INJOOn Thursday, the State Department told the head of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) that it would withdraw its membership but continue participating as “a non-member observer state.”

According to reports from The Guardian and Associated Press, the United States was particularly perturbed by UNESCO's alleged anti-Israel bias.

Speaking to the AP, officials pointed to UNESCO blocking resolutions connecting holy sites to Jewish influence, as well as descriptions of Israel as occupying area of the Middle East.

In response, UNESCO's director-general lamented the U.S.'s decision as “a loss to both the organization and the U.S.” The U.S.'s participation, Director-general Irina Bokova said, was of particular importance now given “the rise of violent extremism and terrorism.”

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