On Thursday, U.S. officials told The Associated Press that the United States is leaving UNESCO. Why? The U.S. believes the organization has an anti-Israeli bias. Instead, the U.S. will act as an observer while continuing to contribute opinions and expertise. State Department said in a statement The United States' ties to UNESCO began during the second World War, in which the country helped found the organization to promote peace. “Universality is critical to UNESCO‘s mission to strengthen international peace and security in the face of hatred and violence, to defend human rights and dignity,” Irina Bokova, current Director General of UNESCO The U.S. also owed the UNESCO $500 million in arrears, which risked its voting rights within the organization.