Tag Archives: UNESCO

Why does UNESCO Insist On Rewriting Israel’s History?

“UNESCO ignores the unique Jewish connection to the Temple Mount, the site of two temples for 1,000 years, and the place to which Jews prayed for thousands of years,” Netanyahu said in a statement last month.

No one should be surprised by UNESCO’s resolution, passed April 11th, yet politicians across the spectrum in Israel have reacted angrily towards a UN organization that has catapulted itself into the complicated political quagmire that is the Middle East.  After all, Yair Lapid expressed the outrage by explaining how the most recent decision goes against UNESCO’s charter.

“This resolution was an utterly irresponsible intervention in one of the most complex places in the Middle East. UNESCO prides itself on promoting tolerance, interfaith and intercultural dialogue, yet it passes resolutions which erase the Jewish people from the historical narrative,” Lapid said.

The resolution in question takes Israel to task for preventing Muslim access to the Temple Mount and even the Kotel. These two sites, holy to Jews around the world are named as Muslim/Palestinian holy sites Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al-Sharif and Buraq Plaza.

The resolution at one point says:

Further deplores the Israeli decision to approve a plan to build a two-line cable car system in East Jerusalem and the so called ‘Liba House’ project in the Old City of Jerusalem as well as the construction of the so called ‘Kedem Center’, a visitor centre near the southern wall of the Mosque, the construction of the Strauss Building and the project of the elevator in Al Buraq Plaza ‘Western Wall Plaza’ and urges Israel, the Occupying Power, to renounce the above-mentioned projects and to stop the construction works in conformity with its obligations under the relevant UNESCO conventions, resolutions and decisions.”

Another paragraph states:

Calls on Israel, the Occupying Power, to stop violations against the Waqf properties east and south of Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al-Sharif, such as the recent confiscations of parts of Al Youssefeyah cemetery and Al-Sawanah area by banning Muslims from burying their dead in some spaces and by planting Jewish fake graves in other spaces of the Muslim cemeteries, in addition to the dramatic change of the status and distinctive character of the Umayyad Palaces, in particular the violation of the continued conversion of many Islamic and Byzantine remains into the so-called Jewish ritual baths or into Jewish prayer places.”

With this sort of language, the government has essentially lost control of a process that began a long time ago.  The process of international delegitimization began by an Arab world seeking the help of other UN member states, has systematically attempted to erase Jewish history in Israel for the sole purpose of rendering Israel’s existence just one long occupation based on historical fabrications.

The question isn’t why the Arab world is engaging in such profuse insanity, but rather why is the rest of the Western world going along with it?  After all, by supporting UNESCO’s denial the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount or even most of the Land of Israel, many countries in the Christian world have in fact undermined the roots to their own history. So why the rush to support such erroneous claims by the Islamic countries pushing these sorts of resolution?

In his book 1984 George Orwell penned what has now become one of his most famous quotes: “Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.” The UN and its associated organizations like UNESCO understand full well that history supports Jewish claims in their entirety to all of the Land of Israel.  More than this, history shows that is was not only the Roman Empire and later the Byzantines that contributed to the injustices of the Jewish people in their historic homeland, but the Arab world by and large finished off through forced colonizationwhatever fledgling community of Jews remained in the Land of Israel.

Dr. Harry Mandelbaum noted the following in an article he wrote for Think Israel:

  • The historian James Parker wrote: “During the first century after the Arab conquest [670-740 CE], the caliph and governors of Syria and the Holy Land ruled entirely over Christian and Jewish subjects. Apart from the Bedouin in the earliest days, the only Arabs west of the Jordan were the garrisons.”
  • In year 985 the Arab writer Muqaddasi complained: “the mosque is empty of worshipers… The Jews constitute the majority of Jerusalem’s population” (The entire city of Jerusalem had only one mosque?).
  • In 1377, Ibn Khaldun, one of the most creditable Arab historians, wrote: “Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel extended over 1400 years… It was the Jews who implanted the culture and customs of the permanent settlement”

These are uncomfortable facts if you are trying to paint the opposite picture.

