US to rejoin UNESCO four years after quitting over anti-Israel bias

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US to rejoin UN cultural body 4 years after it quit over anti-Israel bias

The US will return to the UN cultural agency UNESCO, which it quit in 2019 together with Israel over its bias against the Jewish state.

UNESCO director Audrey Azoulay writes to other member states that the US has informed her of its intention to rejoin the organization next month.

“This is a strong act of confidence, in UNESCO and in multilateralism. Not only in the centrality of the Organization’s mandate – culture, education, science, information – but also in the way this mandate is being implemented today,” Azoulay says in a statement.

Then-US and Israeli leaders Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu both fully withdrew from the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in 2019.

Last year US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Israel supported the return of the US. However, since then Netanyahu has returned to power.

Israel was angered by decisions that included recognizing the Tomb of the Patriarchs, in the Old City of Hebron in the West Bank, as a Palestinian world heritage site in danger.

The Tomb of the Patriarchs is revered as the biblical burial place of the Jewish patriarchs and matriarchs. Israel says the Hebron resolution — which refers to the city as “Islamic” — denies thousands of years of Jewish connection there.

Advocates for a US return say that Azoulay has successfully addressed charges of bias.

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