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The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) received a notification on Thursday of the United States' intention to withdraw at the end of 2018.

The U.S. Department of State announced in a Thursday statement that the U.S. had withdrawn from UNESCO and seek to establish a "permanent observer mission to UNESCO".

The US decision, which was followed by Israel, came after UNESCO voted last week in favor of two Palestinian resolutions on Jerusalem and education.

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan called on the U.S.to withdraw from UNESCO, according to Foreign Policy, over concerns of corruption and an ideological tilt toward the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War.

As China's candidate looked likely to lose anyway, the decision to withdraw and support Cairo is an easy but very beneficial move for Beijing.

The Reagan Administration made a decision to withdraw from the organization in 1984, at the height of the Cold War, citing corruption and what it considered an ideological tilt towards the Soviet Union against the West. President George W. Bush rejoined the organization in 2002, claiming it had gotten its books an order and expunged some of its most virulent anti-Western and anti-Israel biases.

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As a final point here, it's worth noting that this is not the first time the United States has pulled out of UNESCO, despite being a founding member. To protest the vote, both Israel and the United States stopped their funding to the organization and in 2014 lost their voting rights.

But the United States has and it continues to be charged tens of millions in dues each year and has lost its voting rights in UNESCO's principal decision-making body, which is known as the General Conference. In May, Netanyahu said Israel would cut another $1 million from its payments to the United Nations, bringing the total cuts since December 2016 to $9 million.

But, despite the current administration's "America First" track record, the United States has had a bit of a rocky history with UNESCO long predating Trump. In October 2011, UNESCO admitted the Palestinian territories to the organization as an independent member-state called Palestine.

Israel's United Nations ambassador on Thursday said Washington's decision to pull out of the world body's culture and education agency showed there was a "price to pay for discrimination against Israel". It will become a mere "observer state", with no dues paid and no contribution to how the organization is run. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, applauded Trump's decision to withdraw from UNESCO.

It isn't the first time the US has quit UNESCO.

But the organization isn't almost as prominent or geopolitically significant as the UN Security Council, which sets binding worldwide law, or UN Peacekeeping, a body literally tasked with helping war-torn countries transition to peace. To date, UNESCO has recognised three Palestinian world heritage sites - most recently, it recognised the old city of Hebron in the West Bank as a Palestinian heritage site in July.


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