In order to perpetrate a future dismantling of the 3rd Jewish Commonwealth in its historic boundaries, the claims of the Jewish people must be returned to the realm of myth.  Does this in fact cut away at the roots of Christianity?  It does, but Constantine through the Council of Nicea in 325 showed that he and the Church were perfectly comfortable in doing away with Christianity’s roots by reworking history and projecting that rebuilt history back onto the past.

UNESCO is in a sense doing what the Council of Nicea did centuries ago; attempting to permanently control the future by controlling the past.  The irony is that today’s Church has by and large made peace with the idea that the Judaism serves as their religion’s roots.  Despite this acceptance, their overtures to the Jewish people came about precisely because of the Jewish Nation’s return to its historic homeland, which destroyed one of the major tenets of early Church philosophy known as the wandering Jew.

The assumption by the Church, was the exile of the Jewish Nation came about due to a rejection of Jesus, proving covenant between the Jews and the Almighty to be null and void.  According to the Church this exile would continue forever.  Aurelius Prudentius Clemens said as far back as 400 CE: “From place to place the homeless Jew wanders in ever-shifting exile, since the time when he was torn from the abode of his fathers and has been suffering the penalty for murder, and having stained his hands with the blood of Christ whom he denied, paying the price of sin.” The Church was forced to dismantle this tenet upon the Jewish people’s return.  By reversing this sort of doctrine, the Church is essentially accepting the veracity of the Mosaic covenant.

Supporting UNESCO or at least remaining silent stems from the inherent need to deny a national connection the Holy Land for the Jewish people. For the world, this history, the history of the Nation of Israel and its connection to its land has become a burden. After all, it is far easier to deal with the Jewish burden than the Muslim one and perhaps, just perhaps that tenet of the wandering Jew, so vital to the Church and many Christian theologians, will be reinstated in a very careful way.

The nefariousness of all of this is of course obvious, but what is perhaps more telling is that the Israeli government has assumed this is just some sort of mistake or lack of knowledge. It isn’t, and the faster it understands this, the faster it can start pushing back successfully.

David Mark is founder of www.IsraelRising.com. He is a land of Israel activist and an advocate for the indigenous right of the Jewish people in their ancestral homeland, which includes reclaiming Jewish property in historically Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem. He lives south of Hebron,

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UNESCO’s Collapse of Credibility

Lying and spinning history are becoming an international disease.  On May 3, 2016, the world learned that the White House had deliberately falsified information about Obama administration’s relations with Iran.  A month earlier, the spinning and falsification of history had been demonstrated at the headquarters in Paris of UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.

Yet the difference between the two is meaningful.  Whatever one’s views of the correctness of U.S. policy on Iran, the White House acted for political reasons, though falsely, to score a policy success.  UNESCO was created in 1945 after World War II not as a political body, but to contribute to peace that would be established on the basis of humanity’s moral and intellectual solidarity.

UNESCO betrayed its own principles and ethos by the resolution, passed by the Executive Board on April 16, 2016.  Not only inaccurate historically and factually, the resolution was one partly of self-protection for reasons of security, but mainly based on hatred and animosity toward the State of Israel and, on the part of some countries, of anti-Semitism.

The resolution, submitted by seven Arab countries including Egypt, passed by 33 in favor, 6 against, and 17 abstentions.  France, Spain, Russia, and Sweden voted in favor; the U.S, the U.K., and Germany voted against.  The vote of France, which has experienced terrorist massacres in Paris, was particularly surprising and disappointing.  UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova dissociated herself from the resolution, saying it was a political decision by the economic council and the management council of UNESCO and that she herself was opposed to it.

UNESCO does not have a good record regarding Israel and Jewish holy places.  In 2010, and again in October 2015, resolutions proclaimed that Rachel’s tomb near Bethlehem and the Cave with the tombs of the Jewish patriarchs in Hebron (Ma’arat HaMachpela), which are mentioned in Genesis, are Islamic holy sites.  The new 2016 resolution reaffirms that the two sites are an integral part of “Palestine” and calls on Israel to end its illegal archeological excavations there.

