In 2011, the former US administration cut funding to UNESCO after its members voted to admit Palestine as a full member.
Trump is also reportedly considering withdrawing the United States from the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), which his administration accuses of being biased against Israel.
Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the UN, further warned that all UN agencies would be under similar scrutiny. She said the US will evaluate all UN agencies “through the same lens.”
“The purpose of UNESCO is a good one. Unfortunately, its extreme politicization has become a chronic embarrassment,” Haley claimed in a statement, and added, “Just as we said in 1984 when President Reagan withdrew from UNESCO, US taxpayers should no longer be on the hook to pay for policies that are hostile to our values and make a mockery of justice and common sense.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Washington’s decision as “brave” and “moral,” saying he has instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to prepare for Israel’s withdrawal as well.
“UNESCO has become a theater of the absurd because, instead of preserving history, it distorts it,” Netanyahu said in a statement.
The UN agency has repeatedly angered the regime in Israel by standing up for the right of Palestinians.
Last month, it approved a motion that endorsed the right of the Palestinians to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound and slammed Israeli provocations around the holy site.
Palestine became the 195th full member of UNESCO in October 2011, triggering a cut in Tel Aviv’s funding to the agency.
It is not the first time the US and its allies seek to exert pressure on a UN organization, which moves to put their interests at risk by exposing their rights violations and other crimes.
In 2016, the US-backed coalition of Saudi Arabia and its allies was briefly added to a UN blacklist for children rights violations during the war on Yemen. It was, however, removed shortly afterwards by then UN chief Ban Ki-moon, who accused Saudi Arabia of exerting “unacceptable” pressure on the international body and threatening to cut its UN funding.