Ahead of new vote, UNESCO chief vows to combat ‘distorted visions’ of history

The chief of the UN's education and culture agency, Irina Bokova of Bulgaria, August 21, 2015. (AP/Raad Adayleh)

The chief of the UN’s education and culture agency, Irina Bokova of Bulgaria, August 21, 2015. (AP/Raad Adayleh)

In letter to education minister, who severed ties with UN agency over Jerusalem resolution, Irina Bokova says she’ll fight denial of Israel’s right to exist

(SOURCE)   Ahead of a new UNESCO vote on a resolution that erases Jewish ties to Jerusalem, the head of the UN cultural agency vowed to combat efforts to undermine Israel’s right to exist, “including those drawing on partial or distorted visions of culture and history.”

In a letter dated October 18, UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova responded to Education Minister Naftali Bennett’s suspension of ties with the organization over a controversial resolution passed by its member states and ratified last week, which ignored Jewish and Christian ties to the Temple Mount.

The body’s World Heritage Committee is set to vote later this week on a similar text omitting Jewish connections to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.

“Allow me to reassure you of my absolute commitment to continue all efforts in countering all forms of anti-Semitism, including those drawing on partial or distorted visions of culture and history, as well as those that seek to challenge the existence of Israel,” Bokova wrote in the letter, a copy of which was distributed by Bennett’s office on Sunday.

“I am determined to continue working towards this objective and to redouble efforts to build trust on the basis of respect and mutual understanding, which are the guiding principle of the organization.”

Bokova noted that UNESCO decisions are taken by its member states rather than by the director-general of the organization and stressed she had in the past urged UNESCO members against exacerbating tensions with Jerusalem.

Following the controversial Temple Mount vote last week, Bennett announced he would end cooperation with UNESCO, saying the motion was a denial of history that “gives a boost to terrorism.”

Education Minister Naftali Bennett seen during the Council for High Education press conference in Jerusalem, on September 13, 2016. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Education Minister Naftali Bennett seen during the Council for High Education press conference in Jerusalem, on September 13, 2016. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

The UNESCO resolution approved last week, which was sponsored by several Arab countries, referred to the Temple Mount and Western Wall only by their Muslim names and condemned Israel as “the occupying power” for various actions taken in both places. As the site of the two Biblical temples, the mount is the holiest place in Judaism.

Israelis and many Jews around the world viewed the move as the latest example of an ingrained anti-Israel bias at the United Nations, where Israel and its allies are far outnumbered by Arab countries and their supporters.

In her letter Bokova noted a statement she published after the approval of the October 13 UNESCO resolution on the Temple Mount in which she rebuked member states for the vote.

 She also pointed out that in the past she had “appealed to the UNESCO Executive Board to take actions that do not further inflame tensions on the ground and that encourage respect for the sanctity of the Holy Sites.”

In what she said was an example of UNESCO’s commitment to peace and dialogue, Bokova highlighted a 2014 international UN exhibit on the history of the Jewish people’s ties to the Land of Israel — the opening of which had been delayed for six months due to pressure from Arab states that sought to cancel the event altogether.

An aerial view of the Dome of the Rock, left, in the compound known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif and to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem's old city, and the Western Wall, center, the holiest site for Jews, October 02, 2007. (AFP/JACK GUEZ)

An aerial view of the Dome of the Rock, left, in the compound known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif and to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem’s old city, and the Western Wall, center, the holiest site for Jews, October 02, 2007. (AFP/JACK GUEZ)

[/caption]The exhibit, entitled “People, Book, Land: The 3,500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People to the Holy Land,” was authored by Israeli historian Robert Wistrich for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which partnered with UNESCO on the initiative.

The exhibition was originally scheduled to open on January 20 that year, but due to pressure from Arab UNESCO delegates, who argued it would disturb Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, the event was postponed.

Following intense criticism of UNESCO’s decision, including by senior United States officials, the organization quickly rescheduled the exhibition for June 11, 2014.

AFP contributed to this report.

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3 comments

  1. Binyamin-Zerach Ben Moshe

    Of course, UNESCO and the whole of UN operations would deny the true history and also the prophecies concerning Jerusalem. The UN is an anti-Israel entity that refuses to acknowledge that Jerusalem is the central capital of the Promised Land, They deny the promises of Genesis 12:3 and 15:18-21 and still carry the hatred for all Israel, both the Jewish people already in a little sliver of the Promised Land and the vast majority who are still in the Galut (Exile).
    Soon it will be time for the Master Yahushua (Lord Jesus) to lead a remnant of Israel home in an Exodus from the nations that will dwarf the one from Egypt, per Jeremiah 16:14-19. Hundreds of millions of both the House of Yahudah and the House of Ephraim (the northern kingdom) will be going home, after nearly 3,000 years in the Galut (Hosea 6:2). Micah 5:5 says the Messiah will lead 7 shepherds (with their armies following, implied) to drive the heathens off the Har ha-Bayit (Temple Mount) and clear out of the Promised Land. He will set His throne in Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:1-4; Micah 4:1-4) and send out emissaries of peace to the nations. Through the removal of all evil from the face of the earth and the people learning Torah observance (the Master’s Way, not the rabbinic Jewish way), we will have peace on earth. HalleluYAH and omein, in the Master Yahushua’s Name, omein!

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