UNESCO’s Propaganda War on Israel

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has approved a resolution that denies a Jewish connection to Jerusalem. Advanced by the Palestinian Authority (PA), with the help of Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, and Sudan, the resolution passed by a vote of 24 to 6, with 26 abstentions.

Although it concedes that Jerusalem is holy to three monotheistic faiths, the section dealing with the Temple Mount specifically asserts the site is sacred exclusively to Muslims. It refers to it only by its Muslim names (Haram al-Sharif and al-Aqsa Mosque) and does not use the Hebrew term Har HaBayit or its English equivalent, the .

The UNESCO resolution is part of an ongoing propaganda war to delegitimize the State of Israel by rewriting history in order to downplay Jewish links to Jerusalem. In a concerted effort to promote the narrative that the Temple Mount and adjoining Western Wall are Muslim, the PA has worked relentlessly to change the language UNESCO uses to refer to the sites.

The UN organization is now firmly planted in the Arab camp. In April 2016, UNESCO approved a resolution that refers to the Temple Mount by its Muslim names and to the Western Wall as al-Buraq Plaza, a term created by the Arabs in the 1920s. In October 2015, UNESCO designated the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem (the second and third holiest sites in Judaism, respectively) as Muslim holy sites.

That same month, Mahmoud al-Habbash, a senior PA official, said on PA television, “The al-Aqsa Mosque, which includes its plaza, all the gates, all the walls, all the facilities with and without a roof, and all the walls, including the al-Buraq Wall (i.e., the Western Wall) which is an Islamic wall, an Islamic Waqf—a property of the Muslims—no one can deprive them of this ownership….No one except the Palestinians and Muslims is entitled to even a millimeter of it, not even a single grain of sand…This property belongs to me and all Muslims.”

In September 2015, PA President Mahmoud Abbas declared, “Al-Aqsa is ours and so is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. They [the Jews] have no right to desecrate them with their filthy feet.”

The Temple Mount—identified in 2 Chronicles 3:1 as Mount Moriah, the site where King Solomon built the first Temple—is the holiest site in Judaism. The first Jewish Temple was dedicated around 950 BC, more than 1,500 years before the emergence of Islam.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has condemned the UNESCO resolution: “Today UNESCO adopted its second decision this year denying the Jewish people’s connection to the Temple Mount, our holiest site for more than 3,000 years. To say that Israel has no connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall is like saying that China has no connection to the Great Wall of China or that Egypt has no connection to the pyramids.”

Netanyahu encouraged UNESCO members to visit the Arch of Titus in Rome. “On it one can see what the Romans brought back to Rome after they destroyed and looted the second Temple on the Temple Mount 2,000 years ago.” He said, “There, engraved on the Arch of Titus, is the seven-branched menorah that is the symbol of the Jewish people, and I remind you, is also the symbol of the Jewish state today. Soon, UNESCO will say that the Emperor Titus engaged in Zionist propaganda.”

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