UNESCO Votes to Erase Historical Ties to Holy Sites in Israel

UNESCO Votes to Erase Historical Ties to Holy Sites in Israel

Report from BBI ICHRPP Newsletter

B’nai B’rith Had Spoken Forcefully Against Shameful, Dangerous Resolution

B’nai B’rith International condemns the outrageous vote by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) that erases the connection between Jews and their holiest site, the Temple Mount. Using Arabic names, while omitting others entirely or placing them in quotation marks, effectively reclassifies the Temple Mount and the Western Wall as primarily Islamic sites.

B’nai B’rith had sent letters to UNESCO executive board members imploring them to remember the irrefutable connection of Jews to these sites.

The UNESCO report was approved with 23 in favor, six against, 27 abstentions and two absent.

B’nai B’rith President Gary Saltzman had noted when the resolution was being discussed: “The U.N. and its agencies have been targeting Israel for years, but now the Palestinian Authority is again showing its true colors by pushing through a frontal attack on the history and very identity of Jews everywhere. The Temple Mount has always been the center of Jewish civilization, and the Western Wall, the remnant of Jews’ eternal religious devotion. This outrageous resolution will not break that bond, but it does bring into further disrepute UNESCO and the United Nations.”

And Executive Vice President Dan Mariaschin noted during the resolution’s preliminary phases: “This resolution aims to deny never-questioned historical truth in order to further a Palestinian political agenda. Those western democracies that abstained on this vote ought to know better, and should have taken an unambiguous stance in defense of history and of honesty.”

In their original letter, Saltzman and Mariaschin, along with Director of U.N. and Intercommunal Affairs David Michaels wrote “…we are writing to express our dismay at a resolution presented by the Arab Group to the Programme and External Relations Commission of the current session of the Executive Board of UNESCO. The resolution, entitled, ‘Occupied Palestine,’ is the latest in a line of Palestinian UNESCO resolutions that seek, in an especially outrageous manner, to disconnect the Jewish people from their universally recognized history in Jerusalem. While this resolution now contains a token line affirming the importance of Jerusalem to ‘the three monotheistic religions,’ the rest of the text of the resolution is a rehashing of the same false claims and offensive language that have plagued previous UNESCO decisions on the subject.”

B’nai B’rith further noted: “The Western Wall is a key component of the Temple complex that existed on the Temple Mount before the two ancient Jewish Temples were destroyed, first by the Babylonians and then by the Romans. The Temple Mount is and always has been the single holiest site in Judaism and the focal point of Jewish civilization, the spot toward which Jews everywhere have prayed for thousands of years.”

“We strongly appeal for you to join in moving the Executive Board in a new direction that restores UNESCO’s essential credibility by voting against this damaging resolution and by calling for an end to the fundamentally ahistorical and anti-Semitic denial of the very identity of the Jewish people,” the letter concluded.

This is yet further evidence of how far UNESCO and the World Body overall have fallen from the mission of the United Nations.