Saturday, October 15, 2016

UNESCO resolution fallout

TEMPLE MOUNT WATCH: Israel suspends cooperation with U.N. cultural agency over Jerusalem resolution (Ruth Eglash, Washington Post).
JERUSALEM — Israel announced Friday that it would suspend cooperation with the top U.N. cultural agency, charging that the international body ignored Jewish ties to its holiest site.

Israeli officials had reacted angrily to a UNESCO draft resolution approved Thursday that criticizes Israel’s actions in and around Jerusalem’s holiest site and fails to explicitly refer to the Jewish connection to the place.

Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett said the UNESCO decision “denies history and encourages terror.”

As I said before, UNESCO is not doing its reputation any good with this one. And I have no praise for the Washington Post for the following (my emphasis):
While acknowledging that the “Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls” are important for “the three monotheistic religions” — Judaism, Islam and Christianity — the resolution stops short of mentioning the significance of the site, where two Jewish temples are believed to have once stood, as holy to Jews.
The phrase "are believed to have" makes the existence sound like religious belief or a matter of faith. Something more robust is called for. The writer could have said, for example, "where archaeologists agree two Jewish temples once stood." More on that here and links.

It is telling that the Director-General of UNESCO felt she had to part ways with this resolution: Head of UNESCO highly critical of Temple Mount and Western Wall resolution (Big News
PARIS, France - UNESCO’s Director-General Irina Bokova has broken ranks with the international body she heads, criticising this week's 24-6 vote to designate the Temple Mount and its Western Wall as a purely Muslim religious site.

"As I have stated on many occasions, and most recently during the 40th session of the World Heritage Committee, Jerusalem is the sacred city of the three monotheistic religions - Judaism, Christianity and Islam," she said Friday. "It is in recognition of this exceptional diversity, and this cultural and religious coexistence, that it was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list."

"The heritage of Jerusalem is indivisible, and each of its communities has a right to the explicit recognition of their history and relationship with the city. To deny, conceal or erase any of the Jewish, Christian or Muslim traditions undermines the integrity of the site, and runs counter to the reasons that justified its inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage list."

Good for her.

Background here and links.