The time has finally come. Announced back in October, New Year’s Eve marks the official withdrawal of the United States from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The stated reasons for the exit are “mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organization, and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO.”
It’s long past time we left the organization – and the United Nations entirely – and now we’re not alone. World News Israel reported on Christmas Eve that Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed the Foreign Ministry to withdraw from UNESCO as well.
The organization – despite its alleged purpose of preserving culture and history – seems to want to edit the Jews right out of the history of Israel. UNESCO designated the ancient West Bank city of Hebron a Palestinian World Heritage site and uses Islamic names for the Western Wall and other historically Jewish areas.
The United Nations as a whole shows its hatred for Israel…
The United Nations as a whole shows its hatred for Israel every time it gets the chance. When the White House announced that we would finally officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital and move our embassy from Tel Aviv, the U.N. Security Council attempted to sanction us to nullify the order. Of course, we ignored that and moved anyway – and Guatemala joined us.
It’s understandable that the United States hadn’t made the move to Jerusalem or withdrawn from U.N. organizations and councils until now – just look at our more recent presidents – but it’s shocking that Israel hung in there so long.
Mocking Human Rights
What sort of reform is needed in UNESCO and the United Nations at large? For one thing, the United Nations makes a mockery of the human rights it ostensibly exists to protect by sheltering some of the worst human rights violators in the world. As Liberty Nation’s Jeff Charles wrote shortly after the withdrawal was announced:
“Another reason the U.S. is withdrawing from UNESCO is because of their decision to allow Syria to remain a part of its human rights committee despite the numerous atrocities Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has committed against his people. For decades, the U.N. has allowed nations that are notorious for their human rights abuses to influence the organization.”
Some other repeat offenders currently sitting on the council: China, Cuba, Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela. None of these countries is especially well-known as egalitarian bastions of liberty.
No More Money
The United States ceased funding UNESCO back in 2011, when it admitted Palestine as a full member. Technically, by remaining in the group and not paying up, we’ve built up a good deal of back dues. UNESCO didn’t seem in any hurry to give us the boot, however, so now we’re doing it ourselves. That’s good news for all of us who pay taxes in the United States.
Time to Go
This decision is long overdue, and if I could change anything, it would be to cut ties entirely – with UNESCO and the United Nations in general. As it is, the United States is leaving the voting members of the group but seeking to remain on as a “non-member observer state,” allowing us to offer opinions and advice, none of which is likely to be considered anyway, seeing as how UNESCO didn’t take us seriously even when we did have a vote.
As I’ve written before, it’s time to make a clean break with the United Nations. We’re contributing about $8 billion a year in member fees alone, 22% of the U.N. budget. Trump did reduce that amount by about 40% earlier this year, but that’s still a lot of tax dollars that could be staying in our paychecks – and it doesn’t count the cost of the other support we offer.
This might not be the complete withdrawal we need, but it’s progress. As Elmer Fudd once said, “Good widdance to bad wubbish!”