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Fighting UNESCO Words on Jerusalem

When UNESCO passed a Decision on Jerusalem in October last year, it did more than repeat the now too-usual anti-Semitic diatribe. It attacked the whole basis of Judeo-Christian civilization. The resolution tried to maintain that only Arabic/Muslim names were valid for Jerusalem. It simply wrote out any mention of any previous civilizations that attached their names to the Holy City.

The UNESCO affair is not just the matter for Israel but attacks European culture and civilization. Blindness of Europeans in face of this global challenge is destructive. European states are acting in a uncoordinated way.
On the 1st of May UNESCO’s Executive Board voted on the Decision under agenda item 30 on “Occupied Palestine”. Italy changed its previous abstention to a vote against. On the other, Sweden voted in favour of this Islamic-biased Resolution.
Both Europeans and Israelis should be made well aware at this affront to their history and culture. Especially omitted from last year’s resolution were any names evoking the ancient Israelite and continuous Jewish heritage of the City. These should be well-known to all educators, scientists and all cultures familiar with the People of the Book.
The resolution at the World Heritage Committee and UNESCO blamed “Israel, the Occupying Power” and its “so-called Antiquities Department”, while making no mention of more than forty truck loads of artifact-laden earth the Muslim Waqf has removed and disposed of without archaeological permission, examination or concern.
It prefers to mention a fabulous Muslim winged animal ‘smaller than a mule’ of a dream. It omits all mention of real Hebrew artifacts containing names of kings and their ministers showing continuous cultural achievements over three thousand years.
On the same day as the UNESCO resolution, the Israeli Antiquities Department announced the identity of a Hebrew language document dating from the seventh century BCE. It mentions ‘Jerusalem’ as the place of shipment for wine from a female merchant.

Jerusalem 7C Wine Papyrus xWho came up with this attempt to obliterate science and history? The draft was submitted by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, and Sudan, at the behest of the PA’s policy of cultural nihilism. This turns UNESCO’s role on its head. Such obscurantism is just what UNESCO was set up to oppose.

Irina Bokova, the Director General of UNESCO in a speech transmitted to the European Parliament on 30 March said:
“Jerusalem puts us in front of a radical choice. … 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.”
She added: “The protection and better understanding of the Heritage of Jerusalem is part of a broader vision for peace. It is part of a wider vision to fight against all forms of denial of Jewish history, de-legitimization of Israel, and anti-Semitism. This work is essential, as European know too well the ravages of war and anti-Semitism.”

Seal Bulla of King Hezekiah
Image courtesy of archaeologist Eilat Mazar, Photo: Ouria Tadmor

So why did so few European States, who owe their very civilization to the Book, vote against the Resolution? Why did so many simply abstain? That gave tacit support for undermining the foundations of Western civilization. Only five States voted against the Resolution in October. Why did countries like France and Spain just abstain on such a serious matter? What on earth possessed Sweden to vote for it, after a violent terrorist attack in central Stockholm? A truck was aimed especially at children. It left five people dead and many injured.

European foreign policy on UNESCO is coordinated by the EU’s European External Action Service, EEAS. What do they have to say? A group of concerned citizens requested all the working documents of EEAS leading up to this cultural catastrophe. They took the name Jerusalem Educational, Scientific and Cultural Office, JESCO.
The JESCO Freedom of Information request pointed out that Israel is the legitimate occupying power by law and history. (The attempt to use the term “Occupying Power” derogatively is as invalid as saying that a person who legal bought a house is an occupier.)
“The site was temporarily conquered by Arab, then Turkish and the British in WW1, but this does not give these groups present-day legality to property or other rights,” the request said. “The League of Nations and the UN recognized this area as Jewish Homeland.” Under international law, military conquest does not alter property rights.
What was the response of EEAS? All documents were refused. The Memorandum of Understanding between the European Union and UNESCO is however a public document. As might be expected many of the 27 articles in the three-page Memorandum stress the importance of respect for openness, human dignity, freedom, democracy, the rule of law and in particular freedom of expression and the media. It also mentions intercultural dialogue, raising awareness about the importance of education. How is it that not only UNESCO but European Union Member States have failed so miserably in their duties?
When formulating public policy, European States as democracies, should have open documents arrived at publicly. There is no excuse for secrecy that ends up in anti-Semitism and undermining Fundamental Rights and Freedoms.
The JESCO appeal against this refusal to supply basic information has also been turned down by EEAS. Further action is now likely. In the meantime, Europeans and Israelis should be aware of the forthcoming meeting of the UNESCO Executive Board and contact their UNESCO representatives. They should make sure the appalling lapses at UNESCO are reversed. Expunging factual history and replacing facts with fables is not UNESCO’s mission. Nor is turning UNESCO into an instrument of cultural jihadism. 


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Ira Harris 4 xInternational journalist and author David Price and international speaker Ira Harris have created JESCO to defend the Judeo-Christian heritage of Jerusalem . JESCO can be contacted at

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