The Philos Project Speaks Out Against U.N. Resolution Ignoring Jewish Link to Religious SitesThursday, October 13, 2016
In a 24-6 vote this morning, UNESCO backed a resolution that denied any Jewish affiliation with Judaism’s holiest religious sites in Jerusalem, the Temple Mount and the Western Wall.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization made the decision to refer to the sites by only their Muslim names, and in its resolution criticized Israel for what it called the nation’s “provocative abuses that violate the sanctity and integrity” of the two landmarks.
While 26 members of the United Nations’ cultural division abstained from the vote, 24 nations backed the resolution and a mere six voted against it. The document – voted on in Paris this morning – consistently referred to Israel as “the occupying power.”
It has been decried in Israel and by others around the world as being intellectually dishonest and culturally dehumanizing.
Robert Nicholson, the executive director of The Philos Project, denounced the decision by UNESCO in a statement this afternoon:
What can I say? This resolution is a blight on UNESCO and every state that voted for it or abstained for fear of the others.
It is incorrect to say that the Jewish people have no connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. The truth is that the Jewish people, and in particular a Jewish king, King Herod the Great, built the entire complex two millennia ago. Any historian or archaeologist worth their salt knows this to be true.
According to its constitution, UNESCO seeks to foster “peace and security by promoting collaboration among the nations through education, science and culture.” Yet this resolution ensures miseducation of the nations by disregarding archaeological science and denying an entire culture its rightful historical legacy.
Any chance for peace in the Middle East hinges on the ability of all parties to respect the cultural and political existence of the others. Willfully ignoring the Jewish connection to Jerusalem, and particularly to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall, only ensures that peace will remain unattainable in the near future.
UNESCO must withdraw its preliminary approval of this resolution to show the world that it is committed to being part of the solution rather than part of the problem.
The six countries who voted to support Israel’s ties to the Temple Mount and to the Western Wall were the United States, Great Britain, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Germany and Estonia.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin commented on the resolution, “No forum or body in the world can come and deny the connection between the Jewish people, the Land of Israel or Jerusalem – and any such body that does so simply embarrasses itself. We can understand criticism, but you cannot change history.”
The resolution – which can be read in its entirety here – was sponsored by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Sudan.