The resolution in strong terms condemned Israeli actions in east Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza Strip, but most pointedly it concentrated on supposed Israeli actions on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and the Plaza of the Western Wall in the Old City.  The resolution referred to the area of the Temple as al-Aqsa Mosque/al-Ha-ram al Sharif, and to the Western Wall as al-Buraq Plaza, implying they are regarded as Muslim areas.  UNESCO thus refused to recognize the 3,000-year historic and religious connection between the Jewish people and those holy sites in Jerusalem and in Israel.

For some years the Palestinian Authority and Hamas have used spin and false rumors that Israel intended to change the status quo on the Mount.  The UNESCO majority accepted the spin and charged that Israel does not respect the integrity, authenticity, and cultural heritage of the mosque as a holy site of worship.  The resolution requires Israel to restore the status of the Mount to what it was before 1967.

This in itself is the height of hypocrisy as well as the rewriting of history.  Two things are pertinent.  One is that since 1967 and Israeli control of Jerusalem, all faiths have had access to the holy places in the city.  By comparison, in the period, 1948 to 1967, when the area of Jerusalem and the West Bank were under Jordanian control, the city was physically divided, Jewish civilians were attacked, and 57 synagogues were destroyed.

The second factor is that conditions in the disputed area changed in September 2000, when Arafat deliberately started the Second Intifada and falsely declared that Israel was about to change access to the Mount.  In fact, at that time, the Jordan Wakf had full control of the area, including access to it.  Today, the site is under the authority, but not the control, of the Wakf.  It was the very Palestinian riots provoked by Arafat that led to Israeli control of access to the site for security reasons.

Today, only Muslims are allowed to pray on the Mount.  Jewish worship has been forbidden there since 1967.  The resolution calls on Israel not to restrict Muslim worshippers from access to the mosque, but Israel has never had any intention to do so.

Not surprisingly, the UNESCO majority accepted the Palestinian Narrative of Victimhood and saw Israel as the repressive occupying power.  But it is morally reprehensible that it agreed to the Palestinian attempt to erase the historic connection between the Jewish people and its holy sites.  In addition, the majority forgot that the Palestinian Authority has laid claim not simply to Jewish sites, but also to the Christian Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

The one-sided resolution continued its misleading and false charges.  It condemned Israeli plans to build a prayer space for women at the Western Wall.  It charged that Israel had placed Jewish fake graves in spaces in Muslim cemeteries on Wafk property near the Temple.  It condemned the “new cycle of violence” since October 2015 but laid the blame on the victims of terrorism in Israel.  It accused Israel of the continued conversion of many Islamic and Byzantine remains into the “so-called” Jewish ritual baths or Jewish prayer places.

Again not surprisingly, without mentioning the continuing rocket attacks by Hamas on Israel and the projected use of tunnels in order to attack Israel civilians, UNESCO deplored the continuous Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip and the intolerable number of casualties among Palestinian children.  UNESCO appears ignorant of the reports including the important one by Amnesty International that indicates the use of children by Hamas for military purposes and stresses the war crimes committed by Hamas.

It is shameful that UNESCO, set up for peaceful purposes to promote intercultural dialogue, has been misused for political purposes.  Its one-sided resolutions against Israel and its citizens demonstrate that it has become a vehicle for hatred, not peace.

UNESCO: Building Bigotry in the Minds of Men and Women

by Claudia Rosett

The United Nations cultural agency has disgraced itself again, deciding at the last minute to postpone an exhibition of the 3,500-year relationship of the Jewish people to the Holy Land. This exhibition, co-sponsored by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, was due to open this past Monday at the Paris headquarters of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). But last week 22 Arab states sent a letter to UNESCO’s secretariat, protesting that this exhibition could endanger the “peace process.” (French text of the letter here, courtesy of UN Watch).

