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UNESCO Crosses the Line Into Anti-Semitism

For decades, the United Nations has built an unsavory reputation as a cesspool of hatred for Israel that has often crossed the line into outright anti-Semitism. But anyone who thinks this behavior is limited to speeches at the General Assembly or even the hyper-political Human Rights Council that concentrates almost all of its attention on alleged infractions by democratic Israel while ignoring wholesale slaughters by Arab and Muslim tyrannies. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization or UNESCO is often treated as an apolitical agency but its efforts to delegitimize Israel have been every been as vicious as the actions of any other UN group. Its latest outrage came this week when its World Heritage Committee adopted a resolution that condemned Israel for allegedly conducting “illegal excavations” in the Old City; causing damage to structures on the Temple Mount; impeding restoration work on the Temple Mount; and damaging the “visual integrity” of the Old City by building the Jerusalem light rail system. These charges are a perversion of the truth. But by voting for a resolution that treats Jerusalem as a Muslim shrine as if Jewish history, either ancient or contemporary, didn’t exist, UNESCO isn’t just engaging in Jew-hatred, it’s also denying Christian ties to the holy city.

Interestingly, the UNESCO move comes only a week after CNN published an article on its website that treated Jerusalem as the first item on a list of 25 most endangered historical sites in the world. That the list omitted any mention of the actual destruction of ancient buildings and artifacts by ISIS terrorists in Palmyra, Syria exposed the network to ridicule. But CNN’s decision to lead with false information about Jerusalem showed the influence of UNESCO, which has kept Israel’s capital on a list of such endangered sites since 1982.

But the rationale for its inclusion on such a list is purely political. As I noted earlier this week when writing about CNN’s piece, it is only due to Israel’s efforts since the city’s unification during the Six Day War that much of the city’s ancient and holy sites have been preserved and cleaned up. After 19 years of vandalism by Jordan, which illegally occupied parts of the city until 1967, Israel restored the ramparts of the Old City walls and restored the ancient Jewish quarter as well as the Western Wall, which had treated as a garage dump by the Jordanians. Only under Israeli rule has there been free access for all faiths to the holy sites after many centuries in which both Christians and Jews have suffered restrictions. The only exception to that rule is on the Temple Mount, which remains under the authority of a Muslim Wakf and where Jewish prayers are banned.

It is comical to even address the complaints lodged against Israel, but let’s briefly note that the charge of undermining the structural integrity of the Temple Mount is simply a lie.


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