State Dept. Defends U.S. Decision to Withdraw From UNESCO

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert on Thursday defended the Trump administration's decision to withdraw the United States from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.

Earlier on Thursday, the State Department announced that the U.S. had decided to leave UNESCO, citing the international body's "continuing anti-Israel bias" and "need for fundamental reform" as reasons for the move.

Reporters at the State Department press briefing asked Nauert if the decision was made because the Palestinian Authority is a full member of UNESCO. Nauert said that Congress previously passed a law that states the U.S. will provide no funding to a U.N. entity of which the Palestinians are a full member. She also called for reform at UNESCO and the U.N. more broadly.

Nauert then said that UNESCO has made anti-Israel "political statements" in the past. She would not speculate on whether the U.S. would pull out of other U.N. bodies as well.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the Trump administration's decision to leave UNESCO and announced his intention for Israel to pull out as well.