 

UNESCO’s secretariat — namely, its director-general, Irina Bokova — could have replied that any peace process that could be remotely endangered by a display of the long history of  Jewish ties to the Holy Land is no peace process at all.Bokova could have told the Arab states that UNESCO has no interest in trying to delegitimize the state of Israel at their behest, which is what this UNESCO delay is really all about. Bokova could have proclaimed that anti-Semitism has no place at the UN, and for any of UNESCO’s member states to insinuate it into the agenda is a jarring affront at a cultural agency dedicated, in the words of its motto (condensed from UNESCO’s charter and amended for political correctness), to “building peace in the minds of men and women.” She could have added that it is thug politics for many of UNESCO’s member states to employ the cultural agency as a vehicle for passing round after round of resolutions singling out Israel as a target of UNESCO condemnations. Bokova could have shown backbone and leadership by giving her blessing to the exhibition, “People, Book, Land — The 3,500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People to the Holy Land,” and insisting that it open on schedule. She could have turned up to celebrate it as an important element in the history of the Middle East, a genuine contribution to any real hope of peace.

Instead, UNESCO’s secretariat put out a press release last Friday, announcing that in the context of the Arab protest, “regrettably, UNESCO had to postpone the inauguration of the exhibition.” The press release went on to attribute this decision to UNESCO’s “relentless efforts to achieve consensus between Member States on all issues falling within UNESCO’s educational, scientific, and cultural mandate.”

 

That’s a fascinating admission, of sorts — implying that UNESCO is guided not by principle, or truth, but by “consensus.” And what, exactly, does UNESCO mean by “consenus”? UNESCO has 195 members. There is no sign here that they were all consulted and with one voice agreed to defer to the Arab states. For that matter, both the U.S. and Canada protested the decision to delay the exhibition. In other words, there was no consensus on any side of this matter. Rather, there was a relentless effort by UNESCO to justify an anti-Semitic decision by packaging it in a heap of UN baloney.

 

On Tuesday, UNESCO disgraced itself even further, trying to deflect criticism with yet more baloney. Out rolled another UNESCO press release, this one saying “UNESCO wishes to reaffirm that the exhibition has not been cancelled but postponed.” Apparently there is now a discussion going on with the Simon Wiesenthal Center, in which UNESCO wishes to “finalize the last points” (what “last points”? The exhibition was in the midst of being set up for a Jan. 20th opening, when UNESCO last week abruptly pulled the plug). The opening date has now been moved to June.

 

Meanwhile, as UNESCO last week began shunting the Jewish history display out of the way in the name of the “peace process,” the UN in New York, also in the name of the “peace process” was launching an International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. More on that in my Forbes article on “‘Peace’ and Prejudice at the United Nations” — where evidently some people are more equal than others.

 

UNESCO is now touting its plans on Jan. 27 to commemorate the Holocaust (or might UNESCO, in the interest of consensus, postpone that, as well, should any member state object?). At least UNESCO is not trying to deny that piece of history. But when UNESCO  and the UN reward and promote bigotry in the name of peace, selectively “postponing” a few thousand years of Jewish history in deference to those who would try to rewrite reality by censoring Israel’s claim to a place in the Middle East, that is a step toward inviting the next Holocaust.

 

Back in 2011, UNESCO lost its U.S. funding when its members voted to admit the Palestinians to full membership before they had satisfied their Oslo promises to arrive at viable statehood by way of negotiations with Israel. That triggered U.S. laws forbidding government funding to any international body that might attempt this end run. Since then, UNESCO has been lobbying for the U.S. to override its own laws in order to re-open the money spigot and resume lavishing some $80 million per year in U.S. taxpayer dollars (with a quarter billion or so of “arrears” thrown in) on this UN hub of selective “consensus,” which masquerades as a “cultural” agency. UNESCO’s problem — amid the luxuries of its central Paris headquarters —  is not a lack of funding. It is a desperate lack of a moral compass.