185th Executive Board
U.S. Rejects Anti-Israel Resolutions at UNESCO
In October, the United States broke with UNESCO’s long-tradition of consensus and voted against five resolutions that unfairly singled out Israel, and which can only serve to politicize the organization’s work.
In the past, those items related to the Mughrabi Ascent, Jerusalem, Gaza and educational and cultural institutions in the Palestinian territories have always noted UNESCO’s accomplishments, cited continuing challenges, and encouraged all parties to work together toward a common goal, consistent with UNESCO’s mission.
During this Executive Board, the Arab states sponsoring the five resolutions made clear their unwillingness to negotiate, leaving one-sided, empty political condemnations that the United States felt were unhelpful to all involved parties. UNESCO’s expertise does not lie in accounting for the work of other United Nations bodies, nor should it take on a political role that it was neither conceived for, nor is within its competence.
Ambassador David Killion voted NO on all five of the Middle East resolutions before the Executive Board, and gave an “explanation of vote” following the decisions, clearly expressing the United States’ position on these issues. In voting against the UNESCO draft decision that stated that Rachel's Tomb and the Tomb of the Patriarch's are "an integral part of the occupied Palestinian Territories", Ambassador Killion stated "...we cannot support this draft decision, which supposes authority that UNESCO does not and cannot possess".
The United States is hopeful that UNESCO’s Member States will avoid further politicization of these issues, and remains committed to finding solutions on these and other problems through consensus.