By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency
Jerusalem, Israel — October 14, 2016 … In a move which represents one of the largest acts of anti-semitism in modern history, UNESCO – the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization – voted on a draft text to remove all Jewish and Christian ties to Jerusalem.
The draft text was passed at a committee stage with 24 votes in favor, six against, and 26 abstentions. Two countries were absent. The draft will now be submitted to Unesco’s executive body, which will vote on whether to adopt it.
The city of Jerusalem began in a very early period, and testimonies to this appear in three different sources. There are references to this early settlement in the Bible (Genesis 14 — The story of Abraham and the Canaanite Kings), in archaeological findings, and in independent historical sources found in other lands that had maintained political and commercial ties with the Land of Israel (especially Egypt). In that early Canaanite period, Jerusalem was one of many independent city-states that existed in the region.
Jerusalem began to be considered a city of significant regional importance only after it was conquered by the Israelite King David a few centuries later. While, during the assignment of the Promised Land to the twelve Israelite tribes, Jerusalem became part of the area of the tribe of Benjamin, it was never actually conquered by the Israelites (see Judges 19). Only when King David conquered it, did Jerusalem begin to develop as an important political center — and moreover — a significant religious center.
When King Solomon died, between 926 and 922 BCE, the ten northern Jewish tribes refused to submit to his son, Rehoboam, and revolted. From this point on, there were two kingdoms of Hebrews: in the north – Israel, and in the south – Judah. The Israelites formed their capital in the city of Samaria, and the Judaeans kept their capital in Jerusalem.
“Today that organization adopted another delusional decision stating that the Jewish People have no connection to the Temple Mount or the Western Wall. Even if they do not read the Bible, I would suggest that UNESCO members visit the Arch of Titus in Rome. On it one can see what the Romans brought back to Rome after they destroyed and looted the Second Temple on the Temple Mount 2,000 years ago. There, engraved on the Arch of Titus, is the seven-branched menorah that is the symbol of the Jewish People and, I remind you, is also the symbol of the Jewish state today. Soon, UNESCO will say that the Emperor Titus engaged in Zionist propaganda.
To say that Israel has no connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall is like saying that China has no connection to the Great Wall of China or that Egypt has no connection to the pyramids. By this absurd decision, UNESCO has lost what little legitimacy it had left.”
Netanyahu concluded: “I believe that historical truth is stronger and that truth will prevail. And today we are dealing with the truth.”
The UNESCO document refers to the Temple Mount – a sacred hilltop only by the name “al-Aqsa Mosque/al-Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary).
Israel suspended cooperation with UNESCO today, a day after the U.N. cultural agency adopted a draft resolution that Israel says denies the deep, documented historic Jewish connection to holy sites in Jerusalem.
Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett said Unesco was ignoring “thousands of years of Jewish ties to Jerusalem” and was now aiding “Islamic terror” through hateful incitement, violence and Jihad.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said he was “outraged” by the vote, which he said in a statement “denies thousands of years of Jewish connection to Jerusalem’s Western Wall.
“Would UNESCO vote to deny the Christian connection to the Vatican? Or the Muslim connection to Mecca?” he asked.
“The UNESCO vote claims that there is no connection between the Jewish people and the Western Wall. In fact, it is the UNESCO vote that has no connection to reality.”
American Jewish Committee CEO David Harris called the resolution “another attempt to undermine the very foundation of the State of Israel and the documented, age-old historical Jewish connection to the land. And unlike previous such resolutions, notably, not one European nation lent its support this time.”
The United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Lithuania and Estonia joined the United States in voting against the UNESCO resolution. Other European countries abstained.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said the resolution “essentially expunges the 3,000 years of Jewish connection to Jerusalem.”
“Resolutions such as these poison the atmosphere and sow mistrust making steps toward reconciliation all the more difficult,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said.
AIPAC said in a statement that by approving such a resolution, UNESCO “undermines efforts to seek a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by giving support to forces in the Palestinian community that reject reconciliation. Unfortunately, this resolution is also demonstrative of Palestinian efforts to circumvent direct negotiations by manipulating international institutions.