The Great Invalidation
A look at the damage the United Nations has done by venturing into what Benjamin Netanyahu has rightly called “The theater of the absurd.”
“Next year in Jerusalem!” As they have since the Jewish people were scattered around the world in AD 70, these words will ring out on the evening of April 10 at the close of Passover seders everywhere. Yet, if the United Nations has its way, Jewish people will instead say, “Next year in al-Quds.”
The fact was made clear by two important UN resolutions passed late in 2016 that condemn Israel and refer to it as an “occupying power.” The first was adopted by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in October; the second, Resolution 2334, by the UN Security Council in December.
Al-Quds is the Arabic name for Jerusalem. Both resolutions are deliberate attempts to eradicate the Jewish connection to Judaism’s holiest city. They refer to the Temple Mount (where the al-Aqsa mosque and golden Dome of the Rock reside) exclusively by its Arabic name, al-Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary).
Other Jewish sites, including the Western Wall, Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem, and the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, also are called only by their Arabic names. These actions are deliberate anti-Semitic attacks on Israel.
They are also attacks on me. As a young boy growing up in a Jewish home, I cherished the traditions associated with Passover. Though I had not yet travelled to the Promised Land, the seder linked me inextricably to the Jewish people and the Jewish state.
When I followed the Passover ritual as a youngster and opened the outside door of my grandparents’ home in hopes of inviting in Elijah the prophet to announce the Messiah’s arrival, I felt an expectancy and hope that the Messiah would come and take all Jewish people back to Israel to live in peace.
As my grandfather recited the liturgy from the Haggadah, I could feel the cold spring air of Cleveland, Ohio, rush past me. I thought, Maybe Elijah will come. Then I ran up the stairs to see if he had—and if he had sipped from the cup we set for him on the seder table. Of course, I was disappointed when I saw it was still full. But there was always hope. Maybe he will come next year. Maybe next year, all Jews will be in Jerusalem, I thought.
The United Nations is attempting to invalidate the memories, traditions, and history of millions of Jewish people like me.
But I’m not the only one affected. I think back to another Passover, the final one the Lord Jesus celebrated in Jerusalem around AD 33—not far from the Temple Mount, where the second Jewish Temple stood at the time. Not far from the Mount of Olives.
Jesus the Messiah took matzoh (unleavened bread), blessed it, gave it to His disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body” (Mt. 26:26). He also took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (v. 28). At that moment, He created another remembrance. This one, cherished by believers around the world, is the church ordinance of communion.
By stripping Jerusalem of its Jewish identity, the UN also stripped away Christian history and practice. These despicable resolutions not only attack Israel and the Jewish people but also every Bible-believing Christian.
Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Germany’s propaganda minister, famously said, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” These lies involve rewriting history, and some people believe them. The UN is trying to rob the Jewish people of 4,000 years of their history and to erase 2,000 years of Christian history.
The narratives in the Gospels, written 600 years before the birth of Islam, focus on the Jewish God-Man, Jesus, who interacted with other Jewish people while visiting Jewish places and celebrating Jewish feasts. By eradicating Israel’s Jewish identity, this Muslim-dominated world body is trying to create the illusion that Islam is the only legitimate religion in the entire Middle East.
The UN resolutions also contribute to the worldwide campaign to delegitimize Israel. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS) is growing on Western university campuses and in liberal churches and politically “progressive” groups. BDS is a concerted effort to cripple and delegitimize Israel, and it provides an incentive for Arabs to stay away from the negotiating table.
Interestingly, countries that embraced the UNESCO resolution, such as Mexico, Brazil, Nicaragua, and Dominican Republic, have a majority of professing Christians. Even among the 26 countries that abstained (the UNESCO vote was 24-6, with 26 absentions), some contain a majority of professing Christians.
How is that possible? One answer seems clear: Replacement Theology.
Replacement Theology teaches that God has removed ethnic Israel from its privileged place as His Chosen People and replaced it with the church. This theological chutzpah (Yiddish for “nerve”) provides an acceptable way to delegitimize the modern State of Israel. Adherents of Replacement Theology (also called Supersessionism) like to ignore the eternal nature of God’s promise, “I will bless those who bless you [the Jewish people], and I will curse him who curses you” (Gen. 12:3).
Israel’s reaction to UNESCO came first from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “The UNESCO theater of the absurd continues….To say that Israel has no connection to the Temple Mount is like saying that China has no connection to the Great Wall of China or that Egypt has no connection to the pyramids. With this absurd decision, UNESCO has lost the modicum of legitimacy it had left.”
He suggested UNESCO members visit the arch of Titus in Rome (a good suggestion for the Security Council as well). “There,” he said, “engraved on the Arch of Titus, is the seven-branched menorah that is the symbol of the Jewish People and today is the symbol of the State of Israel.”1
The prime minister is right. Jewish people revere the Temple Mount as the holiest site in their history. These resolutions are so outrageous they actually united some Israelis who differ politically. Yair Lapid, leader of the opposition Yesh Atid party, called backers Israel haters.
Isaac Herzog, of the Labor party, said UNESCO betrayed its mission and gave “a bad name to diplomacy and the international institutions. Whoever wants to rewrite history, to distort fact, and to completely invent the fantasy that the Western Wall and Temple Mount have no connection to the Jewish people, is telling a terrible lie that only serves to increase hatred.”
As our Jewish friends celebrate Passover and remember the Passover lamb this season, we should remember that these resolutions add to a long list of anti-Semitic actions perpetrated against Israel that God will someday judge. He will avenge His holy and righteous name and display His faithfulness to His people.
Next year in Jerusalem!
- “PM Netanyahu statement following today’s UNESCO decision,” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, October 13, 2016