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Herbert London: Israel And UNESCO

In 1945 UNESCO was organized to respond to the belief political and economic agreements are not sufficient in themselves to create a lasting peace. Peace, it was argued, must be established on the basis of humanity’s moral and intellectual solidarity. And so UNESCO exists to build understanding and respect for cultural diversity.

Unfortunately, the current leadership has adopted a new mission, one that undermines the old. The UNESCO World Heritage Committee by a vote of ten to two with eight abstentions voted to disenfranchise the Jewish people and reject the incontrovertible connection between the Jewish people and Jewish history on the Temple Mount.

This is not simply the airbrushing of history; this is unadulterated anti Zionism and arguably anti-Semitism. The UNSECO vote states unequivocally that the new mission of the organization is to placate Arab leaders by disrespecting the cultural diversity mentioned in its founding.

The resolution states that Temple Mount will be referred to only by its Muslim designation thereby removing Jewish ties to one of Israel’s most sacred sites. If one removes the rhetorical mist surrounding this decision, it should be seen as an Arab and Muslin campaign to delegitimize Israel’s existence.

Much has been written about the egregious UNESCO decision, but the context for this vote has been underestimated. This effect at delegitimizing Israel is part of the BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions), a systematic international effort to destroy the state by making Israel a rogue nation cut off from the councils of “reasonable” countries. Of course the Muslim nations (56 in the UN) have countenanced this activity and several European nations have joined the campaign.

The essence of the movement was revealed in a recent Palestinian Authority announcement. PA officials, including Abbas, argued that there must be a prolonged public relations effort to convince global opinion that Britain needs to “atone for [its] crime of the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which committed London to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine.” In unvarnished fashion, this announcement suggests the hostility to the very notion of Jewish sovereignty and an abiding refusal to accept Jewish legitimacy.

In declaring opposition to a document one hundred years old, Palestinians display hatred, a hatred that transcends generational attitudes. In fact, this hatred directed at Israel remains greater than Palestinian desire for its own independent entity.  Golda Meir once  said of this sentiment that the Palestinians should have a state when they love their own more than they hate the Jews. That day is certainly not here.

Sensible people everywhere should desist from perpetuating lies about holy Jewish sites, but even more significantly, there should be public condemnation of those Palestinians by the lame duck Obama administration. After all, if Jerusalem and the Temple Mount have no connection to Israel, then Palestinian propaganda can be deployed to promote terrorism and refusals to negotiate any peace accord.

It is not surprising that this anti-Zionist campaign is launched through the UN. For decades, the United Nations routinely condemned one nation, Israel. The Palestinian case is a UN public relations declaration of war against Israel. It is not grounded in reality; it is not bound to factual historical evidence. It is a cri de coeur aimed at building support for the political destruction of Israel that the Arabs cannot accomplish on the battlefield.

Herbert London is President of the London Center for Policy Research, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of the book The Transformational Decade (University Press of America). You can read all of Herb London’s commentaries at www.londoncenter.org

The views expressed by commentators are solely those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views of this station or its management.

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