(Washington, D.C., Oct. 21, 2015)—B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
Today the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Executive Board passed a resolution predictably condemning Israel for a wide range of baseless accusations, but the most offensive proposal—to designate the Western Wall as an “integral part of the Al-Aqsa Mosque”—was not included in the final resolution.
The vote count for the resolution was 26 for, 6 against and 25 abstentions.
B’nai B’rith praises the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States for voting against the resolution at the Executive Board session today.
On Monday B’nai B’rith spoke out about this very issue, and B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs and Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin wrote a letter to UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova condemning the malicious resolution and urged her to steer UNESCO’s Executive Board away from such a vile proposal.
On Tuesday Bokova ultimately issued a statement deploring the resolution and calling on the UNSECO Executive Board to “take decisions that do not further inflame tensions on the ground and that encourage respect for the sanctity of the Holy Sites.”
Days later the proposed policy, which would have been a systematic and undisguised erasure of Jewish national and religious history, was removed.
While the redesignation of the Western Wall was left out, there are still many other egregious points contained in this resolution supported by Afghanistan, Algeria Argentina, Bangladesh, Belize, Brazil, Chad, China, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, the Dominican Republic, India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Mali, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Russian Federation, Tunisia and United Arab Emirates.
The resolution widely condemns Israeli “aggression” against Palestinians, never mentioning the murderous wave of terror attacks against Israel’s Jews that has left seven dead and 30 injured. It also accuses Israel of denying Muslims the right to worship at the Temple Mount and makes absurd complaints about, among other things, the construction of an elevator at the Western Wall.
Furthermore, the UNESCO resolution recycled one of its rote motions of that calls on Israel to change the designation of two Jewish holy sites—the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron and the Tomb of Rachel in Bethlehem—as Palestinian historical sites. This is yet another blatant attempt by the Palestinians and a United Nations body to deny Jews their history and identity. B’nai B’rith International will continue to call attention to these issues to ensure that does not happen.
Abstaining on the vote were Austria, France, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Ukraine, Angola, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Malawi, Uganda, Togo, Japan, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of Korea and Thailand.