The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) voted Thursday in favour of a draft decision on "Occupied Palestine," which ignores the Jewish connection to Jerusalem and Jewish holy sites, referred to throughout the resolution only by their Islamic names.
By weighing in on security concerns that have nothing to do with cultural or educational issues, UNESCO is grossly overreaching its mandate. Furthermore, the resolution echoes the sustained campaign of incitement that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his government have been levelling against Israel for months.
Just as Abbas decrying that Jews “have no right” to visit the Temple Mount with their “filthy feet” served as the catalyst for the recent stabbing intifada in Israel, so too could the UNESCO resolution – if it passes when it comes up for formal approval next week – be complicit in provoking further terrorism against Jews.
“By furthering the libel that Israel is ‘carrying out aggressions’ against Palestinian schoolchildren and restricting Muslims from worshipping at these holy sites, UNESCO is now complicit in incitement against Jews,” said Michael Mostyn, CEO of B’nai Brith Canada. “This resolution is only adding fuel to the fire of antisemitism already being promoted by the Palestinian Authority.”
The resolution, submitted on behalf of the Palestinian Authority by six Arab UNESCO member states, was adopted in a 24-6 vote at the committee stage, with 26 abstentions. The United States, Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom voted against the resolution, ironically timed at the conclusion of Yom Kippur. It will most likely be ratified next week.
“On Wednesday night, as Yom Kippur came to a close, hundreds of thousands of Canadian Jews ended their fast with a prayer: to ‘spend next year in Jerusalem,’” Mostyn said. “Zionism is an essential element of Judaism. While this resolution is a calculated bid to erase Jewish, archaeological and biblical history, UNESCO’s anti-Jewish smear campaign will not be successful.”
If you would like your name added as a signatory to B’nai Brith Canada’s letter to UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova demanding that this resolution not be passed, sign here.