BERLIN, Oct. 13 (Xinhua) -- German policymakers and media have reacted with incomprehension and dismay on Thursday night to the decision made by the United States and Israel to retreat from the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
U.S. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement that the decision reflected "U.S. concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organization, and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO."
German policymakers and media were less sanguine about the latest episode of U.S. withdrawal from institutions and treaties which aim to promote multilateral cooperation.
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) took an unfavorable view of the two countries' exit, stressing the international importance of UNESCO.
There could be "no doubt" that Germany would continue to support the organization as a full member, Gabriel said.
The newspaper "Rheinische Post" pointed to similar decisions, including the U.S. exit from the Paris climate agreement, which showcased the "open hostility" of the current Trump administration towards multilateral policymaking.
The newspaper warned that Washington was making a "grotesque miscalculation" by shunning international cooperation because it thought it could go it alone.
The newspaper "Badische Zeitung" voiced similar concerns, arguing that a president who adopted an "America First" doctrine could not possibly understand the value of an organization which sought to improve inter-cultural understanding. At a time when heritage sites were already at a heightened risk from wars, the departure of the United States and Israel amounted to a "fatal signal."
The newspaper "Tagesspiegel" expressed hope that the U.S. departure could prove to only be temporary.