeli officials. “It is very important to the Biden administration and it is not the same UNESCO. We received assurances that Israel will not be treated as it used to be treated,” a senior Israeli official told Axios. UNESCO has approved resolutions that have denied Jewish and Israeli ties to several sites including the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron and the Temple Mount in Israel.

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